Video (Part 1)
Video (Part 2)
Democratic Alliance v Public Protector; Council for Advancement of South African Constitution v Public Protector (11311/2018; 13394/2018)  ZAGPPHC 132;  3 All SA 127 (GP); 2019 (7) BCLR 882 (GP) (20 May 2019)
Democratic Alliance v Public Protector; Council for Advancement of South African Constitution v Public Protector (11311/2018; 13394/2018)  ZAGPPHC 349;  4 All SA 79 (GP) (15 August 2019)
The Section 194 Committee met in a hybrid format. The Chairperson, the Evidence Leaders and a number of Committee Members were physically in Parliament while the Public Protector, her defence team and other Committee Members joined on the virtual platform.
The witness, Adv Nditsheni Raedani, was employed at the Office of the Public Protector from October 2008 to December 2018. Within that period, he was promoted from an ordinary investigator to the position of senior investigator and worked in various units of the Office
Adv Raedani who was involved in the Vrede Dairy investigations claimed that the draft report was amended to exclude findings of financial misconduct. He said the September 2017 draft Vrede Dairy report had a finding of financial misconduct against the accounting officer, and the following November 2017 report did not have that finding. Adv Raedani further confirmed that the Office had evidence on what former Free State Premier Mr Ace Magashule and Agriculture MEC Mosebenzi Zwane had done. He recalled that at some stage there were findings against them.
He referred to a meeting that the Public Protector had with Mr Magashule where he as the senior investigator was only allowed for a certain part of the meeting. He found it very strange that Adv Mkhwebane closed the meeting early and met privately with Mr Magashule.
The Committee heard that the notable changes made to the report included removing the findings of gross irregularity, abuse of power, infringement of the Constitution, improper conduct and maladministration in the accounting officer's procurement activities. Adv Raedani said whereas previous versions of the draft had recorded that the Department of Agriculture had failed to comply with applicable procurement prescripts, the final report concluded that the department never entered into a public-private partnership with Estina/Vrede Diary.
The Committee heard that the team tasked with completing the Vrede Dairy investigation were of the view that there was basis to find that the conclusion of the Vrede agreement violated the procurement prescripts, including Section 217 of the Constitution, the conduct of the Accounting Officer was improper, the prices of goods and services for construction, equipment, administration costs, cows, gate and guard house were inflated and considerably higher than the prevailing market prices. This was recorded in a memorandum.
Adv Raedani said Adv Mkhwebane instructed them in a meeting to make those changes. He did not agree with the changes Adv Mkhwebane effected. He cautioned Adv Mkhwebane as to what legal experts would say about the report, and warned that her changes would cause trouble. Adv Mkhwebane had replied “anginandaba” which means in English “I don't care at all”.
During cross examination, the Public Protector's legal team was of the view that Adv Raedani’s affidavit offered a “minimal contribution” because its contents lacked certainty and some statements came across as “misleading”.
Amongst the Committee member questions was if there had been maximum embezzlement of public funds in the Vrede Dairy farm project and if the public had not been protected by the Office of the Public Protector.
Chairperson: Good morning colleagues, welcome. Today is 11 August 2022, we continue with our enquiry. I want to take the opportunity again to welcome all the Members at M46 here and on the virtual platform, to welcome the Public Protector and her legal team, led by Adv Mpofu. Welcome, the Evidence Leaders, Adv Mayosi and Adv Bawa; members of the media; last but not least, the members of the public who have been with us with interest from day one, all of you are welcome. We will start with Adv Bawa, who might be having a few minutes late entry of the witness for a very good reason, but I will now take this opportunity to hand over to Adv Bawa.
Adv Nazreen Bawa: Good morning, the witness scheduled for today is Adv Nditsheni Raedani. He’s been unavoidably detained this morning and we’re hoping that he’s going to be not detained...
Chairperson: Yeah, just use the correct...
Adv Bawa: Not detained, he’s not a convicted criminal of any kind, please, before we go down the wrong path. He has a commitment which has taken some sort of precedence over... well, let me not even go down that path. He has another commitment he has to attend to, which was quite urgent. We’re hoping that he’s going to be joining us during the course of this morning. His evidence relates to the Vrede Dairy report. What I am going to start with as I did yesterday is take your through the High Court judgement in the Vrede Dairy matter on the merits. There is a subsequent judgement dealing with costs, which was then overturned on appeal, but I simply want to deal with the merits and make some observations on that judgement.
Chairperson: Before I allow you to continue, just to check if our connections are working. Hon Tshabalala can you hear us? Hon Maotwe can you hear us?
Ms O Maotwe (EFF): Yes, Chair, I can hear you.
Chairperson: Morning, Hon Maotwe, welcome. We are connected. Please proceed Adv Bawa.
Evidence Leader overview of Vrede Dairy Farm judgement
Adv Bawa: I’m going to ask for the judgement to be put on the screen. I’m not going to read it verbatim but will take you through it. There are just specific things I want to highlight. You would have been aware through the evidence, both that had been led already and still to come that we have dealt with various versions of drafts of the Vrede report, but what was before the court was two versions. One which was a 2014 version and at some point we’ll deal with the genesis of that version, and the final report. So the judgement must be seen in the context that there were only two reports before the court. The background to the case was that the Democratic Alliance and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) launched applications based on the same facts, and they sought to review and set aside the Public Protector’s report which she had released on 8 February 2018, titled “Allegations of maladministration against the Free State Department of Agriculture”, what we commonly call the “Vrede report”. This review was sought on the basis that it was alleged that she had acted unlawfully and in violation of her constitutional mandate under the Constitution and the provisions of the Public Protector Act. As we know the complaint had emerged in 2013 and the judgement detailed that it was a culmination of nearly four years of investigation by the incumbent and her predecessor, into allegations of widespread corruption, maladministration and impropriety in respect of the project. Now, what the court did was – the Vrede Dairy matter at the High Court was sort of in the same period as the Absa Bank matter – and so the court delivered a judgement on the merits and it postponed each judgement related to costs until the Constitutional Court had handed out judgement in the Absa matter. And so there are two judgements in this matter. What had also happened in the meantime, which was sort of after the Absa matter and before this judgement came out, was that the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) had handed down a decision in a case called “Minister of Home Affairs and Another v Public Protector”. You will recall yesterday I said to you that the applications have been brought on the basis of the provisions of PAJA, the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, alternatively the principle of legality. By the time that the Vrede Dairy matter came to be considered, the SCA had held that effectively the review of the Public Protector’s report must be determined under the principles and the grounds of legality when you review it. So although the case was pleaded on the basis of PAJA, alternatively the principle of legality, the applicants, now informed by the SCA decision relied only on the pleaded grounds of legality when this review matter was considered. The Public Protector initially filed a notice to abide but in due course filed answering affidavits, which contained what the court described “a full blown attack on the merit of the applications”, in other words, the relief being sought by the applicants was opposed.
Adv Bawa: The genesis of the report was effectively a complaint that had been lodged and the factual background related to the Free State Department of Agriculture, having launched a provincial policy intervention, which was aimed at revitalising the Free State agricultural sector through investments in various initiatives. The project in question was identified as flagship intended to uplift the Vrede community, through sustainable job creation opportunities. During April 2012, a company called Estina (Pty) Ltd, submitted a business proposal for the management of the project at the farm. It represented, which would later turn out to be falsely, that it was in partnership with an Indian company Paras, which allegedly had the necessary technical expertise. The Department submitted a request for approval to accept this business proposal and to enter into an agreement with Estina for the establishment and management of this project. Newspapers then subsequently published articles about the project in 2013, linking it to the Gupta family. During October 2013, National Treasury investigated the Department’s contracts and some of the findings were disclosed by the media after a leaked transcript of an interview emerged. The report by Treasury was at that stage not made public and the media had reported certain irregularities in respect thereof. So that had occurred in 2013. By 2017 you will recall that already several drafts of the Vrede Dairy report had been circulated. What we now know is the Gupta leaked emails emerged dealing with state and politicians, commonly known as the “Gupta Leaks”. These emails were reported on at length in the media and they corroborated the early 2013 reports that the project was tainted, not only by serious irregularities but possibly also corruption. The court recorded that during mid-2017, more than six months before the PP released her report, three further investigative reports were published in the media, based on the Gupta Leaks providing evidence of alleged irregularities and possible corruption linked to the project and that the reports sought to illustrate that the Gupta family exercised control over the project and that millions of taxpayers’ monies were pilfered from the public purse. The reports alleged that senior provincial officials, including the HOD, the MEC and the Premier may have been complicit in the wrongdoing. Treasury commissioned an investigation into the Department’s contracts with Estina and provided a report in which it had made those findings one sees from paragraph 15 of the judgement. This report was ultimately available to the Public Protector’s Office; we know that from what emerges from the judgement and the reports. In light of these findings, Treasury then made certain recommendations on disciplinary action to be taken. Then between 2013 and 2016, a Member in the Free State provincial legislature representing the DA lodged a series of complaints with the Public Protector. There were three complaints, the first and the second complaint is dealt with in the report which is the subject of the review application, the third complaint was not dealt with. We know that the third complaint is dealt with in a subsequent report, that the Public Protector later comes out with in 2020; Adv Mpofu had touched on that report with one of the witnesses that gave evidence. That report is not the subject matter of the proceedings here nor has it been raised in the motion or the subject matter of the judgement before you, other than its non-consideration of this complaint is dealt with in the judgement.
Adv Bawa: The court in several paragraphs deals with the powers and duties of the Public Protector and I think you’ve heard enough about that for now, so I’m going to skip through that section in its entirety and take you to paragraph 41 of the judgement where it deals with the Public Protector’s report. What is interesting and I think it’s relevant because I don’t think Adv Mpofu and I will disagree on this, what the court does is it considers it against what is set out as the legal framework of the Public Protector; that the work of the Committee would also be considered against the legal framework that it considers. If one comes to the Public Protector report, it then details that the report was published in February 2018, the judgement records that it is of importance to note that the provisional report was done by the PP’s predecessor, Adv Madonsela, as these reports have to be compared within the factual matrix of what occurred in the implementation and execution of the project. A comparison of the findings, conclusions and proposed immediate action is inevitable. The provisional report was included in the Rule 53 record and was dated November 2014. Paragraph 43 says: “Seen within the context of the factual background, the scope of the investigation, as identified by the PP, seems to be too narrow and seems to ignore the issues raised in the report from Treasury, the media reports as well as the complaints lodged. There does not seem any logical and legitimate explanation for the narrowing scope of the investigation.” Paragraph 44: “The PP also recorded in the Report that she did not investigate certain issues, due, she said, to capacity and financial constraints experienced by her office.” and then they detail in the judgement the issues not investigated, that is, the alleged death of cattle; the issues emanating from the complaint sent on 10 May 2016, the third complaint; the value for money obtained by the government in terms of the agreements as it was investigated by Treasury; the Gupta Leaks; how the money transferred to Estina was spent by Estina, as the Directorate for Priority Crime was dealing with the issue; and the matter related to beneficiaries who were intended to benefit from the project was not investigated. Her reason for the last one was an alleged lack of information. The court then records that it was not in dispute that the PP did not investigate the DA’s third complaint and it was also not in dispute that the PP had not done the following: investigate who the true beneficiaries of the Vrede Dairy project were; investigate the role played by the MEC, the Premier and HoD; consider the allegations in the public domain, that is, the Gupta Leaks; consider how President Zuma allegedly abused his position as President to protect and promote the officials in the Free State project to serve the Gupta family; and address the fact that the Free State Provincial Government under the Premier had failed to implement the National Treasury’s recommendation that disciplinary action be taken against the Department HoD and CFO. Paragraph 46: “The PP also failed to investigate the impact of the Project on the so-called “farm empowerment” partner promoted by Mr Zwane, or the impact on the approximately eight beneficiaries, who were supposed to have benefitted as stakeholders in the Project.” Paragraph 47: “Her failure to limit the scope of her investigation so dramatically was irrational as it side stepped all the crucial aspects regarding the complaints and led to a failure on her part to execute her constitutional duty.” In paragraph 48, the court details what in the report it says: “The PP indicated that on assuming office during October 2016, she took the following steps regarding the investigation into the Project: she sourced four additional documents; held three interviews; conducted an inspection in loco and consulted the website to confirm the details of the company involved. The court then concluded in paragraph 29 that the steps taken by her seem wholly inadequate considering the magnitude and importance of the complaints raised. Paragraph 50: “The PP claimed in her report not to have had information relating to the beneficiaries.” The court then said during December 2017 the leader of the DA, Mr Mmusi Maimane, attended the Office of the PP. He took along several of the beneficiaries to introduce to the PP. Her assistant was requested to take down their contact details to facilitate future engagement. The record shows that the information was obtained and in the possession of the PP and formed part of the Rule 53 record. The DA also furnished the PP with the Department’s list of intended beneficiaries together with a letter of complaint from representatives of the Beneficiaries Steering Committee and it included the ID numbers, addresses and cell phone numbers. The court concluded that despite having access to this information, no effort was made to engage with the beneficiaries. In her answering affidavit before the court, the blame was laid on the DA, because the DA failed to provide her office with the promised assistance to obtain statements from the beneficiaries. The DA in turn denied and stated that Mr Maimane agreed to assist the PP where possible. It was agreed that Mr Maimane’s office would be the contact point for communication from the PP, but he had not given an undertaking to obtain statements from the beneficiaries of the PP’s office, as is alleged. Further, that the PP requested no further assistance from the DA. One would have expected, the court concluded, her office to request assistance if she needed it, but there was another inexplicable failure on the part of the PP. The court said, in the next paragraph, that some of the issues for investigation according to the DA and CASAC seemed to be narrowed, and several findings and remedial steps proposed were omitted from the final report. The PP’s response on the difference was, “Whatever the difference in findings may be, they have not had any material effect in the lawful remedial action that I have taken within the powers conferred on me by the Act and the Constitution.” The court doesn’t in detail deal with these differences, but deals with the impact of these differences on the legality of the report and the appropriateness of the remedial action proposed by the PP. I don’t intend to deal with the substance of the differences in the course of taking you through the judgement so I’m going to skip down and deal with the question of pricing of goods and services from paragraph 76 of the judgement. The court held: “The PP also determined whether the prices of goods and services procured were inflated. On this issue the provisional report stated that independent evidence indicated that, prices of processing equipment and the cows purchased were considerably higher than market value, which confirmed that proper procurement processes were not followed. It indicated that lack of proper monitoring and control measures were the reasons for discrepancies noted in the financial statements, which in turn pointed to gross negligence and maladministration which led to fruitless expenditure.” In the final report, there were no findings of inflated prices and irregular and fruitless expenditure. The revised finding simply read: “The allegation that the prices for goods and services procured were inflated, specifically expenses in respect of construction, processing equipment, procurement of cows and administration costs is difficult to determine.” The explanation given in the answering affidavit for this conclusion is effectively that: Estina did not follow the public procurement processes when procuring the services of the service providers; due to the lack of resources and financial constraints, the Public Protector was unable to conduct a comprehensive investigation in order to determine the fair market value for goods and services procured; the Public Protector was not provided with all the invoices and proof of payments for the goods and services procured by Estina on behalf of the Department. The PP’s contention that she was unable to obtain market prices is unsustainable, the court concluded in paragraph 79. There was no reason, as the DA argued, why one of her staff appointed for investigations could not assess the market value. Assessing the market value of the goods procured requires obtaining quotations from suppliers. The DA’s staff performed this task to assess the market value of the cattle procured, and furnished this information to the PP in the complainant’s second complaint. It seems that the PP chose to simply ignore the information supplied to her and then blamed financial constraints for her failure to execute this simple task. It pointed out further that the Treasury report had included a report by a senior economist on the costs and value for money and that that had raised a number of red flags which ought to have been investigated further. The court concluded in paragraph 83 that the explanation provided to the court was not satisfactory and that the failure of the PP to execute her constitutional duties in investigating and compiling a credible and comprehensive report points either to a blatant disregard to comply with her constitutional duties and obligations or a concerning lack of understanding of those duties and obligations. The court then considered that explanation of capacity and financial constraints within the bounds of the court dicta and it said that “The PP explained in her affidavits that capacity and financial constraints impeded her office’s capacity to investigate the complaints appropriately. One cannot disregard the fact that the PP’s office, as many other state institutions’ capacities are often constrained by inadequate financial and other resources.” The Court’s approach to evaluating a defence that budgetary constraints precluded a public functionary from fulfilling its constitutional obligations was dealt with in Rail Commuters Action Group v Transnet Ltd t/a Metrorail. The CC adopted a context-sensitive, reasonableness standard. It enquired whether the functionary had shown that it had taken all reasonable measures within its available resources.” It then deals with the court dicta, which I won’t read to you. Paragraph 87 looks at a further judgement from the Constitutional Court. In paragraph 88, it says: “The PP in her answering affidavit did not set out supporting facts to illustrate why a proper investigation could not be accomplished. This made it very difficult to determine whether in this instance, this defence should be accepted as a bona fide impediment to her ability to execute her duty.” Paragraph 89: “In this instance there was not only a provisional report by her predecessor, but a report by Treasury that clearly indicated misappropriation of funds on an astronomical scale. There were also countless media reports implicating certain individuals and linking them to the project of state capture. All of these should have assisted the PP in her investigation, and should have limited the financial impact of the investigation on her resources.” The court then said “One must consider whether taking certain steps during the investigation would have had caused a huge financial drain on the PP’s resources. It would seem that if one considers the provisional report and Treasury’s report, a huge amount of work had already been done which would have limited the expenses that the PP had to incur to properly and adequately complete her investigation.” It identified the most blatant failure to not properly investigate the circumstances surrounding the beneficiaries of the project, this she also blamed on a lack of resources. The court pointed out that the PP had the names and telephone numbers of some twenty beneficiaries, and some even visited her offices but no attempt was made to get a statement from any of them. For this she blamed the DA and said that they had undertaken to provide the statements. Paragraph 91: "Leaving the duty in the hands of a political party was totally inappropriate and could potentially have impacted on the impartiality of any statement so obtained. Whether the DA did give such an undertaking or not, is in my view, irrelevant, as it was the duty of the PP to follow up and obtain those statements. The beneficiaries were the people who should have taken centre stage in this investigation, as they were the people, the vulnerable ones, for which her office was specifically created and who were deprived of an opportunity to benefit and better their circumstances. Instead they were ignored and their interests were relegated to a mere peripheral issue. It is an absolute disgrace that some, as yet unidentified people, benefited, while the poor and the marginalized were yet again robbed of an opportunity to better their circumstances. " The court concluded in 92: "The exercise to obtain their statements could not have caused a significant strain on her resources. In any event seeing that they were supposed to benefit from the Project, any resources that she had should have been spent to obtain their input. She had their particulars and telephone numbers, one would have expected her office at least to have contacted them and to have attempted to obtain statements from them. Their story has not been told, neither did they get any benefit from this project. Yet R342 million was paid to entities connected to this Project and unknown people were enriched. This, in my view, was the most significant failure of the PP to execute her constitutional duty in this investigation." The court in paragraph 95 concludes: " Whatever her office's resource constraints were, they could perhaps conceivably explain the narrowing of the scope of the investigation, but never explain and justify the irrational and arbitrary findings and material errors of law in the Report, or the inappropriate and ineffective investigation executed by her office." One of the issues the court then specifically looked at was whether the PP had discretion to opt out of conducting an investigation on any issue that is brought to the Office of the Public Protector. Paragraph 96: "The PP in addition stated in her affidavit that she exercised her discretion to opt out and not to investigate. Her suggestion in the answering affidavit that she deferred the investigation stood in direct contradiction with her statement that she decided to "opt out”. Paragraph 97: “The PP contended that she has a very wide discretion under the PP Act to opt-out and not to investigate even those complaints that fall within her jurisdiction. On this basis, the PP contended that it was open to her to refuse to investigate the third complaint at all.” The court said that this was not a proper reading of the obligations under the Constitution and the Act and that she did not have a wide discretion, as claimed, to refuse to investigate a complaint that fell within her jurisdiction. The court considers the relevant provisions, and in 101, it points out that the “provision confers a discretion on the PP to determine the format and procedure to be followed in investigating a complaint. It also affords the PP discretion after a preliminary investigation to determine the merits of the complaint and the manner in which the matter concerned should be dealt with. It does not, however, permit the PP to decide to decline to conduct any investigation at all and in the context of her duties it would be inconceivable that the PP could have discretion to choose to “opt out” in the context of the factual background of this case.” The court pointed out that if one looked at the legal provisions, that when the PP received a complaint reporting a matter within the jurisdiction, she must conduct at least the preliminary investigation to determine the merits of the complaint, unless one of the exceptions as provided for under the Act applied; and one of those exceptions for example would be investigations into the judiciary. Only after conducting a preliminary investigation of the merits may she, for good reason, decline to investigate the matter further. Should she find that there is merit in the complaint that requires further investigation, she is obliged to either investigate the matter herself, or to refer the matter for further investigation to another appropriate authority. Should she choose to undertake a further investigation, she must investigate the matter proactively and effectively. The court looked at the number of cases dealing with her duties to conduct an investigation and in 109 of the judgement pointed out that the report by the Public Protector “did not address the major issues raised in the complaints, not the numerous indications of irregularities. In this instance the PP did nothing to assure the public that she kept an open and enquiring mind and that she discovered, or at least attempted to discover the truth.” The court turned to look at the remedial action proposed by the Public Protector. Paragraph 111, pointed out that the applicants, in both applications took issue with the fact that the Premier and HoD who were both implicated in the project, were being tasked with taking disciplinary actions, corrective measures and departmental training to avoid a recurrence of the incident. The result being that it was left to the Premier, who was himself implicated to determine who constituted an “implicated official”. Despite admitting that he was an implicated official, the PP failed to identify Mr Thabethe, who was the HoD, in the findings as a primary instigator in the scheme and held responsible as the Accounting Officer. Further, that the PP, in order to justify her stance pertaining to the remedial action in respect of the HoD, stated that the Executive Authority (the MEC) had no power to discipline a provincial HoD. She contended that only the Premier had the power in terms of the Public Service Act to do so. The court looked at the relevant provisions and came to the conclusion that that conclusion as a matter of law was wrong. Paragraph 115: “Secondly, the PP contended that she referred generally to “implicated officials”, because she “wanted to ensure that all officials who worked on the project are not excluded from disciplinary action”. But this does not explain the removal of the specific direction in the provisional report that disciplinary action be taken against the HoD, who played a pivotal role in the alleged irregularities that occurred". The court concluded in paragraph 116, that this was inappropriate to put people who are implicated in wrongdoing in a position to investigate the very same wrongdoing, finding that to be absurd and going against every known principle of law and logic. Paragraph 117: "In the provisional report, the PP directed that the disciplinary action was to be taken by the HOD against the incumbent and implicated HOD, Mr Thabethe, as he was 'an implicated official'. " Paragraph 118: "This remedial action was removed by the PP in her final report and in so doing she rendered the remedial action that was required to be implemented by the HoD, ineffective and irrational, the instructions to the HoD could not be expected to be properly implemented or achieve their purpose, unless coupled with the specific requirement that the incumbent HoD be subjected to disciplinary action.” The court looked at the third change to the remedial action in comparison to the provisional report, being the removal of the requirement that the Premier and the MEC must “ensure that the findings of the Accounting General are noted and the recommendations as mentioned in his report of January 2013 are implemented”. Paragraph 120 concluded that there was no explanation in the answering papers for the removal of the aforesaid action. The court looked further at the comparison between what was proposed in the provisional report and the explanation for the removal from the final report. Paragraph 123 said that the Premier’s personal involvement in promoting the project and the close association between the Premier (through his son, who was employed by the Gupta family), and the Gupta associates involved in Estina, was reported in the media from as early as 2013. Likewise, Mr Zwane’s involvement in facilitating the project and the allegations of kickbacks from the Gupta family was a matter of public record. The court said there was no explanation of this failure to investigate nor a referral, at least, to another authority to investigate the allegations in the complainant’s third complaint. It deals with an explanation as to why the remedial action in respect of the SIU had been overtaken by events. In paragraph 127 the court concludes that the justification for not dealing with the third complaint was that it was too late to do so. The court pointed out that the complaint was made in May 2016 and the final report was only issued in February 2018. So it was inconceivable, having regard to the dates, to have concluded that it was too late to consider it. With reference to the SIU investigation in paragraph 132, the PP stated that “The remedial action involving the SIU and the Auditor General were removed” and the explanation given was because the PP considered that she did not have the power to instruct either of them to conduct an investigation on her behalf. The court pointed out that remedial action was successfully challenged on review in the matter of ABSA Bank. However the judgment in that matter was given on 16 February 2018, after the Report was published. In the Absa proceedings, the PP had defended the remedial action as being within her powers. Paragraph 137 concluded that the PP was clearly empowered to refer matters to the SIU for investigation, because it was specifically provided under the provision of the SIU Act, but that the effect of the ABSA Bank decision was that it was not open to the PP to instruct the SIU how to exercise its powers as she had purported to do in the report in that matter. Paragraph 138: “As regards the Treasury report, the PP contended that the remedial action directed at this office in the provisional report was incompetent, because “the Auditor-General does audits of accounts and financial statements. He does not do forensic and due diligence investigation.” The court concluded that in this regard the Auditor-General was vested with special investigative powers and that it was an incorrect legal interpretation to have come to that conclusion. The court considered this to be an error in law, in suggesting that she didn’t have the power to ask the Auditor-General to do this. It pointed out that the evidence suggested she was aware she possessed the power but elected nevertheless to exclude the remedial action. The court concluded that the remedial action in the report was not an effective remedial action and it “did not redress or undo prejudice impropriety, unlawful enrichment or corruption that occurred during the project.” It concluded that the report should be reviewed and set aside. Paragraph 160 of the judgement simply dealt with the order on the merits relating to reviewing and setting aside the order. The court awaited the ABSA Bank judgement in respect of costs. If one sees, the judge hands down a different order in respect of when it deals with the cost award, which is the second judgement (number 34 in the bundle). In paragraph 31, the Office was ordered to pay 85% of the costs of both the Democratic Alliance and CASAC on an attorney and client scale, including the cost of two counsel. The Public Protector in her personal capacity was ordered to pay 7.5% of the costs in that regard. Now as I understand it, the appeals against both judgements were refused and I don’t think the matter was taken any further as far as we’ve been able to ascertain. So there is no Constitutional Court or SCA judgement beyond this judgement in the Vrede matter.
