Timing of Mkhwebane’s suspension is questionable: Malema

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Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema says the timing of the suspension of Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane by President Cyril Ramaphosa is questionable.

He says the EFF will rally behind Mkhwebane, as Parliament continues with her impeachment process.

Malema says the reason why the President suspended the Mkhwebane is because, he is avoiding the 31 questions that he had to answer, regarding the break in at his Phala Phala farm in Limpopo.

Malema told the media at the EFF headquarters, the that party will not keep quiet when things are not done correctly in South Africa.

“He [President Ramaphosa] was avoiding the 31 questions she [Advocate Mkhwebane] asked regarding Phala Phala farm [robbery] and laws that were violated. Parliament must never allow to be co-orpted into factional and crime hide activities to the extent of protecting the individual on the expense of principle.”

“Ramaphosa is still obliged to answer all the questions given to him, because the executive ethics code obliges him to respond to questions from the Public Protector, truthfully and timeously,” he adds.”

The video below is the EFF media briefing:

Meanwhile, former South African Revenue Service (SARS) executive Johann van Loggerenberg accused Mkhwebane of being dishonest and inaccurate in her 2019 report about the so-called rogue unit.

Van Loggerenberg was testifying for a second-consecutive day before the parliamentary inquiry into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.

He told the Section 194 Committee that he does not even believe a proper investigation was conducted before the report was compiled.

The main complaint by Van Loggerenberg is that Mkhwebane did not give him an opportunity to respond when she compiled her 2019 report about a high level investigations consisting of the most dedicated and skilled executives at SARS who conducted sensitive tax investigations.

This unit was dubbed the so-called rogue unit by the media and Mkhwebane in her report.

Van Loggerenberg explains: “I believe that the fact that I have put before this committee suggests that Ms Mkhwebane was not honesty and factual in respect of case number 48529 of 2019. And in fact, I don’t believe that she in fact conducted a proper investigation. She was biased. I think she had already made up her mind that the unit was rogue because she always referred to the unit like that.”

Van Loggerenberg says Mkhwebane could have saved a lot of taxpayers’ money had she consulted him before issuing the report.

“I am making the point which I have always made to the court that had Ms Mkhwebane afforded me the hearing, then a lot of time, money, effort, headache and trauma could have been curtailed on many people. Whatever resources required in that investigation and subsequent aftermath could have been curtailed if not. Justice could have triumphed and it did not triumphed in this instance.”

Responding to a question from Advocate Dali Mpofu on whether he wants the suspended Public Protector to be impeached, Van Loggerenberg said that is not his call to make, it is for the committee to decide.

“That is an oversimplification of what I am saying chairperson. I am certainly not saying Ms Mkhwebane must be impeached. I am saying that I am participating to the committee to say that Ms Mkhwebane ignored my basic human rights and natural justice in respect of report 36 of 2019/20,” he explains.

Legal representative for Mkhwebane Advocate Dali Mpofu has warned Parliament that they plan to summon President Cyril Ramaphosa to be one of their witnesses.

“It is not for the reasons of dealing with the issue of suspension and all that per se but just on the merits. On the fact that he [Ramaphosa] has made certain accusations against Public Protector saying she is guilty of perjury and all sorts of things, which will be impeachable if they are true. But you will see that when we send the letter,” explains Mpofu.-Additional reporting by Abongwe Kobokana

SARS whistleblower says Mkhwebane ignored “rogue unit” evidence