Chairperson: Thank you Adv Bawa. Maybe at this point you can also just indicate how far we are in getting the witness in.
Adv Bawa: Chair, I was expecting a Whatsapp message as soon as he’s ready. Can we adjourn for 5 minutes and I’ll make a call and see.
Chairperson: Okay, no problem. We'll take a 10-minute break. Thank you.
Witness: Adv Nditsheni Raedani
Ms Fatima Ebrahim, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, read the oath to the witness and swore him in.
Adv Bawa: Good morning Adv Raedani.
Adv Raedani: Good morning Adv Bawa.
Adv Bawa: You provided us with an affidavit, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I did.
Adv Bawa: For the Committee’s reference the affidavit is in bundle “D” and it starts at page 2758. We're going to have the affidavit on the screen, Chair through you, so if it is better for Adv Raedani to have his screen off then it’s not going to make a difference, because we’re not going to be able to see him.
Chairperson: For now, you can switch off your camera.
Adv Bawa: Mr Raedani you’re currently a practicing advocate and a member of the Limpopo and Johannesburg Bars, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, that is correct.
Adv Bawa: You left the employment of the Public Protector's Office in December 2015, correct?
Adv Raedani: 2018
Adv Bawa: And you haven't had access to any emails or documentation from the Office of the Public Protector after you left, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, because I handed my...
Adv Bawa: I take you to paragraph 5. You were employed at the office from October 2008 to December 2018. You had worked from investigator to senior investigator and in various parts of the organisation. Correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s correct.
Adv Bawa: And in 2017, you were transferred to the office of the then Public Protector, Adv Mkhwebane, which was known as the Private Office.
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Bawa: Right and in that space, you were involved together with others in dealing with quality assurance. In fact, your team comprised of Adv Matlawe, Mr Kekana, Ms Sefako (a junior investigator) and later Mr Sithole (who was then a very junior member of the team). Correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Bawa: You also had a trainee investigator who reported to you?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I did.
Chairperson: I think you just have to be much slower so that you allow him to complete his sentences.
Adv Bawa: My apologies Adv Raedani, you set out in paragraph 7 what the quality assurance functions are. Is that so?
Adv Raedani: Correct.
Adv Bawa: You point out in paragraph 8, that due to the nature of the case, you would consider not only the report but also the supporting evidence. Correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Bawa: We’ll come to the Vrede investigation in a while, but there you had the file of evidence and the supporting documentation. Correct?
Adv Raedani: Correct.
Adv Bawa: Over and above working in the PP’s office, you were also involved in union activities and you were a shop steward.
Adv Raedani: Yes, I have been a shop steward for as long as I can remember when I was in the PPSA (Public Protector South Africa).
Adv Bawa: You left the Office in order to go and do pupillage, because you wanted to become an advocate.
Adv Bawa: Yes, that’s correct.
Adv Raedani: I don’t know why you wanted to do that job Mr Raedani, really. And so you had applied for pupillage midway through 2018. Correct?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, that should be somewhere in June/July 2018.
Adv Bawa: Yeah, and you didn’t leave the Public Protector’s Office under a cloud of any kind, did you?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, I was not under any discipline, facing any disciplinary charges. I left the Office out of my own will.
Adv Bawa: Right. I want to take you to paragraph 19. You never had any personal disagreements with the PP either? Correct?
Adv Raedani: No, I never had any personal disagreements, or a personal quarrel or a fight or anything with the current Public Protector.
Adv Bawa: Okay, you then deal with what you regarded as being changes at the Office of the Public Protector and we’ve heard others testify about the Think Tank structure being changed. I’m not going to take you to any detail of that because the Committee already had that evidence and they’ve asked a number of questions on it, but you deal with that in your affidavit. In paragraph 25 you point out that the process was replaced by a smaller committee, which you didn’t regard as being adequate. Can you just elaborate on that. In paragraph 25.1, you set out your reservations of how that committee was then comprised?
Adv Raedani: In paragraph 25.1 to 25.5 as stated in my affidavit, the Think Tank, even though it was not officially announced that it was done away with, but there was a committee which was Dashboard, which was comprised of the Chief of Staff who had no legal qualification and it excluded the then Deputy Public Protector, it included the former CEO, Mr Themba Dlamini; although I’m not quite sure about this qualification, whether he was legally qualified. Then it sometimes included the former spokesperson and there were some of us who were senior investigators attached to quality assurance. It was myself, Adv Matlawe, Mr Kekana and the rest of the team like Ms Sefako, Ms Nandi, and then there was also Mr Sithole. So, this committee, I think the Head of Legal was also part of it at some point. Then Executive Managers would come and report about the investigation they are currently conducting. As they report, they will report to the PP and the PP would then give direction, and if there are some comments from the team, we will give our comments then and there. So I don’t know if I had answered your question.
Adv Bawa: No, you have, thank you. If I take you to paragraph 26, I think the principle is ultimately accepted but you pointed out that you accept that the PP ultimately decides what must go into each report that is produced and bears responsibility for such reports that are issued.
Adv Raedani: Yes, the PP, regardless of whatever we are discussing as staff members, we can have our comments and views, but ultimately the Public Protector is the one who has the final say on what goes into the report and what shouldn’t be left out, because ultimately, she will then take responsibility when the report is issued.
Adv Bawa: Right. I’m going to take you to where we start dealing with the Vrede investigation, in paragraph 31. You point out that you were part of the team that dealt with the report that was ultimately issued in February 2018.
Adv Raedani: That’s correct.
Adv Bawa: When did you first become involved?
Adv Raedani: I received an email, I think it was in November 2017, from my Executive Manager, who was then Mr Ndou. From that time, November 2017, I was transferred from the Public Protector's Private Office to Provincial Investigation and Integration. Hence we received instruction from Mr Ndou that we should form part of the task team that will complete the Vrede investigation report.
Adv Bawa: When you say task team, this was sort of an ad hoc committee set up to finalise the Vrede report and not necessarily the task team that was meeting on a weekly basis. Correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, that was the team that was called in by Mr Ndou, from its business unit, for us to assist him to complete the Vrede investigation report. I think it was a directive from the PP that he should appoint that ad hoc committee.
Adv Bawa: And you were provided with a file that had been handed over from the provincial investigations branch to the Head Office, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I was given all the files of the Vrede investigation. I think it was a number of arch lever files, so it was original files that I was given for the purposes of completing this task.
Adv Bawa: Then on 16 November, paragraph 35, you detail an email that you received. The email is actually attached as “NR1” but it’s quoted in your affidavit. Is this the email you were referring to that you received from Mr Ndou?
Adv Raedani: Yes, this is the email I received from Mr Ndou.
Adv Bawa: If I can just read it quickly, “As you are aware the Public Protector has approved the Task Team to finalise the Vrede Dairy Project matter. Attached hereto are the following: The final version of the Report; Copies of letters directed to the Ministers Agriculture and DTI; Copy of a letter directed to the Premier: Free State; Legal Opinion from Nemasisi pertaining to the issue of the nature of the project (whether it’s a PPP or not).” At that stage, Mr Nemasisi was the... what was he, Senior Manager: Legal Services?
Adv Raedani: Yes, he was the head of legal, Senior Manager: Legal Services.
Adv Bawa: Right, it says “Junia will provide you with copies of files with invoices received from the Premier and those received from the Department of Agriculture in the Free State. The latter are contained in the cream white arch lever files.” “The Public Protector's instructions are the following: To write reminders to the two Ministers for her signature; her view is that what we had requested from the two ministers will give us a good idea of how a project such as the Vrede project should be properly run, and then benchmark Vrede against that; and to do a comparison of the two sets of invoices to see if payments were done after submission of proper invoices.” “You will notice in the report that there is just a one liner about the Gupta emails. I raised the issue with the Public Protector but did not receive a response. When I checked the Amabhungane website there are various allegations pertaining to monies from this project. For example, the allegations that R84 million was siphoned off to a Gupta offshore account and that the Gupta wedding in Sun City was paid for from funds in this project.” So, Mr Raedani, you were aware of the issue of the Gupta Leaks from the start when you became involved in finalising this report, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I was aware.
Adv Bawa: Now, in paragraph 36, you point out that the PP was adamant that those should not be included in the investigation. You see that?
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Bawa: How did you come to know this?
Adv Raedani: I think this came out of my interactions with Mr Ndou, because at some point I remember we wrote a memorandum as the task team, that one of the things that we needed to look at was the Gupta Leaks emails and see if we could not incorporate them into the report. Then, the other thing is, one of the things is there was some outstanding information that was supposed to be submitted by the beneficiaries, the statement of the beneficiaries. In that memorandum that I wrote in January is some of the issues that we said it’s going... we need that to happen in order for us to finalise the investigation properly, but after submitting that particular memorandum we never received any feedback from the PP regarding the issues that we’ve raised. Hence, I’ll say that from what I’ve learnt from Mr Ndou and my former manager, Mr Mothupi, it was that the PP doesn’t want the Gupta emails, the Amabhungane emails, to be included in the investigation.
Adv Bawa: If we don’t jump to January, let’s see if we can get through the chronology, which then follows in your affidavit and then we’ll come to the memo in January in a bit. You were aware that at that stage the section 7(9) notices had been sent and the responses had already been received, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, everything was in the file.
Adv Bawa: And there had been numerous versions of the draft report that had previously been circulated.
Adv Raedani: Yes, there were.
Adv Bawa: And so, the report provided to you at that stage is that one annexed to your affidavit, marked “NR2”, which you’ll see at page 2784 and although it was headed September 2017, you got this in November 2017. Correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s correct.
Adv Bawa: And you say in paragraph 39 of your affidavit that it had some of Mr Ndou’s edits in it and the findings therein were largely the same as those set out in an earlier version of the report, which had been circulated in September.
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s correct.
Adv Bawa: We then provided you with an email correspondence of September 2017, which included that report, which parts of it are annexed to your affidavit, marked “NR3”.
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s correct.
Adv Bawa: Right, now, you say in your affidavit that the September 2017 report had concluded that the Accounting Officer was guilty of financial misconduct in respect of the inflated prices for animals, equipment and infrastructure, but that the one you received did not have that finding.
Adv Raedani: That’s correct.
Adv Bawa: If I take you to page 2870 and I’m looking at paragraph (ee). That’s the paragraph that says “The conduct of the Head of Department in this regard constitutes an act of financial misconduct as envisaged in section 81 of the PFMA”. Right, and if I jump back to “NR2” and take you to 2858 at paragraph 6.3.5 you will see that that paragraph in the section is not there.
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Bawa: You then say that... do you know how that came to be omitted? if you go back to your affidavit in paragraph 40.
Adv Raedani: Yeah, I don’t really know what happened and who instructed that particular paragraph should be omitted from the letter version.
Adv Bawa: Right, so you say in paragraph 41 that from the evidence you had available, you could make findings that the then Premier and MEC had taken no steps to put into effect the recommendations of the National Treasury in respect of the procurement irregularities.
Adv Raedani: Yes, the National Treasury report was very clear about what the Premier and the MEC was supposed to do in terms of preventing any further financial irregularities.
Adv Bawa: Right and you seem to have recalled that at some point there were findings against them. Can you recall that?
Adv Raedani: Yes, there were.
Adv Bawa: There was a meeting with Mr Maimane that took place at the end of 2017. Were you present at that meeting?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I was present in that meeting.
Adv Bawa: And it says in paragraph 42, that he came with some of the beneficiaries. Do you recall what the meeting was about?
Adv Raedani: The meeting was mainly about the delay in finalising the investigation, basically Mr Maimane, on behalf of the beneficiaries, was worried that we were taking long to complete the investigation. Basically it was your normal feedback meeting that you would have with the complainant in a normal situation, where there is a complainant who is prejudiced about a certain issue that he reported to the Public Protector.
Adv Bawa: You then say in the affidavit that Mr Maimane undertook to provide details and statements from the beneficiaries.
Adv Raedani: Yes, he did.
Adv Bawa: Do you recall if that was ever provided?
Adv Raedani: I can’t recall if that information was submitted to the Office, because by the time we finalised the investigation that information was still outstanding.
Adv Bawa: Right and there was an undertaking given in that meeting that the report would come out within a few months. Correct?
Adv Raedani: That’s correct.
Adv Bawa: If we go to the next paragraph, this is the memorandum that you referred to earlier, and this is a memorandum which comes under cover of an email which you see “NR4” at 2873; it’s addressed by Mr Kekana and it’s the 25th January to Mr Ndou, yourself and Mr Sithole. This memorandum, was it prepared by all of you?
Adv Raedani: Yes, it was prepared by... it should be myself, Kekana and Sithole.
Adv Bawa: Right, and in essence the view that is expressed in the memorandum sets out various aspects of it. You say in paragraph 45 of your affidavit that the task team views were... if you could just take us through 45.1 and the sub numbers at the time, of your affidavit at 2772.
Adv Raedani: 45.1. It was our view that the conclusion of the agreement between the Department and Estina was not in line with the relevant procurement prescripts, more specifically Section 217 of the Constitution. Then basically, it follows that the conduct of the Accounting Officer in question was improper, because he failed to ensure that when the agreement was concluded it complied with the relevant transcripts. It was clear that the prices of goods and services for construction, processing equipment and procurement of cows and the administration cost were inflated, because if you maybe had a look on the previous... on the versions of the report, there is one version with a guard house and also, at the milking equipment, the guard house that was indicated there is something that is not out of ordinary, it can’t cost the price that apparently, they claimed that it cost millions. When I read through the versions of the reports, we could clearly identify that the Free State Office, during the investigation, they have acquired the services of… somebody who has understanding in economics, and he did a comparison and he concluded that the prices were really inflated and were considerably higher than the prevailing market prices. So this was the view of the task team at that particular point in time in January 2018.
Adv Bawa: Mr Raedani, I found the reference I was looking for, it was a summary of your analysis of the evidence in your memo to be found at 2886 and 2887 of “NR4”. We won’t go there because you’ve now summed it up, but in this memo, you also noted that various aspects of the investigation still had to be conducted, as you detailed at 2887 of the memo. It’s repeated in paragraph 46 of your affidavit, that you still needed to consider a submission from the Premier’s Office, a legal opinion regarding the public-private partnership, that was an opinion prepared by Mr Nemasisi, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s correct.
Adv Bawa: And then evaluate the evidence in respect of the project’s intended beneficiaries and you were still awaiting evidence from Mr Maimane.
Mr Raedani: Yes, that’s correct.
Adv Bawa: Your approach then was that you were of the view that the report could be submitted for consideration.
Adv Raedani: At that particular point, we... I think our view was that we wanted the memo to be submitted for consideration, raising all the issues that I raised in paragraph 46 and in the memo. We felt that if these issues are addressed then the report will be... it can be ready to be released.
Adv Bawa: Then in paragraph 48 you talk about what transpires on the week of 5 February, can you tell us what occurred.
Adv Raedani: On this week, we were summoned by Mr Ndou; it was me, Adv Matlawe and Mr Kekana. Mr Ndou advised us that the PP wanted to sign the Vrede report, I think this was shortly after we’ve submitted the memorandum that I’ve referred to earlier on. While we were still waiting for an answer on the issues that we raised as I stated in paragraph 46, we were then called to this meeting. Mr Ndou said to us that the PP wanted to sign the Vrede report, shortly, and... we were instructed to and finalise the Vrede report, irregardless of the issues that we raised which we thought they were outstanding. We went to work on the report, especially what we did was to do quality assurance, to make sure that the report and the evidence that has been presented has a relationship between the two. Then we submitted the report, I think it was to Mr Ndou, then the draft was circulated to Mr Nemasisi. Then Mr Nemasisi made comments on it and then it came back on the very same week.
Adv Bawa: Okay, if we go to paragraph 49 of your affidavit, you were at the point where you said the draft was circulated to Mr Nemasisi. You say there that he usually provided input into the process.
Adv Raedani: Yes... what happened, we never had that position of the head of legal, having an incumbent in the organisation. It was the first time that Mr Nemasisi was employed in that position. I think it was in his first year, as a new trend that I saw developing in the organisation. It was that once we’re done with the report as investigators from the investigation branches, we will then circulate it to Mr Nemasisi, who will look at it objectively to determine if that particular report is reviewable or not. So what happened in these instances, it was part of the trend or the developing culture in the organisation, the report was then sent to Nemasisi to have a look at it, to advise us if it’s reviewable or not.
Adv Bawa: Paragraph 50, you say that you were called into a meeting with the PP. Can you tell us about that?
Adv Raedani: That meeting, if I remember correctly, the Acting Chief of Staff, she sent an email to me, Kekana, Matlawe and Nemasisi, and Mr Ndlou, I think he was included, wherein she said that the PP wants to see us regarding that report. She was not happy; she wanted us to meet in the morning. I can’t remember the date but it was between the 5th and before the 8th, when the report was initially... Then we went to meet the PP, and when we went to meet the PP, it was myself, Mr Kekana, Mr Ndou was on leave and I think the third person should be Mr Nemasisi and then the Acting Chief of Staff. In that meeting the PP indicated her displeasure when it comes to the readiness of the report; she was not happy. She instructed us to go and implement certain changes in the report and it was in that meeting that I left together with Mr Kekana and we went back to our offices and we carried out the instructions as instructed by the PP, and amended the report as per instruction.
Adv Bawa: You say Mr Ndou was on leave for part of that week and you say Mr Sithole and Adv Matlawe, although they were part of the task team, they were not very much involved in that process going forward.
Adv Raedani: Yes, they were not very much involved. Because if I remember Mr Matlawe was not even in the meeting. It was me and Kekana who went to meet the Public Protector. In terms of seniority and our involvement in the report, we were the only ones who were senior to be able to carry out the PP’s instructions.
Adv Bawa: Okay, so if we look at your next paragraph, you say that Mr Kekana then circulated a draft of the Vrede report to yourself, Mr Matlawe and Mr Nemasisi, as well as Ms Cleopatra Mosana. She was then the PP’s spokesperson. Right?
Adv Raedani: Yes, she was the PP’s spokesperson.
Adv Bawa: He attached certain amendments that he made and asked you to include your amendments to it.
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Bawa: If you go to “NR5”, which is at 2890, you then see the email that you got on the 8th. Thursday was the 8th so that would have meant the 5th was Monday. So it was at the start of the week on the Monday that this process commenced. We’re now at Thursday, and you're provided with certain amendments to certain sections at 17 minutes past four. Then we go up on this email and Mr Kekana tells you, you must work on a version that he sent and then he says he notices that paragraphs in the remedial action was not deleted, to do that. And then, you say that some... if you go back to 53 of your affidavit, Mr Kekana then... you mentioned the version that he circulates at 1635 (and that version is attached to your affidavit marked “NR5”), and he then sends you another version, which you see at 2891, which is what you call the “Kekana version”, which contains certain track changes made by him and Mr Nemasisi.
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Bawa: So if we look at your affidavit in conjunction with that. I'll take you to that briefly; you say at 54.1 that, for the first time, the report records that certain issues were not investigated due to capacity and financial constraints; including issues emanating from the complainant on 10 May, how the money was spent by Estina, who the beneficiaries were and the Gupta Leaks. If I take you to the next one, you say that under the heading of "Issues that were not investigated" were the recordals that the complaint did not have allegations against the former MEC for the Free State Department of Agriculture, nor against the then Premier, Mr Magashule. If we could go to “NR6”, at page 2899, we go down to roman numeral (viii), you see that it says the following issues were not investigated due to capacity and financial constraints experienced by the Office. Is that what you were referring to Mr Raedani?
Mr Raedani: Yes, that’s correct.
Adv Bawa: If we go to “b”, you see issues emanating from the complainant sent on 10 May, as the issues pertaining were identified; and then further down you see the reference inserted in respect of referring to the Gupta family. If you go to 2900, you see in “g” and “h”, it states that the complaint did not have allegations against the former MEC and the complaint did not raise allegations against the Premier. The last one at page 2902, that the report...notable changes were made in respect of removing the findings. We can go back to your affidavit at 2775, paragraph 54 and 55. Notable changes included removing the findings of gross irregularity, improper conduct, abuse of power, infringement of the Constitution and maladministration in respect of the Accounting Officer’s procurement activities. Whereas the previous versions of the draft had recorded that the Department had failed to comply with applicable procurement prescripts, the report now concluded that the Department never entered a public-private partnership with Estina. Can you tell us how it came about that these changes were being made?
Adv Raedani: The changes as you’ve referred to in general in the report, these changes, whatever came out of the earlier version that we submitted earlier in the week, the meeting that we had with the Public Protector, Mr Kekana and Nemasisi, this is where we were instructed to factor those changes. This is what Mr Kekana, on the morning of the 8th and myself, when we went back to our offices; as you have seen from his email, I was working on a separate... we segregated the issues, he worked on certain issues, I worked on certain issues. That’s when we were effecting these changes, as per the instructions from the executive authority.
Adv Bawa: In paragraph 56, you say that the findings of inflated prices and overcharging were maintained, and in fact, Mr Nemasisi reinserted the finding of financial misconduct.
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s correct, in the version that he worked on earlier on, in that week actually.
Adv Bawa: Right, and just for the record one sees at page 2904, we don’t have to go there, you then detail in paragraphs 57 and 58, further changes that were made relating to the section setting out the Office’s findings on alleged non-compliance with environmental legislation, that was completely removed. One sees that at page 2905. Then Mr Nemasisi remained concerned that the Office had failed to obtain invoices. Can you recall what that was about?
Adv Raedani: Okay the environmental legislation compliance, it was on the farm when the Free State colleagues conducted an inspection; the Department of Environmental Affairs and the National Department of Water Affairs, they found out apparently about 30-something carcases of cattle, of cows, were buried alongside on the farm. They concluded their own investigation and they instructed the farm manager to make sure that those cows are removed from that mass grave and then they were buried somewhere else. So there was nothing from our side as the Public Protector that we investigated relating to the non-compliance with environmental legislation. That's why Nemasisi was concerned, because on the report, on some versions of the report there was a finding about non-compliance, relating to non-compliance with the environmental legislation, and that finding it simply said, I think it said that the allegations that there was non-compliance with environmental legislation was not substantiated. I think this is why Nemasisi was concerned that we have this finding, but we don’t discuss it in the report, on what did we do, and basically, we just relied on the report from the other department and then make finding as if we have investigated. Then relating to the second issue of invoices, yeah, he was also concerned that we did not obtain invoices and receipts from Estina, and then we made findings about this as well.
Adv Bawa: If we go to page 2931 of the report, we see that he also had other concerns in a comment along the margin at 2931. There’s a comment if you can see it, the “NN” in the comment column is Mr Nemasisi’s, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s Mr NN, Mr Ntsumbedzeni Nemasisi.
Adv Bawa: And he raised the issue there, “Didn’t we interview the head of department? He is a key witness in this matter and it will be procedurally fair that we give him the chance to explain. We also have to interview Mr Kamal Vasram, director of Estina, as he was the one implementing the project. I also suggest that we obtain the bank statements of project account, so that we can make observations on the money laundering. This observation will make the report more credible, as the public is interested in who benefitted from the project, as opposed to who did not follow the process when appointing.” Where those things done, Mr Raedani?
Adv Raedani: I will take Mr... because I did not investigate that then, I was only involved in the finalisation of the quality assurance. What Nemasisi was raising here was very correct and I agree with him. Firstly, in order for you to... there was a need to interview the head of department and then also the director of Estina, so I agree with his comments. When it comes to whether this was done, I doubt if the Accounting Officer was interviewed and the director of Estina was questioned about this.
Adv Bawa: In fact, if you go back to the report, just move away from the comments into the main report and just go up. You will see, he makes these comments in respect of interviews conducted, and that would be where in the report, one would see who the investigators had spoken to, in respect of compiling the report. Correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, they spoke to the head of department, that’s there in 4421, and then the Chief Executive of Corporate Services, that’s the Free State Development Corporation, this organisation only took over the project when it has failed, so it was not much featured in the investigation as you can see. The relevance of this Free State Development Corporation is just it took over the project when Estina and the department has failed. I would presume that when this meeting of 17 September happened, whoever was investigating the matter should have interviewed the head of department about the process that was followed when this contract was entered into. At that time, it should have been clear to the investigator that at that particular point there was non-compliance with procurement prescripts.
Adv Bawa: If we then go back to your affidavit. Paragraph 60 on page 2776. You then circulated another version of the report on that day, and you then attached a further version of the report and both the findings of financial misconduct and the findings of prices being inflated / overcharged, were removed.
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s correct.
Adv Bawa: And did you remove those?
Adv Raedani: Yes, when we were editing with Mr Kekana, under the instruction of the Public... after the instructions that we received from the Public Protector. We removed those paragraphs, and inserted, like the earlier version of the report with insertion that you showed me, that’s when we were actually removing the previous paragraph and putting the new ones.
Adv Bawa: Okay, so if I take you to that version, “NR8”, and I go to page 2986, one sees the changes done in turquoise or bluish colour, those would be the changes that you put in.
Adv Raedani: Yes, I presume so.
Adv Bawa: Right, if we go to page 3037. The photographs are also removed.
Adv Raedani: Yes, we removed it.
Adv Bawa: Why did you remove it?
Adv Raedani: It was an instruction that we must remove the photographs from the report.
Adv Bawa: Then, a further version of the report gets circulated by Mr Nemasis; you refer to that in your affidavit at paragraph 61. One sees that what Mr Nemasisi does is insert various changes back into the draft.
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Bawa: And he notes various concerns in the draft.
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Bawa: Were you working in the same room or were you working in your respective offices and you were having an email communication?
Adv Raedani: I think we were working in different rooms. If Mr Kekana was in his office in the first floor, I was in my office in the ground floor, and Nemasisi was in the second floor of the building.
Adv Bawa: Okay. I’m not going to take you right now specifically to “NR10”, but you detail in paragraph 61.4, the changes which one sees Mr Nemasisi making on the draft and he expresses concerns you pointed out. Just take us through 61.4 and 61.5.
Adv Raedani: It’s again the comment that you referred to earlier where Nemasisi made comments. So he was concerned that it made no reference to the interviewing of the accounting officer, which we have gone through the report and it made reference to that meeting of 17 September, I think it was 2013. The director of Estina, who we think it's material. I don’t think the report make reference to the interview with the director of Estina. Then he suggested that the bank statements should be obtained so that the OPP could make findings in respect of money laundering. Again, this is coming from that comment. And he recorded concern that the Office of the Public Protector has failed to obtain necessary warrants and that further documents should have been at least requested from Estina. He also pointed out that the report conclusions actually required a finding that there had been non-compliance with environmental prescripts. I think that is what I was explaining earlier, about what Nemasisi was concerned about.
Adv Bawa: Right, and after that you received an email from the Acting Chief of Staff, Ms Molelekoa?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I received that email. Unfortunately I was still in the office but it was long after the official knock off time.
Adv Bawa: You see at page 3136 in your affidavit, it basically says Mr Matlawe is gone, the Public Protector is now alone, and she asked you to assist in checking for her.
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Bawa: Right, checking it for her, she will be back shortly. And a question is asked as to why there is still comments in the report.
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Bawa: Yes, right. And what do you then do?
Adv Raedani: I think I was requested to go over to the executive office, where Linda tried to explain this and said that the PP wanted to sign the report today, so I must stay behind to assist the PP to finalise the report, since Matlawe is gone and there is no one else to assist. I presume by that time, Mr Nemasisi was also in the office, and I think Ms Mosana was still around as well.
Adv Bawa: Right, and what then transpired?
Adv Raedani: My first answer to the Chief of Staff was that Mr Matlawe should have been the one who consolidated the report and made sure that a clean version of the report, which does not show comments from other members of the team, is submitted to the Public Protector. From there, it was when I went over to the PP’s board room, and we sat. Initially it was myself, Ms Mosana, the Acting Chief of Staff and Ms Motsitsi, who was at that particular time the Acting Chief Executive Officer. We started working on the final version of the report, it was myself with my laptop and the Public Protector. I think most of the time we were sitting, it was the PP, myself and the Acting Chief of Staff working on the final version of the report as per the preference of the Public Protector. I think it took us up until later that evening, I can’t remember the time but it would have been after 10.
Adv Bawa: And you say the report was projected onto a screen, via your laptop.
Adv Raedani: Yes, there was a screen there. I think it was a tv screen or something else that we usually connect, and then we sit together and projected the report there.
Adv Bawa: And then you said the PP dictated to you and you made changes, and at some point, she started typing herself.
Adv Raedani: Yes, the PP was dictating some of the changes on top of what me and Kekana had already changed in the afternoon. She was dictating to us what to write and at some point, she took the laptop and typed herself.
Adv Bawa: And then did you talk to the PP about the changes being affected at all?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, I told the PP that this is not going to look good from where I’m saying, because I think a lot of political commentators and legal experts will literally criticise us in the morning. The PP I presume she was in a good mood, she wanted the report to go out, she just said to me in a language that “anginandaba”.
Adv Bawa: And, what does that mean?
Adv Raedani: Basically, it translated “I don’t care”.
Adv Bawa: Okay, and after you were done?
Adv Raedani: After I was done with the PP, we had to, when you issue a report, it must have certain things, I don’t know what is the requirement from the publishers. It needs to have an ISBN number. I had to make arrangement to obtain this from the librarian, who was at home, we called her, she gave it to us and then I went to Ms Mosana’s office who will have issued a press statement together with the report that night. And then after, when we were just sitting, because the incident of the ABSA investigation was still new, it was not long, it was still fresh in our mind and everything that we were doing, we were trying to avoid a similar incident. And after I’ve analysed everything, what has happened to the report and what is being issued, I had a view that whatever had happened after the ABSA investigation will happen tomorrow. Then I advised Ms Mosana not to come to work, because the last time she was attacked, she almost cried when she was interviewed about the ABSA investigation. That's when I offered her the advice to rather stay at home, because this will be a disaster tomorrow.
Adv Bawa: And then what was the PP’s view at that stage?
Adv Raedani: The PP was happy initially; she thanked me for helping her. And I didn’t notice anything that was abnormal about the PP. In fact, the PP, when she is happy, I will tell, apparently when she finished her work and she is happy with what she wants to release then obviously her mood will be in good spirit.
Adv Bawa: Right. In paragraph 71, you say that the PP signed the report later that night.
Adv Raedani: Yeah, she signed the report later that night when everything was in order, the ISBN number was obtained and done, and all those things.
Adv Bawa: Then you say in the final report, you detail three findings. I just want to take you to the first finding, “The final report found that the Department had not infringed the regulations regarding public-private partnerships”. Now, Mr Raedani, that was a legal conclusion. Where did that come from?
Adv Raedani: We, we requested Nemasisi to give us on this one. Remember if you look at our memorandum of the 25 January and even Mr Ndou’s initial email when the task team was formulated, it makes reference to a legal opinion regarding the key issues, and that’s when Nemasisi concluded that it was not a public-private partnership. I think we have taken that from that opinion, and I think the PP would also have accepted the opinion.
Adv Bawa: So that conclusion in the report, that emanated from Mr Nemasisi’s opinion that got put into the report.
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s correct.
Adv Bawa: The report then further recorded the Office’s concurrence or the Accountant General’s conclusions that there had been procurement irregularities?
Adv Raedani: Yes, the Accountant General report was then accepted.
Adv Bawa: Right, you then say that like the February 2018 report, the final report concluded that there was gross negligence, improper conduct and maladministration in the management and monitoring of the Vrede Dairy project.
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s correct.
Adv Bawa: But that it did away with the conclusion of financial misconduct that Mr Nemasisi had also recommended.
Adv Raedani: Yes, the financial misconduct issue was not in the final report.
Adv Bawa: It made away with the findings of inflated prices and overcharging that had previously been there.
Adv Raedani: Yes, the findings of inflated prices was no longer there. I think this was replaced with the specific subject that talks about financial constraints and the Office of the Public Protector not being able to make such findings, and contrary to what the initial investigation team did when they were investigating and obtaining an opinion from somebody who has got the financial know-how of comparing prices.
Adv Bawa: Right, I’m going to come back to the final report in a moment, but let’s just finish your affidavit before I take you to the final report. The Portfolio Committee then raised certain concerns and you were then instructed to reinvestigate the matter with the focus on politicians. Do you recall that?... Mr Raedani have we lost you? Mr Raedani can you hear me?
[Adv Raedani lost internet connection]
Chairperson: Okay, just a pause, I think this politician thing has made him now disappear, but let’s get him back. He has lost his network... he is re-joining... Mr Nditsheni Raedani, are you back?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I am back Chair?
Chairperson: What happened? Where did you go now?
Adv Raedani: No, I don’t know, my internet service provider goes off and on sometimes, but let’s hope it’s back for good now.
Chairperson: All right, let me hand over to Adv Bawa.
Adv Bawa: My question just before the interruption took you to paragraph 73 of your affidavit, and I said to you that the Public Protector was then requested to reinvestigate and to consider the role of the politicians in the Vrede project. Were you given any instructions?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, when she came back from Parliament, she gave instructions to reinvestigate the matter; I think that it would have come from Mr Ndou. I then drafted the new investigation plans and also what are the issues that we need to investigate in line with the criticism that we received after the first report. And then, we started with the investigation...it was then...
Adv Bawa: Sorry, Adv Raedani, I just want to effect a correction. There is an error in paragraph 74 of your affidavit, and you have corrected that error by filing a further supplementary affidavit, which came through to us earlier today. Can you tell us what that error is?
Adv Raedani: The error is in connection with the meeting that was supposed to happen. It was the Public Protector, it was not Mr Ndou who was in that meeting, it was Mr Mothupi. I’ve verified the information with both Mr Ndou and Mr Mothupi and confirmed that it was Mr Mothupi who went to the meeting with me.
Adv Bawa: Now just tell the Committee who is Mr Mothupi because we haven’t had his name come up yet.
Adv Raedani: Mr Mothupi was a senior manager for Provincial Investigations and Integration. Mr Mothupi use to report to the EM, to the Executive Manager who was Mr Ndou; and then we were senior investigators. It was myself, Matlawe and Kekana, the rest of us as senior investigators would report to Mr Mothupi. So that’s why...
Adv Bawa: So that’s why, what? Sorry I interrupted you.
Adv Raedani: So that’s why I had to go to that meeting with Mr Mothupi. In any event if Mr Ndou was available, he would also have formed part of that meeting, because the investigation, even though it’s allocated to an individual, with me specifically, but it was allocated to the branch, so Mr Ndou had ultimate responsibility as the head of the branch.
Adv Bawa: Right, so what transpired? You arranged to speak to Mr Magashule, what happened after that?
Adv Raedani: We... what normally happen is when there is a minister or a politician that we want to, or let’s say a director-general of a department, that we want to invite to a meeting, we normally subpoena that person through the Office of the Public Protector. When we did, the same happened to Mr Magashule. We discussed it with Mr Ndou and Mr Mothupi that we want to subpoena Mr Magashule, who was then the Secretary… who was then now no longer the Premier but the Secretary General of the ANC. We subpoenaed him to come and answer and I think some of the issues that we wanted him to answer will relate to what Mr Nemasisi has raised in his comments to the report. I remember one of the issues that transpired is Mr Magashule was the person who approved this project. He is the one who mentioned this project in his initial State of the Province Address and for the people to go to India to benchmark and investigate and do further investigation for the implementation of this project. Mr Magashule is the one who approved it. So then we called the meeting. Obviously the PP need to sit in that meeting when you look at the nature of the person of Mr Magashule. Then we went to the PP boardroom to that meeting with Mr Mothupi. The PP will normally take the lead and do much of the talking, but during the meeting, because it is an investigation meeting, we have to record it and we have to ask questions. We didn’t have much of the time to ask questions. The meeting proceeded rather by Mr Magashule explaining to the PP what happened with the project and what they did to try and address the issues raised by the Accountant General. Then, obviously, the fact that the project is now being overseen by the Free State Development Corporation, then that meeting did not even last for 30 minutes. I remember a meeting of such a nature may sometimes last for a day where we are asking investigative questions, but that one did not last 30 minutes. We were then requested to excuse ourselves with Mr Mothupi. Then the Public Protector requested a personal assistant to bring her a fresh cup of coffee, because she wanted to have a constructive meeting with the Secretary General. It was then when we left the boardroom and we went back to our respective offices and the Public Protector remained with the Secretary General. I’m not privy to what was discussed in that meeting after we’ve been excused and I don’t know how long Mr Magashule remained in the Office on that particular day.
Adv Bawa: And did you get a recording of the meeting?
Adv Raedani: Yes, part of our meeting, we would have recorded it. We had recording devices so obviously I would have used my own recording device to record the meeting. But the meeting that happened between Mr Magashule and the Public Protector obviously it was not recorded because we were not part of it.
Adv Bawa: Were you further involved in the investigation that then ensued?
Adv Raedani: No, I think that was my last engagement on this matter because later in that year, this investigation was then... together with the SAA investigation was then seized from me and allocated to other investigators; I don’t know who. Basically, it would have been investigators in the main investigative branch directorate, because I was not involved in full-time investigation, we were only doing the part of monitoring of provincial investigations, as opposed to active investigations.
Adv Bawa: Mr Chair, do you want to take the lunch adjournment at this point?
Chairperson: You’ve just read my mind. We will now pause for lunch break, Mr Raedani and everybody on the virtual platform, we will be back at 2pm. Thank you, we will pause.
Chairperson: Mr Raedani, Nditsheni, are you there?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I am here.
Chairperson: Thank you, now I’m going to recognise Adv Bawa, and I’m going to ask you to wrap up in the next 15 minutes. Thank you, over to you.
Adv Bawa: Adv Raedani, I just have one aspect that I want to deal with you and that is a comparison in some ways between the final report, and the document attached to your affidavit called “NR10”. I’m going to ask them to put page 1268 of the final signed report which is part of Bundle A. I’m on time restrictions. I’m just going to highlight a couple. Sorry. First put up “NR10”, because that is the earlier version, and take us to page 3128. Right, there is a finding under Observations... sorry at 6.1.4, do you see that?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I see it.
Adv Bawa: Right, this is the report that was there. It says at 6.1.3: “The Public Protector in concurrence with the Accountant General’s investigation observed certain issues relating to procurement processes in regard to the project.” At 6.1.4, it says: “The prescripts in respect of the procurement of the agreement were not adhered to.”. If you go down, it says: “The Accounting Officer of the Department proceeded after the recommendation of the Accountant General to pay a further R143.950 million to ESTINA in respect of the Project. This amounted to gross irregularity and maladministration.”
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Bawa: Right, so that’s the one observation. I'm going to take you to two or three more in the documentation. If you go to page 3047... sorry, hold on, the Chair has now disconcerted me with that announcement, so let me not lose my train of thought. If we go to page 3130...if you go down, go to the heading. You see where it says “Regarding whether the Department failed to manage and monitor implementation of the terms of the agreement in relation to budget evaluation, expenditure control and performance by ESTINA...”, and then if you go further down, you will find an allegation that is at 6.2.4: “The evidence outlined earlier points to gross irregularities in ensuring the effective and efficient performance of the agreement and resulted in irregular and fruitless expenditure.” If you go to the next page, 3131, you will see 6.3.1: “The allegations that the prices for goods and services procured were inflated specifically expenses in respect of construction, processing equipment, procurement of cows and administration costs is substantiated.” I just want to put two more to you...at 6.3.4: “The lack of proper monitoring and control measures to ensure value for public money expended is the reason for the discrepancies and this amounts to gross negligence, maladministration and resulted in irregular and fruitless expenditure.” The next paragraph says: “The evidence submitted indicates that the prices of the milking equipment, the gate and guardhouse and the cows were considerably higher than the then prevailing and current market prices.” Then if we go to Remedial Action at 3133; 7.1.1. It’s the remedial action with respect to the Premier of the Free State province, right? If we go down, 184.108.40.206, it says: “Ensure that the findings of the Accountant General and the recommendations in paragraphs 7.1.1 and 7.1.2 of his report of January 2013 are implemented.” Right? In respect of the HoD, it says: “Improve the Supply Chain Management System of the Department to ensure that all Treasury legislation and other prescripts are adhered to.” Under 8, on monitoring, it says the Premier and the HoD are required to take remedial action, must acknowledge receipt and advise on the acceptance of the report; it must then implement an action plan and submit by monthly reports, and it must refer to the Auditor General, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI). Now these are some of the conclusions that remain in the report that you... that the task team people were working on on the evening of the 8th, correct Mr Raedani?
Adv Raedani? That’s correct.
Adv Bawa: Now I want to compare those with the provisions in the final report that was signed on that evening. Page 1268, you will see at 6.1.4 “Observations”. It differs; it says: “The Public Protector in concurrence with the Accountant General’s investigation observed the following procurement irregularities...” 6.1.5 says: “The prescripts in respect of the procurement of the agreement were not adhered to.” Do you see that?
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Bawa: So it has taken out the categorisation which the previous version had of maladministration.
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s correct.
Adv Bawa: Right. If you look at page 1270, you will see at 6.2.5, it says “it is clear that this amounts to gross negligence and also constitutes improper conduct as envisaged in section 182(1) of the Constitution and maladministration as envisaged in section 6 of the Public Protector Act.” So, that finding is there, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, it’s correct.
Adv Bawa: But what it doesn’t do, is it doesn’t say non-compliance with Section 217 of the Constitution... the conclusion of the agreement improper.
Adv Raedani: Yeah, that information relating to Section 217 was removed.
Adv Bawa: Then 6.3 where you deal with the prices of goods and services, whereas it had previously indicated that they were inflated under 6.3.1, you now say that: “The allegation that the prices for goods and services procured were inflated, specifically expenses in respect of construction, processing equipment, procurement of cows and administration costs is difficult to determine.” At 220.127.116.11. is the sentence that says “Due to the lack of resources and financial constraints, the Public Protector was unable to conduct a comprehensive investigation in order to determine the fair market value for goods and services procured...”, so there's no findings of irregular and fruitless expenditure any longer.
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s correct.
Adv Bawa: And if you go to the remedial action, before I get kicked off, just to make the last point on that, with respect to the Premier, at 1271. It deleted the two requirements that the Premier must implement the findings of the Accountant General and submit its report to the Provincial Legislature, but it now says under 7.1.3 that the Premier must “Ensure that he conducts a reconciliation of the number of cows initially procured and found during April 2017 as per his undertaking in the response to section 7(9) notice.” You see that?
Adv Raedani: I see that.
Adv Bawa: So that also differs from the previous version. Then at paragraph 8, when it comes to monitoring... Oh sorry, I’ve left out the HoD, the requirement of improving the supply chain management is no longer there. But it you go down to monitoring, the last one on the previous draft had indicated a referral to the Auditor General, the NPA and the DPCI – that too is no longer there.
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s correct.
Adv Bawa: But Mr Raedani, you’ve accepted that at the end of the day it’s the Public Protector report and what she wants in that report is up to her. Do you agree?
Adv Raedani: Yes, that is correct.
Adv Bawa: I have no further questions.
Chairperson: I’m now going to invite Adv Mpofu to start the cross examination. Welcome Adv Mpofu, I hand over to you.
Cross examination of Adv Nditsheni Raedani
Adv Dali Mpofu: Thank you. Good Afternoon Chairperson and everybody. Good afternoon Adv Raedani.
Adv Raedani: Good Afternoon Adv Mpofu.
Adv Mpofu: How are you Adv Nditsheni?
Adv Raedani: I’m fine, SC, how are you?
Adv Mpofu: No, no, I’m doing very well. Thank you very much. Yeah, I hope you’re not doing this from the chambers in Sandton.
Adv Raedani: No, I should have come straight over, I should have walked over to your chamber, we’re on the same floor.
Adv Mpofu: Alright, I agree with Adv Bawa on one thing, your choice of profession is not advisable, but yeah. Listen, we’re going to deal with a few issues, but before we do that, I just want to maybe address the Chair. Chairperson, what I propose to do, just to save time... and I’ve discussed this with Adv Bawa. I’m not going to deal with some of the general issues that we have already dealt with, with other witnesses, where it is known what our position is, things like the dissolution of the Think Tank and all that. So if I don't deal with those, it must not be taken that because I didn’t put it to this witness that we accept his version. The Committee already knows what our view is, so I don’t want to go into a blow-by-blow issue about whether it was a weekly meeting or a quarterly meeting, I think we’ve exhausted those issues. If that is okay with you Chair, then I'll go straight into the main issues.
Chairperson: That’s perfectly in order Adv Mpofu. Please proceed.
Adv Mpofu: Thank you Chair, I just don’t want it to be held against me at some stage later. Thank you very much. Adv Raedani, would it be fair to say that you don’t really have much to offer, to assist us with... either because your memory is not up to scratch or you’re not sure of some of the things that happened, or as I’m going to suggest, I think you were only marginally involved in respect of the Vrede report, because you only really participated in the last, towards the tail end of that report. Would that be a fair assessment, generally?
Adv Raedani: Not really, I would say. What I can contribute towards this Committee is only in relation to the Vrede investigation and also my short stay as a senior investigator in the Private Office, and of which is a fairly short amount of time which cannot, maybe, unlike other witnesses who have a long testimony, but mine is limited to Vrede investigation and also the short stay that I was in the Private Office.
Adv Mpofu: No, yeah, I think maybe you didn’t understand. I think we’re in agreement. So, I'm saying therefore, for those reasons you have very little to offer on the broader issues, but only to that limited extent. Correct?
Adv Raedani: That’s correct, Mr Mpofu.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, thank you very much. Alright, and also, just to be fair to you, I think that the way you’ve drafted your affidavit also indicates that kind of... you know, minimal contribution, because it's littered with words like “to the best of my recollection”, “in my perception”, “if my memory serves me well” and so on, those kinds of qualifications which really indicate that you... and it's understandable, you didn’t want to assert things as certainty when they are not clear in your own mind. Am I right?
Adv Raedani: That’s correct, and also I didn’t want to put allegations that I was not going to substantiate. For the reasons that you’ve stated and I’ve stated before that my involvement, much as it has to do with the current enquiry, it has to do with the Vrede investigation and that particular time that I was in the PP’s Office.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, no fair enough. In fact, to be fair to you those kinds of road qualifiers relate to the kind of more general issues, such as the issue about Think Tank and so on. But the point is that, and I’m saying this in your favour, that where you need to qualify the statements, you make it clear that this is just your perception or that you might not have a full recollection, instead of putting it as certainty. Okay?
Adv Raedani: That’s correct, in as far as I can remember, especially where the allegations were vague. And if you remember correctly, I think I mentioned clearly that I never had personal altercations with the PP. Whatever that I had, were allegations that people were saying about her, in general, so I couldn’t qualify them and come here and give evidence about allegations that were made in general.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, fair enough. But you see, what I pick up is some, a kind of a... contradiction, for lack of a better word, in that approach, because I found that in certain instances you put something as a certainty when it clearly should not be, because it was either secondary information from somebody else and then where you were actually involved, then you put it as an uncertainty. So, I’m not quite sure, I'll point those examples out, but do you have any comment to make to whether that observation is correct or not?
Adv Raedani: I wouldn’t know, unless if maybe you take me to specific information, but in as far as I have tried to refer to anything that I was actually involved, to refer to it directly, but if I was not actually involved, what I did was to make sure...
Adv Mpofu: To qualify it... Yes, and that is because as a legal practitioner you understand the importance of making it clear when you are relying on secondary evidence and when you are relying on direct evidence. I mean when you look at paragraph 2, which is the standard paragraph in an affidavit... it says, that will be 2758, Chairperson. It says “The contents of this affidavit are to the best of my recollection true and correct and fall within my personal knowledge, unless otherwise stated or clear from the context.” And I think that’s what you were trying to achieve by making it clear from the context when it’s just a perception, but I’m just saying that in certain instances, you don’t seem to follow that rule. Let me assist you with an example on something, because you see if it’s something unimportant, I overlook it, but when you do it with something that might be important then it might be misleading to the Committee and I’m not saying that was your intention. Go to paragraph 36 at 2769. Now it is true that the PP has never told you about Gupta Leaks, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s correct. That’s correct. I’ve never had a discussion with her about the Gupta Leaks.
Adv Mpofu: Whatever information you might have heard regarding the Gupta Leaks was something that would have been told to you by somebody else, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I would have got it from a secondary person.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, but now, I’m sure you still remember your legal drafting lessons from your pupillage.
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Mpofu: Now if you read that paragraph, doesn’t it give the impression that this is something that you are a primary witness to? Let us read it together, you say “Mr Ndou’s email correspondence referred to the Gupta-leaks emails” that is a reference to that email of “NR1”, you remember that one? Where you were basically being given the broad mandate of your task team. Remember that?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I remember the email of November 2017.
Adv Mpofu: Then the second sentence, that’s the one that worries me and I’d want you to, you must qualify it if you want or redraft it as they say. You say “However, the PP was adamant that those should not be included in the investigation.” What’s wrong with that sentence?
Adv Raedani: I think to come to your interpretation, and to what you have referred to earlier. What is wrong in this statement is that I didn’t put it as if it is a secondary statement. Like you said earlier.
Adv Mpofu: No, that’s fine, at least we agree on that. So you would agree that a reader of this affidavit would think that you’re making that statement yourself, I mean especially when you use words like “adamant”, it would make it seem that you are a primary source?
Adv Raedani: Yes, that is correct.
Adv Mpofu: But that impression would be false, correct? And it would be wrong. I'm not saying you were intending to mislead but it would mislead an innocent reader who was not part of this, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, it can, but in any event, I wouldn’t want to argue it like a lawyer to say that anybody who has read the context of my affidavit and also listened to me explaining will be able to reach the conclusion that you are reaching.
Adv Mpofu: Sorry, can you repeat that.
Adv Raedani: I’m saying anybody who listened to me giving evidence to this Committee and who listened also to you, when you posed the questions that you posed earlier, will be able to determine or to completely say that that statement, the manner in which it is placed in the affidavit, it is misleading, but if...
Adv Mpofu: Thank you, no that... Oh, sorry, sorry, you can finish.
Adv Raedani: No, it’s fine, it’s fine. I don’t think it’s necessary for me to continue.
Adv Mpofu: No, thank you. Thank you. Fine. No, I just wanted to clear things like that. I’ll take you to one or two other examples as we go along. I’m saying that, having complimented you where you’ve deserved it, because you have watered down certain information, where you wanted to convey clearly that this was either your impression and so on, and of course you know as a lawyer that your impressions and all that as a witness are not really - don’t carry much weight, correct?
Adv Raedani: That’s correct.
Adv Mpofu: Alright, okay. Alright, now that we’ve got that behind us, let’s just get to some of the preliminary issues. Your view is that you have been victimised because you are a member of the union, where does that come from?
Adv Raedani: That comes from the fact that, myself, together with other members from the union, Adv Matlawe and Mr Kekana... what will entirely happen to Matlawe will then the following day happen to me, and then eventually happen to Kekana. But like I said in my affidavit, I never had a personal fight or personal altercation with the PP. So whatever I might have heard about her, her feelings towards me, it might have been something that I’ve heard from secondary people, which is not something that I can put here as direct evidence to say that the PP didn’t like me, of 1, 2, 3...because in as far as I remember, even on my last day we were on good terms, in terms of speaking.
Adv Mpofu: I see, who told you that the PP didn’t like you?
Adv Raedani: I would have heard in the corridor, but it’s not something to be... it’s not something that I would like to sell over to this Committee or to make the Committee believe it was something like that. But what was happening to us as members of the union, what would happen to Matlawe, like when his files were taken away, I don’t know whether it was the PP’s instructions or somebody who is in the senior / higher echelon of management decided to take Matlawe’s files. And then it was mine the following day... Then Mr Matlawe was charged, of which he was not charged by the PP, he was charged by the CEO... and there was that trend... That’s what I was trying to say, there was that trend that whatever happens to one member, one leader of the union, would happen to another one. So I never wanted to sell that there was that impression that the PP did not like me.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, okay... but, okay, let’s come to this, when you say what happened to one member would happen to another, like an injury to one is an injury to all is the saying in the union movement. What happened to Mr Matlawe?
Adv Raedani: Matlawe’s files... there was an investigation concerning the FSB, I think it has changed its name now to Financial Service Sector... Conduct, something like that. That investigation was reported by, I think, Mr Floyd Shivambu. When Mr Matlawe was busy with the investigation, it was taken away from him, and the files were just taken away without any explanation. And, later, upon his exit, me and Mr Matlawe, we were both served our... what do we call this, our notices at the same time. He was abruptly taken out of the Office and told he was charged and suspended by the CEO. So generally as a person being in that Office, I felt something like that could happen to me, because my files were also taken, concerning the SAA investigation. Eventually, when we left, when Mr Matlawe and myself left the Office, Mr Kekana was then charged and subsequently dismissed, and the three of us were leaders of the union.
Adv Mpofu: I see, and were you ever charged?
Adv Raedani: No, I was never charged. I was only given a letter to explain why charges should not be brought against me. So what happened to me... I don’t want my name to be dragged into mud, hence, I had decided quit. While something like that has not happened to me, because to have a record like you have been dismissed somewhere, is something else.
Adv Mpofu: I see...
Adv Raedani: Rather than for you to quit...
Adv Mpofu: Yes, so, alright, you are aware that each person who was charged, there were investigations, independent investigations and those disciplinary hearings were chaired by independent external advocates, like you...
Adv Raedani: Yes, I’m aware. I’m aware, but I don’t, I’m not aware of Mr Matlawe and Mr Ndou... because I think they left before the initial, the initial charges were, the initial disciplinary hearings were concluded.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, I’m sure they did, yeah, but what does that tell you? Does that mean they were quite confident of their innocence?
Adv Raedani: I don’t know, I don’t know, I really... especially when it comes to Mr Kekana, I heard he was charged for disclosing certain information to the union. And with Mr Kekana, it’s even before that email, which led to his demise, came through to his inbox. Mr Kekana, I think he would have been a target, because Mr Kekana was involved in the completion of that ABSA investigation, which Mr Kekana was involved in compiling the Rule 53 record, the one that need to be filed when the review was underway, which was then submitted to court and also to the opponent. One of the reasons why the court on that ABSA judgement found that the Public Protector should... it was that the Public Protector ought to have relied on a report of an economist. And Mr Kekana, I don’t know whether he did it deliberately, but when he compiled the Rule 53 record, he produced a note of the meeting that happened between the Public Protector and the President. I think also, somewhere somehow, the information about the report of the economist comes from that. For me, I think that the main thing Mr Kekana was targeted for, is for the completion of that Rule 53 record. Although I don’t deny, Mr Mpofu, what happened to the email and for him disclosing, it is something that I have no knowledge of but I’ve heard about it when people were talking and when you were cross examining him that day.
Adv Mpofu: Oh, you were watching?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, no, I just heard it on some news somewhere.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, let me assist you, Mr Kekana himself admits that he distributed information that belonged to somebody else. So you would agree that conduct, no reasonable employer can leave such conduct unattended to?
Adv Readani: Like, like I’m saying, I really didn’t know what was the content of the email, but I heard the email was not directed to him, it was directed to someone else – it’s just that they happened to have similar names. And for him to have distributed it, is something else, it depends on what the employer will think about it, because the employer would have to determine the level of prejudice that it had suffered as a result of him distributing the email.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, and again as a lawyer, you know that prejudice is described to include potential prejudice. What do you think of somebody working in such a sensitive position - if they are prone to distributing information that is confidential and is not intended for them, do you think that’s a good quality to have, for someone who works for the Public Protector?
Adv Raedani: It depends, it depends on where you are working. When we were at the Public Protector, we were dealing with investigations. That's the main thing we were dealing with and for me, like for example, for an investigator to distribute such information relating to an investigation to external parties, or discuss investigations externally, that should be viewed as something serious because such a person would have signed a confidentiality agreement when you came into the Office, there is that form, I signed one myself when I... . The information that Mr Kekana is accused to have distributed, it doesn’t, it was not supposed to be seen by him, it was supposed to be confidential information, internally, within the institution, because a person who works in finance, there is confidential information that should not go around the organisation, especially if it has something to do with somebody’s salary or the expenditure that is being paid somewhere, it should not go to an investigator.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, I think let’s round it off like this... Would you agree that it is incorrect or untenable for anybody to suggest that an employee was being targeted, as you do, without knowing exactly what they did, or what they admitted to, or what they were found guilty of?
Adv Raedani: It depends, but then the most important thing you must take into account is the nature of the charges that is being preferred against that person, whether those charges are trumped up or something that is of a serious nature. Then you can conclude whether that person was being targeted or not.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, I agree, I agree, but now that you and I have agreed that in this context, what he was charged of was serious, you would agree therefore that it was not trumped up, neither was he being targeted, correct?
Adv Raedani: I really do not want to agree, when I didn’t see the email that he distributed. I was in the union, I was not, the email was not sent to me. I didn’t see it. I heard that peoples' laptops were confiscated and mine was never confiscated after that email was...
Adv Mpofu: Yeah, that’s fine, so since you’ve never seen the email, you can't make up your mind whether it was serious or not serious, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I can’t come to that conclusion, whether Mr Kekana was targeted or not targeted, but what I do know for sure is he was eventually charged and dismissed.
Adv Mpofu: No, that’s fine. Okay, so we agree you don’t know whether he was targeted or not. And Mr Matlawe, do you know whether he was targeted or not, or whether there was a legitimate issue also in his case?
Adv Raedani: I don’t know the charges preferred against Matlawe. What I know is Matlawe was dragged out of the office and told never to set his foot in the office. But, he, Matlawe was very outspoken. Even the person who dragged him out of the office, when he was appointed, Matlawe made a comment in a staff meeting that this person is facing disciplinary hearing from wherever he was coming from. So it is possible that he might’ve been charged, but again, as I do not know or I don’t know about the context of Mr Matlawe’s charges, I'm not in a position to draw a conclusion if he was targeted.
Adv Mpofu: Okay fine, so, that’s another one where you don’t know. Mr Ndou, do you know what he was charged with?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, Mr Ndou was charged with, I heard, with sexual harassment. And it is quite a serious charge, me and you know that sexual harassment is serious, it is something serious; but if I can give you a brief background, the person, the alleged victim of Mr Ndou, that lady was employed as a provincial representative of Mpumalanga, we received...
Adv Mpofu: Whatever you do, don’t mention anybody’s names.
Adv Raedani: Yeah, I won't mention her name. We received numerous complaints against the provincial rep of Mpumalanga, as the union, early back during the term of Prof Madonsela, which we raised with the management about the management style, the hierarchical management style. And also she would just stand in the corridor and ask people to go and sit... there is a whole lot of complaints, which we took on as the union with the management at that particular time. Then there was a period when this provincial rep swopped positions, moved from one province to another and she moved to Gauteng. Again when she moved to Gauteng, we received similar problems. But what we heard, Mr Ndou was initially suspended and he was investigated by an independent panel, the suspension was lifted and Mr Ndou came back to work. What I really don’t know is what influenced the charges against Mr Ndou to be brought back towards the end of 2018, because we thought the issue relating to the charges and the complaint relating to that particular victim were cleared, but from our observation...
Adv Mpofu: But you agree...
Adv Raedani: I wanted to just... from our observation as the union, we thought, maybe the complaints against Mr Ndou were just being brought in order to tarnish... in order to deal with the fact that Mr Ndou was at some point trying to address the complaints that have been raised by staff against that particular person, because Mr Ndou was that particular person's manager. But I don’t really want to comment about the merit of the complaint itself.
Adv Mpofu: No, but that’s what you’ve just done. So, you’re saying she was not... you’re denying her harassment? You're saying it was just...
Adv Raedani: I’m not denying; it might have happened under the circumstances which I don’t know what was happening between her and Mr Ndou. But for me, I'm not denying. I'm saying when it might… it is also possible that when Mr Ndou was addressing complaints against her, she decided to see it as the best time to complain against him.
Adv Mpofu: So, it’s not... what are you trying to say? So it’s not possible that he could have been investigating against her but at the same time he harassed her sexually? Why are those two things mutually exclusive?
Adv Raedani: What I’m saying, it is possible that the incident that she referred to of sexual harassment happened and she did not report it at the particular time when it happened; she only reported it when Mr Ndou was investigating complaints against her, from staff members in Mpumalanga and staff members in Johannesburg.
Adv Mpofu: Ahhh I see, so there is a time limit to reporting sexual harassment against yourself?
Adv Raedani: There’s no time limit, but what I wanted to say is we must also look into the reasons for one reporting a certain act after some time. I'm just explaining to the Committee, the complaint against Mr Ndou might be something that is brought as a result of vengeance or something.
Adv Mpofu: I see, so we’re blaming the victim. So it’s like saying she was wearing a short skirt, something like that?
Adv Raedani: No, I’m not blaming her. I would not be a real man if I blamed the victim, but I’m just questioning the timing.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, so vengeance is not blaming?
Adv Raedani: No, I’m just questioning the timing of her reporting the complaint. The fact that the complaint was dealt with by an independent body, and the timing of the complaint being reinstated or the charges being reinstated against Mr Ndou towards his exit.
Adv Mpofu: No, that’s fine. That's fine Mr, I think we get the picture now, where you come from, with this testimony of yours. Alright, you said that the other reason why you were targeted, is because you worked with former Public Protector Madonsela, where does that come from?
Adv Raedani: Again, let me go back to our discussion when we started this cross examination, that I don’t want to put it on record that I was targeted; but one of the reasons people were talking about the people who worked with the previous Public Protector closely were not favoured under the new regime. These are things that we heard on the corridors, but I really don’t want to put that as direct evidence to say that no I was targeted because I did…what I was just seeing that one of the things that I thought... Let me, this is how I should have put it, I should have said, I thought I might be a target, because I was involved in the union and also I used to work closely with Adv Madonsela when she was still at the Office. Like I said previously, what was happening to my colleagues, who were leaders in the union, it might have happened to me as well, I don’t know. I don’t know about that, but it didn’t happen, I left before that happened.
Adv Mpofu: I see, okay, so, what you really mean by that, given the facts that we’ve discussed is that, if you had leaked sensitive information, you might have been charged? Because that’s what happened to Mr Kekana. So what’s wrong with that?
Adv Raedani: No, there’s nothing wrong. If I have, you know, if I had done something that was warranted for me to be charged, then I was obviously going to be charged, because I was not prone from being charged, like any other employee in the organisation. So obviously if I had done something prior to 2019, or when I answered that letter, I didn’t advance certain reasons which might be acceptable, maybe I would have been charged, I don't know.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, but exactly, that’s where I was going next, because, before we leave this whole conspiracy theories, so your evidence is that you were given an audi letter and you gave an explanation of whatever you were being accused of, and then it was fine, nobody charged you after that, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, nobody charged me after that, and I don’t know where the letter was coming from, who was the initiator. Whether it was the PP, or it was somebody who was my immediate manager who thought he must write it to me and said he was instructed above that he must write the same letter, I don’t know, I couldn’t tell.
Adv Mpofu: Mr Raedani you love conspiracy theories. So, okay, let’s say it was the PP and then it went through some channels and all that, yeah, but you were not charged?
Adv Raedani: No, I was not charged.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, would that then be the actions of a PP that was targeting you? Let’s say she targeted you in this conspiracy theory that you are defining, and then you gave the explanation, if she was targeting you, she would have charged you anyway, isn’t it? Even if you gave a good explanation.
Adv Raedani: That’s why I’m saying I don’t want my evidence to be recorded as if I was being targeted. But what I have seen...
Adv Mpofu: Well, the problem with that... carry on, sorry Mr Nditsheni.
Adv Raedani: What I’m saying...
Adv Mpofu: Sorry, sorry, can we just do it like this. Please give me answers to – I don’t want to stifle you, but it’s going to take too long if you give long answers. So maybe I’ll try to lead you. Your evidence is that you’re not being targeted?
Adv Raedani: My evidence, as it appears I might have thought under the circumstances that I was targeted, because I was a member of the union, I had a close relationship with Professor Madonsela. And there was a saying, that whoever was close to Prof Madonsela, is not favoured under the new administration. But my answer is quickly simple, I don’t have direct evidence that I was either targeted by the PP or any other person. I might have thought so before I resigned, but I don’t have direct evidence.
Adv Mpofu: Alright, at the very least can we accept that this might have just been the product of your imagination?
Adv Raedani: I don’t know what to call it, Mr Mpofu, anything that...
Adv Mpofu: That’s why I’m giving you a leading question. I know what to call it, it’s conspiracy theories and fertile imagination, but I'd like you to tell me what you call it.
Adv Raedani: Like you said at the beginning of this. For me, I’ll say my convictions influenced by maybe secondary information that I’ve heard from other sources, which is not direct evidence that I’ve heard.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, so the Committee must then not place much score on that particular aspect, correct?
Adv Raedani: I think that will be the view that the Committee will take itself, considering the evidence that I have given.
Adv Mpofu: Yeah, if you were a member of the Committee, would you agree that it should not be taken seriously?
Adv Raedani: I don’t know, I’m not a member of the Committee.
Adv Mpofu: No, I know, but I’m saying just for a minute assume you were. You are a lawyer, you could have been a member of some panel that is dealing with this, would you take yourself seriously? Would you take that evidence, that you were being a target seriously?
Adv Raedani: I’m not a member of the Committee, and I’ve not been called upon to determine whether certain evidence that has been given I should consider it. If yes, I was sitting in a, let’s say I was a chairperson of a disciplinary hearing or I was an acting magistrate or something, I would have obviously placed a... I would have my views on the evidence that is being presented before me.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, let me assist you again. Your views would be that the evidence is highly unreliable, am I right?
Adv Raedani: I really don’t want to agree with you on that one. I might be persuaded otherwise, whilst you are not persuaded otherwise as well.
Adv Mpofu: No that’s fine Adv Raedani. Alright, and then, I think the same applies to your alleged professional disagreements with the PP. Just to round off that topic, we should take it with the same pinch of salt, correct?
Adv Raedani: Disagreement professionally, Mr Mpofu, when we are lawyers, especially when we are called upon to make contributions, especially in the nature or the conditions that we were under at the Public Protector, professional disagreement is something else. I think it should have been phrased to say that we might have had different views, which is not the same view that the PP might have shared at that particular time. For example, when you look at a particular investigation, I might have my own view as a lawyer, and also, depending on the experience that I had at that particular time in the Office of the Public Protector, and based on my experience, my knowledge and my understanding of the matter, that view might not necessarily be the same as that of the Public Protector, and it might not be the same as that of another investigator, or I can share a view with other investigators which the Public Protector does not agree with. As a legally qualified person she is entitled to that and it doesn’t make my view less than that of the Public Protector's. So, if we differed in opinion, we differ...
Adv Mpofu: No, I agree, I also have professional disagreements with my juniors and colleagues here. You’re right that happens, that’s the whole point of having more than one mind in a team, isn't it?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, in fact, that’s why we had the Think Tank and we had committees where we sit and deliberate on reports.
Adv Mpofu: So you wouldn’t rank that as another reason why you were being targeted, the so-called professional disagreements, because that happens all the time, correct?
Adv Raedani: No, I don’t think a person can be targeted because you differ with their views, especially in terms of the work that you are all employed to do. I don’t think that I can say that. But people can differ in any environment when it comes to the work that we do as lawyers. That’s why when parties don’t agree they go to court, they take their disagreements to court.
Adv Mpofu: Yeah, let’s not go down that road. The evidence of Mr Tebele, was that even he would have difference of opinion with the PP, but she was welcoming to that. I think that was even the evidence of Adv Tshiwalule, that she was not taking those personally. So it looks like you agree, because disagreements are always happening in the workplace at that level, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, no, we have had several engagements with the PP, whether we are sitting in a meeting or whatever, I’ve expressed my view in certain investigations that... and sometimes she has listened to me, sometimes she has disregarded those comments and has accepted other people's views. Ultimately, like I said, she’s the one who will take the final decision on the matter.
Adv Mpofu: And you accept that?
Adv Raedani: That’s the nature of the Office itself, because she...
Adv Mpofu: No, that’s fine, you see the problem, Adv Raedani, is that you have given... that’s why I started like this. You have given certain impressions which are either false, or which you are ready to disown as soon as we discuss them. So you disowned the Gupta Leaks story, you disowned the issue about the union and the targeting – that you’re not being targeted. You’ve now disowned the issue about your relationship with Prof or Adv Madonsela. Now you are saying that professional disagreements are power for the cause, which is true. But go to paragraph 15 of your affidavit, anybody reading that would think that you are talking to... they’ll be asking where’s the real Adv Raedani, because there you say: “The evidence leaders asked me as to why I would be a target” which you obviously had claimed to be. And “In my view I was a target because of my involvement in the activities of the PSA...” which you’ve already disowned now. “...my professional disagreements with the PP” which you’ve already disowned now. “and my known good working relationship with the former Public Protector, Prof Madonsela.” which you’ve also disowned. So what must we believe is the issue, is the real issue?
Adv Raedani: You are saying I disowned, I never disowned this...
Adv Mpofu: Okay, you are re-owning...
Adv Raedani: What I’m saying, what I’m saying, I’m saying I might have been a target because I was involved in the PSA, in the union, which union was known to make noise in the organisation about certain issues and to disagree with management, when it comes to some issues that the members of the union would complain about in the organisation. Then again, I did not disown that. I said, by the mere fact that you are in the union and what I’ve seen was happening to my colleagues in the union... so, and for the fact that an investigation was taken from me, which I was doing and it was taken from Matlawe, that’s what I said. Maybe I thought we were targeted because we were part of the union leaders. I never said I disowned. What I am saying is that, irregardless of some of the things that I’ve had, especially when you talk about... when you talk about the things that maybe the PP sought...
Adv Mpofu: Professional disagreements for example...
Adv Raedani: Yeah, maybe the PP viewed me as somebody who was closer to Prof Madonsela. I have never heard the PP saying that from her mouth; what I am saying is that there were people that were close to the PP, who will go and attend meetings with the PP and come and tell us those things. But who am I to question the credibility of those people who are not even witnesses. So I’m really finding it difficult for me to come here to the Committee and say no, Adv Mkhwebane did not like me, because of this... because I've never heard her saying that, and I cannot rely on information that I’ve heard from people, because its hearsay on its own.
Adv Mpofu: Alright Sir, thank you. Are you sticking to the idea that you were targeted because you had professional disagreements with the Public Protector, or are you disowning it?
Adv Raedani: I’m not disowning it; I’m saying the manner in which I’ve expressed...
Adv Mpofu: Okay, so are you justifying it then?
Adv Raedani: I’ve expressed it in my affidavit, it should be taken in that context, because I...
Adv Mpofu: Okay finish...
Adv Raedani: No, it’s fine, I’m done, you can ask your question.
Adv Mpofu: I’m saying, okay, sorry Sir, I didn’t mean to interrupt you...you know, Adv Raedani, it is important for you to give truthful evidence, so that we know where to place your evidence. I’ve just had a discussion with you, before I showed this to you, at paragraph 15, you and I agreed that the issue of professional disagreements was a non-issue because it happens in every workplace. It could never... you even said, you could never use that as a ground for being targeted. Now I show to you paragraph 15, after you’ve disowned it, now you are re-owning it. Which is which? Is it an issue of professional disagreement, is it natural in a workplace and therefore a non-issue which can never be a reason for targeting, or is it?
Adv Raedani: It depends...
Adv Mpofu: Because both statements... sorry, sorry, sorry let me just finish, the problem with that, as you know, is that both the statements you made, that professional disagreements are a reason for being targeted, and the one you made that professional disagreements cannot be a reason for being targeted, both of those are made under oath, because you made an oath when you were making the affidavit and you’ve also made an oath this morning here. So which one is the truth?
Adv Raedani: The truth is what is written in my affidavit, and which I’m going to repeat.
Adv Mpofu: And what you just said earlier...
Adv Raedani: Let me repeat it, I never disowned the statement. I am agreeing with what you are saying because, because what I am saying is, one, professional disagreement happens everywhere and then if I were to qualify that, it depends on who the person you are disagreeing with, how that person is going to take it. For example, if I advised someone that this report is going to be reviewed and it gets reviewed, and that person takes it personally, that’s something else. But if that person doesn’t take whatever I said personally, that’s when professional disagreement becomes a non-issue. Those were reasons that I viewed I might have fell out of favour of Adv Mkhwebane.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, thank you Sir, that’s very helpful. Okay, now let’s go to the issue of the Vrede report, because I think that’s probably where you were supposed to be assisting us here. Is it your evidence that the findings of financial misconduct were removed from the report? I heard you saying that you agreed to that when it was put to you by Adv Bawa.
Adv Raedani: Yes, I agreed to it when I saw the two versions of the report.
Adv Mpofu: No, it was long before that, it was before lunch actually.
Adv Raedani: Before lunch?
Adv Mpofu: Yeah.
Adv Raedani: Okay, no, you can proceed with your question.
Adv Mpofu: No, I want to know once again, is that still your evidence, or are you changing?
Adv Raedani: Can you repeat the question?
Adv Mpofu: Is it still your evidence that the allegations or findings of financial misconduct were removed by the Public Protector?
Adv Raedani: I’m just checking my document...
Adv Mpofu: No, don’t check anything. You were asked a question and you said “yes” to Adv Bawa. You didn’t ask to check any documents. Is your answer still the same?
Adv Raedani: It’s still the same.
Adv Mpofu: Still the same? Okay. Alright, you might want to check your documents now. Alright, do you know that the Public Protector... or rather let me put it this way, did you see the Accountant General’s investigation?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I saw it, but I didn’t read it. I read it 5 years back when we were working on the report.
Adv Mpofu: Okay. Do you agree that the Accountant General made findings of financial misconduct?
Adv Raedani: Financial mis.... in as far as I... because I haven't seen that report recently, but they did make findings of financial misconduct.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, okay, and the Public Protector agreed with that, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, she agreed with that. I think she accepted that. That was my evidence, that she accepted the report of the Accountant General.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, in fact, the word she used was that she was in “concurrence” with those findings of financial misconduct, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Mpofu: At 18.104.22.168, which is at 1269, she also said that the payments to Estina were also not in line with Treasury prescripts. You know what those are, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, the payments made as contribution by the Department of Agriculture to Estina.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, if payments are not in line with Treasury prescripts, do you know that they amount to financial misconduct? I am sure you would agree with that.
Adv Raedani: It depends on what context, because if payments were made to Estina and you want to call it a financial misconduct, you can always call it financial misconduct if you want, depending on how you’re going to...
Adv Mpofu: Yeah, I want to. Alright, okay, then if you go to 22.214.171.124, it says there that “despite the Accountant General’s report...” which you say you’ve read 5 years ago, “the Department failed to comply with section 81 and 86 of the PFMA, which prescribed the process to be followed when there is allegation of financial misconduct.” Now it’s clear that she was agreeing with the findings of financial misconduct, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, she was referring to financial misconduct.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, she was concurring with those findings, correct?
Adv Raedani: It depends on how you would interpret it, on whether she was. But I think my evidence earlier on, if I can just be clear, it appeared that there was a specific finding, which says that whatever the Head of Department did amounts to financial misconduct, and that part that says “financial misconduct” was then taken out. I don’t disagree with the manner in which you are interpreting financial misconduct under the circumstances.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, but then...
Adv Raedani: But that particular finding from the earlier...
Adv Mpofu: Okay, no, carry on.
Adv Raedani: See I was saying...
Adv Mpofu: Okay, now we’re mixed up. Okay... I’m saying Mr Raedani, one cannot agree with both you and I. It’s either you agree with me, or you disagree with me, because your version is that she took out “financial misconduct”, my version is that she didn’t. You can only agree with one of us, which one? Do you agree with me?
Adv Raedani: I don’t expect us to agree, especially when it comes to interpretation of what is written down in plain language, because...
Adv Mpofu: So when you said you agree with me...
Adv Raedani: I agree to the fact that... I’m saying, I’m saying I agree to the evidence, to the information that the particular finding which says “financial misconduct”, which says the act of the HoD constitutes a financial misconduct, or the act of the department, was removed from the earlier version of the report – as it was in the earlier version of the report. It was then removed and it was not there in the final version of the report. What you are suggesting to me, is that the Public Protector does not do away with the issue relating to financial misconduct. She does refer to financial misconduct in some of her findings, like for example, the finding regarding her concurring with the report of the Accountant General, and the finding that you just referred me to now on the final report, of which I don’t disagree with you. But I can’t agree with you – what I was testifying on is about a particular finding which was removed from the report.
Adv Mpofu: Alright, so Adv Nditsheni, you say you don’t agree with me but you agree with me. I don’t know what you’re saying.
Adv Raedani: No, I don’t agree with the fact that you are saying I’m wrong when I say Adv Mkhwebane removed 'financial misconduct' from the report. What I was saying, I’m saying, there was a particular finding which says the act of the particular official or the department amounts to financial misconduct, I am saying that part was removed. You are bringing in a fashion, that says no, the Public Protector does not do away with that finding of financial mismanagement, she actually concurred with the report of the Accountant General, which found that that amounts to that. And also in one of her findings she does deal with that, that is your version. I cannot dispute it, because what you’re saying is correct. What I’m saying on the other hand is about the removal of the actual paragraph.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, I think I understand. What I’m saying is correct but you disagree with me, that’s your final answer?
Adv Raedani: I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, I disagree with you saying that I’m saying. I’m sticking with the version of my evidence. My evidence was that she removed that paragraph. You are saying no, she didn’t remove it, she dealt with the same aspect of financial mismanagement under different paragraphs. And it seems that you’re pointing me to something that maybe I’ve never thought about.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, no, that’s fine. Okay, now that you’ve thought about it, would you agree that your answer to Adv Bawa was incorrect?
Adv Raedani: I wouldn’t say it was incorrect, it might have been correct under the circumstances that I was answering, which was in relation to the removal of particular paragraphs. But in the context of what you are saying, it might be viewed to be incorrect.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, that’s fine, I think I can live with that. Alright, do you know sections 81 and 86 of the PFMA, it’s not a trick question. Those are the sections that deal with criminal conduct for breaches of PFMA, are you familiar with that?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, but I cannot tell you what is the context of the particular sections.
Adv Mpofu: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying, I don’t expect you to know it off by heart. I'm just saying that’s the part of the PFMA that deals with criminal liability, if you know the structure of the PFMA, generally. If you don’t know, you don’t know, but I'm telling you that’s what it is. If I’m correct, do you understand that the level of misconduct... Oh, Adv Raedani? How are you? Are you still fine?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I’m fine...
Adv Mpofu: Apparently, we are just talking to each other, everyone has just been switched off. So, unfortunately, we’ll have to do this again, because apparently, it's just you and me, let’s just wait until we reconnect with everyone.
Adv Raedani: Okay, SC, apparently, we are going to be back at 15h40.
Adv Mpofu: Oh I see, so there’s a break?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, there’s a break until 15h40.
Adv Mpofu: Sure, okay, let’s come back at 15:40.
Chairperson: The cross examination, please proceed from where you left off with Mr Raedani... Before you proceed, I see the hand of Adv Bawa.
Adv Bawa: Chair if it may be of assistance, Mr Mpofu was asking the question on the issue of financial misconduct, in the version of the final report, as to the evidence given before the lunch adjournment. And whilst we come in on that, I just wanted to – on a point of correction – say that the reference of financial misconduct that I referred to before the lunch adjournment referred to (ee) on page 1219 of the final report, with reference to 3069, annexed to Adv Raedani’s affidavit.
Chairperson: Okay, thank you for that, over to you Adv Mpofu.
Adv Mpofu: Thank you Chair. Adv Raedani, can you assist us, where it’s possible, just give short answers and then we move faster, okay?
Adv Raedani: Okay.
Adv Mpofu: I'll try to give you leading questions so that it makes it easier for you. We were still on this issue, and I was getting even more confused before technology intervened. Whether it was before lunch or whatever, you accepted, you said that the Public Protector removed the findings on financial misconduct, correct? You said that to the evidence leaders.
Adv Raedani: Yes, I said that and I was making reference to the executive summary of the final report, which is paragraph (ee) on I think it’s 1218.
Adv Mpofu: Yeah, that’s fine. You were agreeing with me, before we were interrupted, that in actual fact the Public Protector concurred with the findings of financial misconduct that were found by the Accountant General, correct?
Adv Raedani: It’s no, you put a version that the Public Protector did not deviate from the issue relating to financial misconduct, because the financial misconduct was referred to in the Accountant General report and she also referred to that in some of her findings in the final report. What I actually agreed to when I agreed to Adv Bawa’s question, was paragraph (ee) of the report which says "The Accounting Officer of the Department proceeded after the recommendation of the Accountant General...” which in that paragraph when it ends, also refers to it as financial misconduct, as that amounts to financial misconduct. I’m saying that was removed from the earlier version of the report. It is not reflected as it is in the final report.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, but you agree that findings of financial misconduct are contained in the Public Protector's report?
Adv Raedani: I’ll accept your version that the Public Protector continued to refer to financial misconduct.
Adv Mpofu: No, it’s not a version. Do you accept what I read from the report? Not my version.
Adv Raedani: Yes, I accept what you read from the report.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, thank you, alright. Therefore any impression that the Public Protector did not make findings of financial misconduct, as I was trying to demonstrate to you, it even refers to the PFMA, which the criminal conduct section of the PFMA, that’s even more serious than normal financial misconduct, do you agree?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I would say now, the impression that the Public Protector made reference to financial misconduct is clear in those two findings in the final report, but I don’t think the intention of Adv Bawa when she led the evidence – she was, she wanted to, I don’t know what she wanted to...
Adv Mpofu: Don't worry about the intention of Adv Bawa, let us stick to the facts, please.
Adv Raedani: Okay...it’s fine, you can proceed.
Adv Mpofu: So, whatever the intentions or non-intentions, we are at least, let’s move on now... we agreed that the financial misconduct findings were made and they were serious, of a more serious nature as a fact in the PFMA, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, depending. I agree, because in her findings she makes reference to the financial misconduct.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, thank you. Alright, now, as far as another correction or unqualified statement that you make, which could be misleading as well. I just want to recap on the thing that I started with here. Can you go to paragraph 73. You said: “On 6 March 2018 the Portfolio Committee: Justice and Correctional Services raised concerns about the report and requested the PP to consider the role of politicians in the Vrede Dairy Project. Shortly thereafter the PP instructed me” was that a slip of the tongue? Or did the Public Protector instruct Mr Ndou or someone else?
Adv Raedani: It was not, I was told. What happens naturally…the Public Protector can write in a specific document to say Mr Raedani do this and this, or sometimes she passes the message through the relevant managers when they are reporting. I remember in that instance there was an instruction directly from the Public Protector that I should reinvestigate the matter. Hence I will qualify the fact that the Public Protector at that time, in her head, the last person that she worked on, on the Vrede investigation was me.
Adv Mpofu: If she says she did not instruct you directly, will she be wrong?
Adv Raedani: I don’t know, Adv Mpofu, because I wouldn't recall how the instruction came, but obviously if it didn’t come from her, it came through Mr Ndou.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, but again, you would agree that anyone reading this would be forgiven for thinking that she instructed you directly. And you were sure about that, it’s not one of those where you say “to the best of my recollection”, you realise that?
Adv Mpofu: Yes, and again, I will say it depends on the context. Somebody reading this alone can simply think that that was the literal instruction being given to me when I sat with the Public Protector and there was no other person. But if somebody is reading in the context of an office where there is hierarchical management, then obviously my explanation can qualify that statement.
Adv Mpofu: Adv Raedani, I think, honestly, I don’t know... I don't know. Alright, now talking about hierarchy, you accept that you basically reported to Mr Ndou?
Adv Raedani: Mothupi.
Adv Mpofu: Mothupi, yes, and Mr Mothupi reported to Mr Ndou?
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Mpofu: And Mr Ndou reported to the Public Protector?
Adv Raedani: Mr Ndou reported to the CEO.
Adv Mpofu: And the CEO reported to the Public Protector?
Adv Raedani: The Public Protector, and then you had the deputy, so it was a long... a whole lot of hierarchy. But what eventually happens is with regard to investigation, you will find that Mr Ndou reported directly to the PP, and sometimes, depending on who is working on the matter, I might report to Mr Ndou and then the PP, or sometimes what happens is it’s you and the PP alone, and there’s no manager involved.
Adv Mpofu: No, I’m not talking about meetings, Mr Raedani, I’m talking about reporting lines.
Adv Raedani: Yeah, in terms of reporting lines.
Adv Mpofu: In your reporting line, you are five steps removed from the Public Protector.
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Mpofu: Thank you. Mr Ndou was basically given a freehand to put up a team. You were not appointed by the PP yourself, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I was not appointed by the PP myself, if I can recall and based on Mr Ndou’s email.
Adv Mpofu: Alright, and you say that apart from corridor talk, you can’t confirm this notion about purging, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, when it comes to me, I cannot confirm the notion about the PP purging me.
Adv Mpofu: Or anyone else...
Adv Raedani: Anyone else, there is that corridor talk that you are referring to and then eventually there are charges as you mentioned before, and others.
Adv Mpofu: Yeah, okay. I think your evidence is seriously problematic but let’s move on. I’m worried about you. Now let’s go back to the Vrede report, because I think that’s the main issue about your evidence. You agree that the findings about disciplinary steps to be taken by the Premier were retained?
Adv Raedani: Yes, in the final report.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, the only issue there was that the Public Protector said that the Premier must institute disciplinary action against all implicated officials. You understood that when you guys were drafting the report, you understood that to include the HoD, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, it does include the HoD.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, and in fact, to your knowledge the HoD was indeed suspended as a result of the Public Protector’s report, correct?
Adv Raedani: I don’t know, but I heard on the news that he’s now facing criminal action.
Adv Mpofu: Yeah, even worse. Okay, do you know the purpose of a section 7(9) letter or notice?
Adv Raedani: Section 7(9) letter comes from... that particular section 7(9), immediately when the Public Protector comes across information which might directly or indirectly implicate someone, the Public Protector must notify that person, in terms of section 7(9). So that was because of us then reverting to section 7(9) letters.
Adv Mpofu: You accept that the section 7(9) is like the audi letter that was sent to you, it's done in terms of the audi alteram partem rule, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, it’s in terms of the rules of evidence, so I hope that the intention of the legislature was to achieve that when they enacted that provision in the legislation.
Adv Mpofu: Yeah, it’s not evidence rules, it’s the rules of natural justice, but that’s fine. The point I really wanted to make is that a recipient of the 7(9) notice, is then being given a chance to clear their name or to explain the conduct in respect of which they’re being implicated, correct?
Adv Raedani: That’s correct.
Adv Mpofu: So if the person gives you an adequate explanation, just like you did when you got your audi letter, then nothing else should happen to them, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, to come to the section 7(9), if somebody gives adequate explanation to a particular intended finding, then we normally remove that from the report, if we feel that finding is no longer substantiated.
Adv Mpofu: All right, yes, and that’s why I’m making the example, it’s the same audi letter just like the one you received. You received an audi letter, you gave an explanation and you were removed from the suspicion of whatever you have been accused of. Correct?
Adv Raedani: That’s correct.
Adv Mpofu: The reason why I’m asking you that question is because it is very important to what we are discussing, because the Public Protector will say that – or let me start by saying, did you ever read, I know you came late into the Vrede investigation, did you read the historical documents that had developed up to that stage?
Adv Raedani: I read everything, and as a quality assurance person, what I should have done under my responsibility was to look at the 7(9) and then I should also consider the answers to the 7(9) letter, and see if what is now left in the report has not... if something has been addressed by the answer to the 7(9) and is still in the report, that should have been removed. It was part of my duty to ensure that something addressed in response to 7(9), I should have removed it, if it remains in the report, I should address it and remove it.
Adv Mpofu: No, perfect, I think, yeah, then we agree. How many 7(9) letters did you look at or how many had been sent by the stage that you joined that investigation? And to whom?
Adv Raedani: Initially, there should be two, one to the HoD and one to the MEC, but I remember, the one that that I can remember, it’s the one from the Premier, I had a look at that one and I also looked into his responses, and I looked into the findings.
Adv Mpofu: You said the one was to the HoD...
Adv Raedani: And one should have gone to the Premier and the other one to the then MEC, who was Mr Zwane.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, and you read all those three?
Adv Raedani: Yes, the one that I can still remember, I can even see it if I close my eyes, it’s the one from the Premier.
Adv Mpofu: The others you can’t see if you close your eyes?
Adv Raedani: No, I can’t, I remember the two, but the one from the Premier was too detailed and addressing specific issues, paragraphs and all those things of that 7(9) letter.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, that’s correct. It was actually, if I remember well, more than 10 pages, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, it was quite a substantive letter.
Adv Mpofu: Substantive, yes. Now, and that’s the central issue which I raised also with Mr Samuel, is that what happened is that it is no use to come to the Committee like this and say this was removed. This was not removed, things get removed either because there was no investigation around that particular issue or there was an explanation that was given in the course of the investigation, including the section 7(9) notice. You would agree with that as a general statement, correct?
Adv Raedani: That’s correct, and also some internal contributions and comments from colleagues can cause certain issues to be removed from the report.
Adv Mpofu: I see, yes, in other words also the internal debate among the team, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. And, all this... I don’t have to take you blow by blow, but you’d agree, that’s all that happened here? To draft something or to edit something includes removing things, if you are an editor, or if I am settling your draft, it might entail removing some of your paragraphs. That's the nature of the business, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s correct.
Adv Mpofu: Now, the issue that I want to put to you, so that we save a whole lot of time, the version of the Public Protector is going to be... that is all that happened here. There was a series of information that was added or removed, only as a result of the things that you have mentioned: (a) internal debate, (b) the responses received from the section 7(9) notices, but also, in this particular case of Vrede, because other agencies were either investigating a particular issue and you know there’s always... you have to make sure that you don’t get into somebody else’s space. As a broad framework of how the process unfolded, would you agree with that?
Adv Raedani: To be honest to you and the Committee, the Public Protector is entitled to converse that version.
Adv Mpofu: No, that goes without saying, Mr Raedani, the issue...
Adv Raedani: It’s within her legal avenue to converse that version.
Adv Mpofu: Remember you are here as a witness, because you were there. Neither the members of the Committee nor myself were there, so it’s unhelpful to say that someone is entitled to something, we are more interested in your comment. Either you don’t know, or you agree or you disagree.
Adv Raedani: My comment is simple, what you are saying and I agreed with everything that you have put before me, that what led to the changes being effected in a document that is being settled are those circumstances that you mentioned, especially when it comes to the reports of the Public Protector. It starts from the 7(9), and then internal debates and all these other issues. So what I’m basically saying, if the Public Protector wants to put that version through, it’s legally correct for her to put that version.
Adv Mpofu: No, I think you don’t understand. Yes, it is legally correct for her to put that version. The question is – you’ve already answered the question – is that you agree that what’s more important for you as a witness, not her legal entitlements. You agree, correct?
Adv Raedani: No, I agree.
Adv Mpofu: No, you agree?
Adv Raedani: Yes, what led to the changes is what you highlighted.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, thank you, and in this particular case the changes as you have explained were effected mostly before the matter even came to the Public Protector’s desk; in other words, between yourself, Mr Ndou, Mr Kekana, Mr Sithole and Mr Nemasisi, sometimes, correct?
Adv Raedani: But ultimately the changes which have implications were changed after we have met the Public Protector on the morning of 8 March.
Adv Mpofu: You mean February?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, February, sorry.
Adv Mpofu: February, yes, that’s fine, yeah no, we’ll get there believe me. I’m saying that before 8 February, the changes that were made to the various documents – and I can’t even keep up how many there were – were made as between yourselves in the team and sometimes with the assistance of Mr Nemasisi, correct?
Adv Raedani: There might have been various changes from the person who initially drafted the report to the supervisor. In fact, let’s say it’s correct that there were a number of changes that the Public Protector had nothing to do with, before the report was sent to her.
Adv Mpofu: On 8 February, yes.
Adv Raedani: I think it’s before 8 February, obviously, because that’s when she called the meeting of 8 February in the morning.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, I accept that Mr Raedani, it was not just on the 8th, even the day before or whatever, there was some exchanges, but at least you’ve assisted me here. Now, you accept that those changes made without her involvement cannot be put on her plate? In other words, they would have been introduced by those people who introduced them or as a part of the debate that did not involve her, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, as long as she has nothing to do with the changes.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, that’s the one part, thank you about that. The second part that I want you and I to agree on, is the fact that you explained that the changes being made were made by people who were in different rooms or even on different floors of the building, correct?
Adv Raedani: That’s correct.
Adv Mpofu: You would not be privy, for example, to discussions that might take place between Mr Nemasisi and the Public Protector about a particular issue, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, it depends on whether I was present when there was discussion. If I was not present, I would not be privy to that.
Adv Mpofu: No, Mr Nditsheni, I’m not saying to you, that’s why you must listen carefully. I’m saying, on those occasions where you have testified that the changes were being made by the members of your team when they were sitting at different parts of the building, you would not know what discussions were taking place between Mr Nemasisi and the Public Protector, for example, which might influence him to change a particular clause. That goes without saying, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I wouldn’t know unless I was sitting with them.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, alright. So, if you say, for example, there’s a part where you say Mr Nemasisi reinserted a finding after there had been a debate with the Public Protector, it’s possible that they had discussed it bilaterally and then agreed to reinsert it, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, it’s possible.
Adv Mpofu: Thank you, and the Public Protector... and don’t tell me she’s entitled to do it, because we know that. We'll say that some of the changes came in that fashion, where there would have been a debate in group form as you correctly point out; but there would also be discussions with individual members of the team. That's obviously something that naturally happens in these processes, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, that can happen.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, alright. You’ve also confirmed that one of the innovations that was brought by the current Public Protector was to have this dedicated legal office, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, it was in the pipeline but she’s the one who implemented the innovation.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, like many things. Okay, and one of the reasons for that office, I think it was in your testimony, was to make sure that after all the processes of the investigation, quality assurance and so on, the report is then filtered to ensure that it doesn’t contain reviewable irregularities, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, that’s correct.
Adv Mpofu: And that would have been a very positive development that she introduced as Public Protector, that no other Public Protector had introduced, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, if you want to say you see it as a positive thing, I can take it as a positive thing as well, because we were getting somebody who was not involved in the investigation to comment, just looking at the legal part of it.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, thank you. So you agree then that it was a positive innovation on her part?
Adv Raedani: So if it’s a positive innovation, then I will agree that it’s something positive that I've seen. I also seen it as something beneficial for that third party to have a look at our reports.
Adv Mpofu: I see, okay you prefer “beneficial”, okay, I can live with that. And you’ve already agreed that Mr Nemasisi... you, okay, so, if you think about the evolution of this report. Again, I’m going to cut out some of the many stages, so there was the report left behind by Adv Madonsela after the four-year investigation where the investigation was unfinished, you knew about that, correct? You knew that the investigation dated back to 2013?
Adv Raedani: Yes, it’s in the first paragraph of the report.
Adv Mpofu: Right, and after that there was the involvement of Adv Mkhwebane, and then there was at some stage what you call the “Kekana version”, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Mpofu: And then after the “Kekana version” there was then what you called the “Nemasisi version”, that’s another stage of the growth of the report, correct?
Adv Raedani: That’s correct.
Adv Mpofu: Right, and then you as a team worked on it, and it was finally presented to the Public Protector, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Mpofu: Right, so what I’m saying to you is that there then would have been various changes that are made, let’s call it the Madonsela stage or the Madonsela version, leading up to what one may call the “Kekana version”, and then to the “Nemasisi version” and then eventually the Public Protector’s version, which is the final report, correct?
Adv Raedani: No, that’s correct.
Adv Mpofu: Alright, you see if you say “no, that’s correct”, the record will show it as a negative, but that’s fine. I think we know what you mean, that’s how we speak here. Alright, the changes that were introduced... no, you called yourself a quality assurance man, correct?
Adv Raedani: I was robed to do what we call quality assurance. There was an investigator who was specifically appointed to that post, who was Adv Matlawe, I was just called to help.
Adv Mpofu: To help with quality assurance?
Adv Raedani: Yes, and for that particular time I was a member of the task team. Although I would quality assure, by virtue of being at the provincial investigations unit or directorate. We had all provincial staff submit to us and we had to look at them before they were transmitted to the PP.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, now let’s just go to the issue of Mr Maimane’s involvement. You accept that Mr Maimane was part of, let’s call it the pressure that was being put, there was a lot of pressure around this particular report, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, and Mr Maimane being a leader of the DA and the complaint itself emanating from the DA MPL in the Free State.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, and you accept that there was a lot of public pressure for the report to be released?
Adv Raedani: Even the time that it took for the investigation, it was also putting pressure on the Office to release the report.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, because it was now like four or five years since the thing started, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Mpofu: Part of that pressure is what the Public Protector then transmitted to the team, to say let’s prioritise this thing, let’s make sure that it happens on time, and that’s why you sometimes had to work until late, as you correctly pointed out, am I right?
Adv Raedani: Yes, like I said in my previous answer, it seems everybody who was involved in this matter was under pressure, and that will apply to everyone, whether it’s the PP or us as investigators, everyone was under pressure to finalise the investigation.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, and indeed, it was then finalised in February, as you correctly point out.
Adv Raedani: The 8th of February.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, then, you accept that the...when you say the complaint in the report, you are basically referring to the three complaints that came from Mr Jankielsohn rolled into one, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, in any investigation, if I say I’m referring to a complaint it’s what the lay person literally tells the Public Protector.
Adv Mpofu: No, you don’t understand what I’m saying, yeah, in most investigations you’ll have one complaint, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, it might...
Adv Mpofu: In this particular investigation, yeah, in this investigation there were staggered complaints that came on different dates; I think the last one was May 2016. That’s what I mean, when you say the complaint, you meant those complaints rolled into one, because most of them were saying the same thing, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, it’s basically they were not made on one day so we just combined them to make them one complaint, because it was coming from the same person, talking about the same subject.
Adv Mpofu: Thank you, and that again, that accords with the version of the Public Protector, because she was accused of not having looked at this complaint or that one of the three...but her answer was that most of those complaints were addressing the same thing. That’s why the team and her regarded them as one thing, and assessed them as such. You obviously agree with that?
Adv Raedani: Yes, and if you go to the beginning of the report, it will summarise the complaints and then put them as they are.
Adv Mpofu: Because... anyway, that’s fine, so, then there was this report and this point that we just spoke about now, which is that there was then a call by Parliament to investigate specific issues which had not been raised in the previous complaints, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, it appears there was a call by Parliament that the investigation that was carried on, it does not cover all aspects, because it does exclude the role played by politicians in the implementation of the project.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, that’s the point I’m making, in the original complaints there was no specific issue that dealt with politicians, correct? But now, there was a specific...
Adv Raedani: There was no specific issue to say a particular politician did what, but the main complaint was about the project and what happened, and it doesn’t, there’s no reference...I can confirm there was no specific complaint which says Mr so and so did this, the complaint related to the project.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, and in fact what happened is once it was announced that there was now a new focus on politicians, the DA itself weighed in and sent a letter in support of its allegations against politicians, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I don’t recall the letter, but if the letter came in then it should have been there.
Adv Mpofu: No, but it’s referred to in your report or I suppose when the report was issued of the second investigation, were you still at the Public Protector?
Adv Raedani: No, when the report was issued. The first one, the one that is under discussion now which is the Vrede, part one, I was at the Public Protector, but when the second one was issued, I think it was somewhere in 2019 or 2020, I just read the highlights of it somewhere.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, well but you should be aware of this, because it was part of what informed that investigation, which you say you were the investigator of and which you incorrectly said...
Adv Raedani: It was focusing on politicians.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, yes, anyway, let me take you to Bundle H, item 20.
Adv Raedani: Okay, can I ask that it be displayed?
Adv Mpofu: Yes... You see that Mr Raedani?
Adv Raedani: Yes, and with the date I was certainly within the employ of the PPSA.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, correct, that’s what I was trying to show you, you were still there, alright. So I’m reading this to support what I’ve just said, and you don’t have to worry much about the content. I’m coming to the point that this would have been the first time that there were specific allegations against politicians. This is the original complainant and he says “I have noted, as the original complainant in the previous report on your investigations into the Vrede Dairy Project, that you have initiated another investigation into the role of politicians in this project. I hope that you share the view with me that the political architects of this project cannot be allowed to avoid accountability after criminal charges have been instituted against the Department of Agriculture officials and various companies and other individuals.” You’ve already confirmed that. We all know that he was suspended and criminally charged flowing from the reports of the Treasury and your report of 2018, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Mpofu: That’s Mr Thabethe, the HoD, yeah. Then he says “There are at least three main political role players in this project, namely former Free State Premier Mr Ace Magashule and former Agriculture MECs Ms Mamiki Qabathe and Mr Mosebenzi Zwane.” and then he goes on “Mr Magashule has admitted that he and Mr Zwane travelled abroad...” and so on and so on. The only point I want to make, as I say I’m not cross examining you on the contents, is that because this is a new focus, the original complainant himself felt that he should present this perspective of the involvement of the politicians, because he was doing so for the first time, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, that’s correct.
Adv Mpofu: Yeah, and then the second issue, because I don’t want to mislead you, the second issue, which was the issue of the beneficiaries, you will agree with me that that issue we can say was a crossover issue, because it was raised even in the first cluster of complaints, but it was also part of the second investigation, am I correct?
Adv Raedani: The beneficiaries?
Adv Mpofu: Yes, in other words, the beneficiaries' issue was not a new issue like the politicians' issue, because it had actually been raised in the previous complaints, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s correct, but we should bear in mind that in terms of the Public Protector Act, it talks about, even if the complaint specifically does not mention anyone there is that provision for initiative in investigations – that is always there within the framework of the PP Act.
Adv Mpofu: Yeah, I know, that’s wrong what you are saying but we won’t go there. You are conflating two concepts, the first one...
Adv Raedani: I’m admitting to what you’re saying...and especially with the view that when the first complaint came to the Office it didn’t mention anyone, so what I’m saying, we should just bear in mind, that the complaint itself does not limit the investigator to pursue any other avenue, even if not raised in the initial complaint.
Adv Mpofu: No, no, I disagree with the reason you are giving. I’m saying that that is true, I’ve been putting that to many witnesses myself, but the reason for that is not the own initiative section. The reason for that is because the Public Protector has got wide powers, so even if there’s a complaint from someone, she still is not limited by the complaint, because a complaint by its nature takes you to places that you might not have even imagined when you start the investigation. So yes, we are in agreement, I think we only differ as to the motivation of that. So fine, let’s move on.
Adv Raedani: And that is within the spirit of the Mail & Guardian case as decided by the SCA.
Adv Mpofu: Absolutely, thank you. I see you’ve been watching these Committee proceedings here.
Adv Raedani: No, I used to work specifically with the investors, so the Mail & Guardian case is in my head, I’ve done it for over 10 years.
Adv Mpofu: Very good, in that case you can assist the Committee with what is the main thrust of the Mail & Guardian case – which is the difference between an investigation, which is what you and I have just described, as opposed to an adjudicative process. You understand that difference, I’m not going to ask you to explain it, but you understand it?
Adv Raedani: No, I understand. The investigation of ombudsman offices is not adversarial, it’s just inquisitive in nature, that’s the system.
Adv Mpofu: No, okay, it’s not inquisitive, it’s inquisitorial, but that’s fine.
Adv Raedani: Inquisitorial, sorry.
Adv Mpofu: Yeah, no that’s fine, but it was not the aspect that I was exploring. It’s the fact that an investigation as you correctly say is not limited, because it can lead you to all sorts of other issues, unlike an adjudicative process, which you are now involved in as an advocate, which is confined to pleadings and you deal with that issue. If it’s outside of the buildings you can’t deal with it as opposed to investigation which can lead you to all sorts of other investigations within that investigation.
Adv Raedani: That’s correct.
Adv Mpofu: Yeah, agree, yes. The example that I gave to one of the witnesses was the Zondo Commission. You’ll remember that it started as a narrow investigation into the activities of the Guptas, and then it ended up being the Zondo Commission, yeah, which went on for four years. Even in terms of the cost thereof, it was in the Public Protector's report called State of Capture, it was because it was said that that investigation was going to cost R131 million, which she did not have. But it ended up reportedly at about R2 billion because it grew. An investigation by its nature can grow, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, no, it does, and that’s what the Mail & Guardian case tells us, that you shouldn’t stop, you should actually go beyond.
Adv Mpofu: The four corners of the complaint. Alright, no, that’s very good. You also said that, I think at many points in your evidence, when certain things were removed, you did not know why and by whom they were removed, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, if it was removed ... yes, in terms of the issues that were removed earlier to the report being given to us, but for some of the things... if I was involved in removing that, I wouldn't be able to know why that was removed.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, no that’s fine, that’s fine. You’ve also confirmed that Ms Linda Molelekoa was also part of the chasing you up as a team... because of the pressure.
Adv Raedani: Yes, the Office of the Chief of Staff, it should be involved, especially when the Public Protector is involved herself. When the Public Protector wants to convey a message, she will have to do it through the Office of the Chief of Staff. I will agree with that one, that she was also part of the people who were putting pressure.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, now, Mr Sithole was part of your team, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, he was part of the task team.
Adv Mpofu: So most of what you observed would have also been observed by him.
Adv Raedani: Yes, we were all active, but specifically what I’ve observed should have been observed by Mr Kekana, because Mr Sithole was there and was assisting as well, but he was working hand-in-hand with Mr Kekana most of the time.
Adv Mpofu: Both Mr Sithole and you would then be aware of the same issues that were outstanding at the point at which you gave a report in January 2018.
Adv Raedani: All of us were aware, and I think it's something that we discussed and it was common cause that those were outstanding issues.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, and those issues are the recent submissions from the Premier’s Office, the legal opinion about the PPP, evaluating the evidence in respect of the project’s intended beneficiaries, and waiting for further evidence from Mr Maimane.
Adv Raedani: Yes, those were the four things which were highlighted in January 2018.
Adv Mpofu: Then you say, after that, that’s when you were asked by Mr Ndou to work very hard in order to resolve those issues, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, Mr Ndou gave us this thing in December. He gave us the task in December and he then came back earlier, in February, after we had submitted the memo, to say that the PP want to sign the report. So, that’s when we were all under pressure, we had to make sure that the report goes through.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, in other words, to attend to those outstanding issues?
Adv Raedani: Outstanding issues we had to attend to at that particular time, when we raised... I think we would have simultaneously been attending to it as well extending correspondence to various people who we could get assistance from in order to resolve those issues.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, Adv Raedani, I don’t know what’s so difficult about this. I’m saying, your version is that there were these issues and then you were put under tremendous pressure. You had to even work at night. I’m saying that obviously you must have been to attend to the outstanding issues. You may not have attended to all of them, but that was the reason why you had to work overnight, between 5 February and 8 February, correct?
Adv Raedani: But not necessarily for us to attend to the outstanding issues; at some point it was not within our powers to obtain certain information. Some of the things we could maybe have looked at, maybe the Gupta Leaks if you refer to that because the emails were all over. But we couldn’t get the statements from Mr Maimane, unless if we had travelled to the community to then take the statements ourselves, and some other outstanding issues. The legal opinion was... we were wholly dependent on Nemasisi. So part of us working was trying to finalise the matters and also pressurising those people to give us the outstanding information.
Adv Mpofu: No, we are together, Mr Raedani. I’m saying at some stage the report had to be issued, irrespective of the fact that you might have attended to some of those issues but some might not have been attended to. For example, Mr Maimane had failed to deliver on his promise, but you couldn’t wait for that; but on the other issues that you could attend to, you did attend to that, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, some of the issues that we could attend to, we did attend to them.
Adv Mpofu: Right. You’ve spoken about the meeting that was then had with the former Premier of the Free State, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Mpofu: Of which you were present?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I was present.
Adv Mpofu: And various issues were discussed in that meeting, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, in the meeting, the issues discussed were relating to the Vrede Dairy Farm.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, and Mr Magashule explained why provisional findings or the findings against him could not be sustained, correct?
Adv Raedani: I wouldn’t say he explained. But what he did, actually I think he also came with that letter that was as a response to that 7(9).
Adv Mpofu: Okay, that’s true. So he brought with him what you call the very detailed response to the section 7(9) notice, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Mpofu: And in his responses, he would cross-refer to it at times, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Mpofu: Therefore, it should not be surprising that the meeting didn’t last for that long, because it was a follow-up meeting, correct? Already he had given a detailed response, according to you, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, there was a letter about his involvement and that was the first time that maybe he had to explain himself in person, rather than in that letter that he wrote earlier on.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, no, I accept that Mr Raedani. I’m simply saying it was not like your normal meeting where you would go and have an interview with someone for the first time. He had already given a detailed response. He even brought it with him and that obviously contributed to the meeting being relatively shorter than a normal meeting. If you had to start afresh and go through all those issues in his detailed letter, you would have taken longer, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, and because I was not the one chairing the meeting. So probably, I think the Public Protector had that in mind when she was chairing the meeting.
Adv Mpofu: Thank you, no that’s fine, and then you say in your statement that the Public Protector said that she wanted to have a constructive discussion with the SG, that happened while you were still in the meeting?
Adv Raedani: Yes, she mentioned that and she informed us that we are excused. Then we left the meeting, and we left the two of them alone in the boardroom.
Adv Mpofu: And you were doing the recording, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I would presume. There was no way that I’ll go to a meeting without the recorder.
Adv Mpofu: Why are you presuming now? You were doing the recording, correct?
Adv Raedani: I was doing the recording.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, thank you. So after she said that, you stopped recording and you left, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I left with my recorder.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, so if we get the recording of that meeting, there will be a part that says “okay, I now want to have a constructive discussion with the SG”. Correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, if the recorder was not stopped prior to that statement being made.
Adv Mpofu: No, but you’ve just said you’ll stop the recording after the statement was made, so which is which?
Adv Raedani: No, I’m saying it will be clear, if we go back to the recording, when the meeting adjourns that’s when we normally stop the recording. But if somebody is still saying something relevant to the meeting, then that information should be there in that recording.
Adv Mpofu: Adv Raedani, please, assist us. Please, I’m asking you a very simple question, you said that you stopped the recording after the statement was made. It’s either you stick with that or you change it or as you put it, it depends.
Adv Raedani: The fact of the matter is I am not in possession of the recording; the Public Protector’s Office might be in possession of that recording in their devices. But if that recording can be played, those statements can be heard.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, alright, let me assist you, the Public Protector denies having made that statement which you attribute to her in quotes. She accepts that she stayed behind and had what one might call a courtesy meeting with the former Premier, but they were no longer discussing the issues to do with the investigation. You obviously can’t dispute that, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, because I presumed that the fact that she excused us from the meeting, whatever she discussed after was not relevant to the investigation.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, no, your presumption was correct. Except that you want to mislead the Committee to believe that it had something to do with your investigation, correct?
Adv Raedani: No, I disagree with you. I never intended that the meeting between the SG and the PP had anything to do with the investigation. The contents of my evidence is that whatever was related to my investigation was concluded when she excused us from the meeting.
Adv Mpofu: No, that’s completely acceptable. I’m saying that you are giving false evidence now, because the impression you wanted to give initially was that this had something to do with the investigation and should actually have been recorded, but now you’re changing your evidence.
Adv Raedani: But I’m the one who deposed to the affidavit, and I am telling you the correct version of the event. I have never intended to say that the meeting between the Public Protector and the SG was to discuss the investigation. The part of the investigation was completed when she excused us from the meeting.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, that’s the part where I’m saying you’re giving false evidence, because you’re quite right, if it had nothing to do with the investigation, then there would have been no need for it to be recorded, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, there’s no need for that meeting to be recorded.
Adv Mpofu: Therefore if someone is saying that the meeting should have been recorded, they’re giving the impression that it was part of the investigation, correct?
Adv Raedani: I never gave an impression that the meeting should be recorded, between the SG and the PP, because I don’t know what they were discussing in that particular meeting.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, thanks, can you go to paragraph 75 of your affidavit. Can you read it out?
Adv Raedani: “Mr Ndou and I left Mr Magashule and the PP alone. I do not know what they discussed - I was not subsequently informed, even though I was the lead investigator on the case. The meeting should have been recorded, as it was related to an investigation. However, I was not provided with a recording for purposes of compiling the report.” So again I will repeat this, Adv Mpofu, my impression of the meeting, the meeting that was supposed to be recorded, it was the meeting wherein me and Mr Mothupi sat in, which was for the purpose of the investigation, that meeting was recorded. I'm not privy to the discussion between the PP and the SG, and if they had discussion, it was something else, it was not about the investigation in as far as I understand.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, no, I agree with you Adv Raedani, but I’m just saying you’re giving false evidence either now with what you’ve just said, or in your affidavit. So you must choose which one is true and which one is false. They can’t both be correct, it’s either as you’re saying now to the Committee (a) the meeting was concluded and therefore there would've been no need to record the meeting, or (b) it was about something else, which is what is in your statement that the meeting should have been recorded. The two things are irreconcilable, you just have to choose whether it is (a) or (b).
Adv Raedani: When looking at paragraph 75 as it is, I started to say I do not know what the PP and the SG discussed. The only thing which I want to make clear, you see starting from: “The meeting should have been recorded, as it was related to an investigation" – it related to an investigation. With that specifically, that statement shouldn’t have been there, because I don’t know what the two individuals, being the PP and the SG, were discussing. What should go on is that the only part that should have been recorded, is the part that related to the investigation.
Adv Mpofu: And it was?
Adv Raedani: And it was recorded.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, okay, that’s the problem which I have had with your evidence from the beginning. Who drafted this statement, this affidavit?
Adv Raedani: The affidavit was drafted by the Evidence Leaders and I was given an opportunity to have a look at it, before I signed it and deposed it.
Adv Mpofu: And when it was drafted for you and you signed it, you were happy it contained what you said in paragraph 2 it is “true and correct”.
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Mpofu: You would agree, this is probably I don’t know how many times now, where we have found something that’s directly not true or where the impression given is such, that you need to change it or amend it.
Adv Raedani: I really wouldn't want to dwell much on the impression, but I’m just being honest with you giving evidence the way I’m giving. I’m saying it was not important for the meeting between the PP and the SG to be recorded, because the meeting had ended when the PP excused us.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, let me just break it down for you. Therefore you are disowning or recanting or withdrawing that statement that says “the meeting should have been recorded”.
Adv Raedani: That statement, I’m not sure if it relates to the meeting between the PP and the SG, that statement is incorrect; but if it relates to the overall meeting when we called the meeting, it’s correct.
Adv Mpofu: No, it does not relate to that, so let’s forget about it being correct. It relates to the meeting between the... it says in the first sentence, “...Mr Magashule and the PP alone.” do you understand that?
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Adv Mpofu: So, it relates to that part, and yeah, so, are you therefore withdrawing the part that says the meeting should have been recorded?
Adv Raedani: Yes, the meeting between Mr Magashule and the PP has nothing to do with the investigation, unless if they discussed it, I don’t know.
Adv Mpofu: Yeah, no, I know, I’m telling you they did not discuss anything to do with the investigation, that’s how we started, I told you that’s what the Public Protector is going to say. You have no reason to dispute that, correct?
Adv Raedani: No, I have no reason to dispute what they discussed.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, let me explain something to you, Adv Raedani, it’s not so much about recording or not recording, what I’m busy portraying is that your evidence is not worth the paper it is written on, because remember this is a committee that is looking into the conduct of the Public Protector, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, but be that as it may, if I can answer that, the evidence that I gave, it is correct that the PP and the SG had a meeting after the initial investigation meeting. I never intended to mislead anyone. What I’m saying is that I was excused from the meeting, then they had their own meeting. What was discussed there, I was not privy to it and I think that is clear coming out of my evidence. The only thing that you might not… you are looking at this statement as that the meeting should have been recorded. That statement I don’t agree with because not everything should be recorded.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, I’m just saying, Adv Raedani, the problem with that, and you know and I know, that that is the purpose of cross examination. If it was required that the Public Protector should have been unrepresented in these proceedings, if Parliament had its way, but fortunately the Constitutional Court had its way. If that was so, then it might not have been possible to show that this information is untrue. As I say, the point of that is not so much to show that your information is untrue, it is because the Committee would then have been left with the impression that you or whoever drafted the statement were trying to create. That's the important issue advocate, and that impression...
[Interjection by Adv Raedani]
Adv Mpofu: No, no, please hear me out, if somebody is reading this statement of yours, it is clearly intended to portray the Public Protector in a particular light. And it’s the same light that a certain Mr Samuel, who was also, at least a self-confessed liar in his case – who was saying that there were some funny business discussed privately between...
Chairperson: Just a pause Adv Mpofu, Hon Sukers?
Ms M Sukers (ACDP): Yeah, Chair, I object to the characterisation of Mr Samuel and I think, in my opinion, we’ve had Mr Samuel here and that particular cross examination was not very courteous at all. So to say again that Mr Samuel is a liar is wrong.
Chairperson: Hon Nqola?
Mr X Nqola (ANC): Just to add to that, the directives actually obligate us not to demean the personal dignity of the witnesses that appear before the Committee, it’s just a reminder, Chair. Thank you.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, I’ve heard the Members from the ACDP and the ANC, and I want to rephrase: Mr Samuel, who is a self-confessed criminal, said that the Public Protector and the Premier had some shady meetings between the two of them. You understand that Adv Raedani? Do you understand what I’m saying?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I heard, I read somewhere in his affidavit about the meeting that happened in Bloemfontein.
Adv Mpofu: I’m sure you even watched him as well, but that’s fine, that’s not the point I’m making now. I'm saying to you, left to your own devices between yourself and Mr Samuel, the self-confessed criminal, anybody would be left with the impression that the Public Protector – and that’s the impression that you wanted to create – had some shady meeting, because she, according to Mr Samuel, was pushing certain political agendas or she was in the pocket of certain politicians. I can’t remember the exact wording of how he put it. That's the real issue. The real issue is to portray the Public Protector in a particular light so that she can be removed from her job. That's what I’m concerned about. I’m not concerned about you giving false evidence and all that.
Adv Raedani: I disagree with you. When it comes to the purpose, I think in my opinion, the mere fact that after we have submitted our sworn affidavit we are even called to testify, it is for these reasons that the Committee does not only draw conclusions based on the documents that they see, without having had the witness appear before them. I think the purpose of me explaining why I recalled that meeting where the PP… it was simply to put light to whatever is written and also to correct, if there’s something that is written, to correct it and explain it better so that the Committee can have an informed view rather than just reading the affidavit.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, I don’t think I’m getting through to you. I’m saying, Sir, that there is a person here, a woman, whose career is on the line. There's an enquiry by Parliament, okay? And that is based on all sorts of impressions which are created by persons who hate her or persons who want to see her losing her job. I’m simply saying to you that the purpose of whoever put those false words there, whether it’s you or whoever drafted it, because you say you read it and you’ve agreed with it, can only be to ensure that she loses her job. And that is wrong, it is unconscionable and it should not be something that you should do as a morally upstanding citizen, would you agree with that?
Adv Raedani: That’s why I’m saying, I don’t really want to comment on what you have said, especially when it comes to the purpose of the enquiry or us being called here. But the main issue that I want to go through, is I believe that the purpose of me coming to give evidence, it’s somewhere somehow connected and it has something to do with, if there’s an error like this, I can be able to explain it, to say this is not what I meant when this was recorded. If this was a motion in court your argument would have been a different one, or obviously then I should have made a supplementary affidavit to correct this version, like I did. Basically what I’m saying, what is coming through is that oral evidence can essentially try to give, going forward, elucidate what has not been clear in the papers.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, but yours is not discovered by oral evidence. Oral evidence is what you gave earlier when you were being asked questions by Adv Bawa, that was also oral evidence. Yours has been discovered by cross examination, so it’s not as if you came here and said no... if you remember, if you go to paragraph 74...
Adv Raedani: But, just to clear, I don’t recall earlier saying something like this that the meeting between the PP and the SG – when I was being led before lunch, I don’t recall saying that that meeting should have been recorded. It's only coming out now under cross examination, that there’s something like this that is written and I’m explaining that be that as it may, that was not my... that is not what I was saying. What I was saying is that the meeting between the PP and the SG was not supposed to be recorded, because it has nothing to do with the business of the Office in as far as I understand.
Adv Mpofu: Do you recall saying it on 26 July 2022 and swearing to God that you are telling the truth?
Adv Raedani: On 26 July, let me just double check that is the date that I deposed this affidavit...
Adv Mpofu: It is.
Adv Raedani: Yes, I’m saying, this is not a court of law...
Adv Mpofu: Pardon?
Adv Raedani: This is not a court of law where we can say its motion papers where there are no witnesses who are being called. I’m saying, according to my understanding, the purpose of us being called here, after we’ve submitted affidavits, is to come and give evidence to give a perspective or to give the Committee what is actually true, rather than what they read from the papers. Hence now you’re asking me questions, I’m explaining to the Committee that no, the second meeting of the PP was not supposed to be recorded because it had nothing to do with the investigation.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, do you remember Ms Ebrahim? The person who spoke to you first when we started here?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I know Ms Ebrahim.
Adv Mpofu: Do you remember what she said might happen to you if your evidence is not true?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I do.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, now I’m giving you the last chance Mr Raedani, and this is very, very serious, please. Okay? I’m saying to you, you might not know this, so I’m just giving you information, until we had to go to the Constitutional Court, the Parliament of this country was adamant that the Public Protector should not have legal representation where cross examination is allowed. Do you understand that?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I understand.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, and they lost that battle in the High Court in the Western Cape, and Parliament appealed to the Constitutional Court and they lost again, thank God. But I’m saying, had that not happened, we would have been in a situation where your evidence might have been taken at face value and be responsible for the impeachment of the Public Protector, which you are trying to pursue for your own reasons, even by peddling lies to this Committee. What do you have to say to that?
Adv Raedani: Again I’m saying the version that I’m putting before Parliament now that I’m explaining what’s written in paragraph 74; I'm saying Parliament should not – this Committee should not go with a view that the meeting between the Public Protector and the SG was supposed to be recorded. I’m saying the correct view is that the meeting between the Public Protector and the SG should not have been recorded. Hence, I’m saying by coming here, and now also answering questions under cross examination, it is for this purpose that I’m trying to – if there’s misunderstanding in what is written down then I can actually give a full explanation to the Committee, so that they don’t go with the wrong view.
Adv Mpofu: No, that’s fine, I think the point is made, Adv Raedani. All I have to say is I think you have just demonstrated why it’s important that the Public Protector had to fight for the right to be represented and to have cross examination, even though the noise makers and chattering classes out there feel that the cross examination should not take place. It will, because I’m sure you know Wigmore, who is an authority on the subject, says “cross examination is the best engine ever invented by mankind to distil the truth” and I always have my addition to say “to also distil lies”, and I think that’s what has just happened now. Do you agree?
Adv Raedani: In as far as you are referring to cross examination, I don’t know with what you – when you say with what has happened now, what do you mean, because I’m explaining myself to you. This statement as it is, is incorrect if we take it as it is; but what is correct, I’m telling you what is the correct version of the event, to say this is what should have happened. Calling it lies is something else.
Adv Mpofu: No, it’s fine. I think I’ll take you out of your misery, because I actually sympathise with you. But it’s not right what you are doing, you and the others. If you have gripes with a person, if you have all sorts of issues, personal issues, you know we all do, but it should never be taken to these levels where you are prepared to sell you soul in order to make sure that that person suffers. Thank you, Chairperson. I think I’m done with this witness. Thank you.
Chairperson: Thank you Adv Mpofu, we’ll take a 15-minute tea break and come back with Members’ interaction. Thank you.
Committee questions to Adv Nditsheni Raedani
Mr K Mileham (DA): Good afternoon Adv Raedani, you say in paragraph 15 of your affidavit “Indeed a number of persons either left or were forced to leave after Adv Mkhwebane took over”. With regards to being forced to leave, does that refer to disciplinary processes?
Adv Raedani: Yes, it refers to people who have faced disciplinary processes, and also some of the people who just resigned out of their own will. There were a number of people, immediately after she arrived, the CEO who was there at the particular time also resigned and then there was the Chief of Staff who was there, Mr Dlamini, he also left. Then there was also the CFO who left, immediately upon...
Mr Mileham: Thank you, in paragraph 16, you say “Those of us who had been investigators in the Private Office, including Adv Matlawe, Mr Kekana, Mr Sithole, Ms Sefako and myself, were moved out.” Now my question is this, when all of those people were moved out, how many investigators were left in the Private Office?
Adv Raedani: Initially the Private Office didn’t have any investigators, but soon towards the end of Adv Madonsela, and also when Adv Malunga came in, they started – Malunga appointed a senior investigator and there was always a junior to that senior investigator. And then it was Mr Matlawe, who would then be a quality assurance manager who would report to the Public Protector when it comes to those activities of quality assurance. When we left, no one remained as a senior investigator or anything in the Private Office.
Mr Mileham: Thank you very much. You say in paragraph 20, “The Public Protector at times arrived, in my view, with a particular outcome in mind and then sought to justify that outcome irrespective of the relevant evidence or arguments or other people's perspectives.” Can you give us some examples of that behaviour?
Adv Raedani: When I was testifying earlier on, I did mention that the Public Protector, for example, in the current Vrede report, you will see some of the issues that we raised were still outstanding, and hence, the Public Protector was pushing for the report to be released, irregardless of whatever. I didn’t initially agree with her in terms of some of the things that were removed in the report. So another investigation that I’ve seen, we have differed, we had a different opinion. It was for example, there was a complaint about the DG of Treasury, that the DG, when he was employed, he didn’t disclose that he has a criminal... a paid admission of fine, something like that. In that investigation, we were of the view that it was not necessary, but you could see that she had her own view on that particular investigation, she has taken a particular view and she’s insisting on it.
Mr Mileham: Okay, on the evening of 8 February 2018, when you worked late with the Public Protector to finalise the report, what quality assurance was done on the final document?
Adv Raedani: We were actually, like what was presented in my evidence in chief, what we did specifically was to change that specific remedial action to look exactly as it is in the final report. And if you look, if you see exactly that there were various things that were inserted during that night, and like some of the findings were rephrased to read differently from what was initially in draft that we submitted.
Mr Mileham: But there was no quality assurance done on that document after you guys had amended it?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, there was no quality assurance, because quality assurance means that somebody with an independent mind should then look at the document and check if it complies and all these other things. So what we did was just finalisation of the report.
Mr Mileham: Okay, in that final report, there’s a comment that the inflated prices were difficult to determine. Now that comment was a blatant untruth, was it not?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I would say, because earlier on the Free State Office managed to seek – they sought services of somebody who coded the comparison on the prices. And maybe we should have gone with the version of the earlier report which was that the prices were inflated.
Mr Mileham: So in the earlier versions there had been sufficient evidence to support the finding that there were inflated prices?
Adv Raedani: There was because the photos were there and some of the comparison that was done by a service provider that was engaged by the Free State Office; it was clear that those prices were inflated.
Mr Mileham: My last area of attention is the meeting with Mr Ace Magashule in 2018. Who set up that meeting?
Adv Raedani: I initiated that meeting from an investigation point of view, and then the Public Protector approved because she signed the draft subpoena to call Mr Magashule to the Office.
Mr Mileham: Okay, so would you agree that as the lead investigator and the person who set up the meeting, you should have been afforded an opportunity to properly question Mr Magashule?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I agree.
Mr Mileham: Now during the meeting you were asked to leave the room while the Public Protector had a private meeting with Mr Magashule. Had this happened in any other meetings that you were part of?
Adv Raedani: Not really, it was for me the first time it happened. Normally, unless we have a stakeholder engagement you might find that the Public Protector is having a one-on-one meeting with a particular politician, but the Chief of Staff – a spokesperson would be present in that particular meeting. It was the first time that the PP has requested a meeting with Mr Magashule after and excused us from the meeting.
Mr Mileham: But this meeting was not stakeholder engagement, this was an investigation meeting, correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, the reason Mr Magashule came to the Office, it was because it was an investigation meeting, but the later part...
Mr Mileham: Now at the time... Sorry, I interrupted you?
Adv Raedani: No, I was saying the latter part – of the private meeting between the two – it has nothing to do with the investigation.
Mr Mileham: Okay, at the time, Mr Magashule was an implicated person or at the very least a person of interest in terms of the investigation. So my question is, should the Public Protector have had a private, unrecorded meeting with him in such circumstances?
Adv Raedani: Unless, if I... I don’t think it was necessary for the Public Protector to have a meeting with Mr Magashule, and most importantly, Mr Magashule was no longer a government, a public servant at that particular time, he was working full-time for the political party, for his political party. So, they might... for me I don’t see why it was necessary, why they should have a secret meeting after the investigation meeting was adjourned.
Ms Sukers: Good afternoon, Mr Raedani. My first question to you, given the seriousness of the allegations against the ex-Premier Mr Ace Magashule, how long would you require to interview him face-to-face to perform a thorough and proper investigation?
Adv Raedani: Normally I would say for us to have questioned him, it should have taken maybe two to three hours.
Ms Sukers: So the 30 minutes that you spent with him that day, were you able to get all the necessary information that you needed for the investigation?
Adv Raedani: We couldn’t get all the necessary information; rather he kept on referring to his earlier response to the section 7(9) notice, which was already in our possession.
Ms Sukers: You worked during the period of people like Mr Samuel, who headed up the Free State Office. Would you mind just telling us what was Mr Samuel’s reputation within the organisation?
Adv Raedani: When I arrived, Mr Samuel was a senior investigator, and when there was a vacancy in Limpopo, I heard that the Public Protector at that time, Adv Mushwana, approached him personally to go and apply for that post to head Limpopo province. So the reputation of Mr Samuel was... he had a good reputation within the organisation. He was a qualified attorney, he had a thorough understanding of the processes of the organisation, in as far as I can remember. And even the incident, of him attacking or whatever that he had with the complainant, that incident was reported to the then Public Protector, which because of the reputation of Mr Samuel, she, instead of punishing Mr Samuel, she eventually approved that there should be security Officers in that Office in Polokwane.
Ms Sukers: Thank you, at paragraph 60.3, you indicated that you did not agree with the amendments as affected by the Public Protector. Did you communicate this with the Public Protector? And what was the Public Protector’s response?
Adv Raedani: Earlier on during our meeting, remember these things started as early during the day, we had to go – we were told, we had to justify what was written in the report, but in any event, we were overruled. In that process we were justifying why our report should be accepted as it is. That’s when we gave reason and we gave reason why the report should go as it is. But as the person who has the final say, she then ultimately changed – altered the report to look the way it is.
Ms Sukers: With regard to the issue of financial misconduct, I want you to tell me if my understanding is correct. My understanding is that you are testifying that the findings that the prices that have been overcharged were removed, that you believe that these details were important to understand the scale and the scope of the financial misconduct. Is that correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s correct.
Ms Sukers: Could you tell me who removed that? Who removed the scale and scope of the financial misconduct, the detail of that?
Adv Raedani: Most of the things that were removed were after the morning meeting we had with the PP, and after, when me and the PP were working during the night of 8 February 2018.
Ms Sukers: You received an audi letter. And we’ve been hearing many people, the previous witnesses saying that they’ve received audi letters for work not being completed on time etc. At paragraph 13 in your affidavit, you state that work not being completed on time is performance and not misconduct-related, and that disciplinary procedures were not being followed or policies. Why was this distinction important and what policies were not being followed?
Adv Raedani: The distinction is important, because anything that relates to an employee’s performance, it is not misconduct. If you are saying that somebody’s not performing adequately, that is not a misconduct. In terms of the HR policy, certain procedures need to be followed like you need to take that person to corrective counselling to proceed with that person and manage performance the way it is designed in the performance management policy, instead of charging that person with misconduct in terms of the disciplinary code.
Ms Sukers: You conducted quality control on reports. I have a slightly different question to that. To the best of your knowledge, what quality control measures were in place to ensure S53 records were complete?
Adv Raedani: Come again... just repeat the last part of your question.
Ms Sukers: Okay, to the best of your knowledge, what quality control measures were in place to ensure S53 records were complete?
Adv Raedani: S53, are you referring to the Rule 53 records?
Ms Sukers: Yes.
Adv Raedani: Rule 53 records, normally what happens is the person who is responsible for litigation is the person responsible for compiling the Rule 53 record. That has to be done with the particular investigator who investigated the case, because that is the person who will ultimately give you the source documents, which he relied on when he compiled his report.
Ms Sukers: Lastly, Mr Raedani, I want to ask you, in your opinion, you’ve been a shop steward for many years, the Public Protector... the Office of the Public Protector, would you describe it as an environment that was punitive in terms of either performance or mistakes made by staff?
Adv Raedani: The Public Protector... we are coming from the two previous Public Protectors with Adv Mushwana and Adv Madonsela, where people wouldn’t necessarily be charged for lesser offences or for non-performance. Rather, correct procedures will be followed if somebody’s not performing and there is a performance management policy in place, which was followed to the letter all through the years.
Dr C Mulder (FF+): Good evening, Adv Raedani. I’ll try to be brief. I’m going to start off by continuing with the last point that was just made by my colleague. During your testimony on a number of occasions, you indicated that there were certain things happening within the Office of the Public Protector and it was alleged that the Public Protector may not be friendly towards this one, or that one or this was moved etc. You were confronted on numerous occasions to say that, but do you have clear evidence that it was the Public Protector who instructed this or that. Would you say that there was a bit of a toxic working environment within the Office of the Public Protector in general at that time?
Adv Raedani: The environment was toxic, was toxic, because a number of people – there were instructions wherein it was issued by the Public Protector herself to charge certain individuals when it comes to them not delivering. Certain people, there were instruction given to the CEO to go and charge particular individuals. So that made the whole working environment in the PPSA around 2017 and 2018, it was not conducive. Hence, it was informed by mass exodus of the people from the Office. Anyone who could get opportunity outside was prepared to leave and some who couldn’t get opportunity, they were then dismissed after that.
Dr Mulder: Thank you, I’ve got one more issue that I want to deal with. Approximately the last 30 minutes of your cross examination, we all received a lengthy exposition with regard to cross examination and on the virtue of cross examination, we were referred to Wigmore. I want to take you to paragraph 75 of your affidavit, because that was used to convince the Committee that you are giving false evidence and that you should not be trusted or believed. As a matter of fact, at some point I think you were almost threatened with perjury because of your evidence. Now if you look at paragraph 75, it says the following, “Mr Ndou and I left Mr Magashule and the PP alone.” and then you say “I do not know what they discussed...” and that is what you gave in oral evidence as well, “I was not subsequently informed, even though I was the lead investigator on the case.” and then the following sentence is being used to indicate that you gave false evidence and you should not be believed, “The meeting should have been recorded, as it was related to an investigation. However, I was not provided with a recording for purposes of compiling the report.” If we can change the word “as” with the word “if” ... it says: “The meeting should have been recorded, if it was related to an investigation”, because a huge argument was put forward now to indicate...
[Interjection by Adv Mpofu]
Adv Mpofu: No, Chairperson?
Dr Mulder: Ah, Mr Mpofu is still here.
Adv Mpofu: Oh, this is ridiculous, I’m still here, yes. Chairperson?
Chairperson: Sorry, sorry, just pause. Just pause Hon Mulder. Adv Mpofu, you have raised your hand, wait... you have raised your hand and a Member is on the platform. I’m not going to disrupt him until he finishes his question, and now you’re coming in before I even acknowledge you, because I have seen your hand.
Adv Mpofu: Apologies Chair, no, the hand has been up and I thought you were ignoring it.
Chairperson: No, I’m not ignoring any hands here and you know that. I acknowledge any hands that I see. I don’t interrupt somebody on the platform until he finishes, I do that to you as well. Please hold back...
Adv Mpofu: I have the right to object at any stage but it’s fine let him finish, Sir.
Chairperson: Thank you, please continue Hon Mulder.
Dr Mulder: Yes, thank you Chairperson. I was told earlier that a jazz symphony should be listened to the end, because it’s supposed to be beautiful.
Adv Mpofu: Yeah, not this kind of music.
Dr Mulder: Yes, the wonder of cross examination. Chairperson, no. I'm back with 75, I want to ask you, Adv Raedani, you clearly say that you were not privy to what was discussed. Would you agree that if the Public Protector discussed the Vrede case with Mr Magashule alone, behind closed doors, technically that should also have been recorded?
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s correct. I agree with that.
Dr Mulder: Would you also agree that it is possible that they discussed the Vrede case in the absence of anybody else?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, it’s possible. It’s possible that they might have discussed the Vrede case.
Dr Mulder: It’s possible, because nobody knows what was discussed behind those closed doors and it was not recorded. I want to ask you a last question, would you agree in terms of perceptions, it is not an ideal situation that the Public Protector meets behind a closed door with the main politician being investigated in this case?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I agree.
Chairperson: Adv Mpofu, I recognise your hand.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, thank you Chairperson. No, I wanted to ask you to stop this... what Hon Mulder is doing; where he even goes as far as trying to edit the affidavit that the witness has confessed is wrong, and does not express what he was saying. That’s really, Chairperson, this is an abuse of the system, and it moves now from the sublime to the ridiculous, because we cannot allow a situation where this opportunity for Members to ask questions, which is an important part of the process, is allowed to be abused to try and repair the irreparable. On top of that, I have protested here that I’m not given the right to ask questions arising from the Members' questions, which is totally, totally, unheard of and unfair. But you’ve made your ruling about it, you only give that opportunity to the Evidence Leaders, and this is why this opportunity is then open to such abuse by the Mr Mulders of this world. If people have come here to try and push a particular agenda, and with preconceived ideas, that’s fine, that’s their privilege or predetermined outcomes. We've seen it in the past three weeks, that the questions only go to a particular direction, with the knowledgeable exception of Hon Herron, who is very exemplary, and other people. But that’s fine, people are free to do that, but really let’s not push it to levels that are just laughable in front of the public, because it means we are undermining the intelligence of our people, because I could say that, is it possible that Hon Mulder is a racist... and then someone says, yes, he is, and then what? What kind of question is that? How can you say to a witness, is it possible that they discussed this? Possible based on what? Anything is possible, is it possible that pigs can fly? Yes. But, really, let’s not undermine the intelligence of South Africans. Our people have paid a lot of money for this process...
Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu.
Adv Mpofu: No, Chairperson. I want to say the last point which is that...
Chairperson: I don’t want you to make a statement. You've made your point, it’s clear the point you’re making.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, no, fair enough, and I object in the strongest possible terms. It must not be allowed, it’s wrong and it’s unfair and it’s unparliamentary and it is not in line with the oath of office that everyone has taken before God here, to make sure that they follow their conscience. You cannot follow your conscience by being so biased.
Chairperson: I want you to stop, Adv Mpofu.
Adv Mpofu: Thank you Chairperson, I’m finished. I’m finished here.
Chairperson: Thank you, thank you. Just hold back Hon Mulder, I’m going to attend to this issue. I think it’s important that the point is made here, and very clear. The last thing that you’re going to do, Adv Mpofu, is to tell Members how to ask the questions, that’s the last thing you’re going to do in the Members session interacting with the witness. As a Chair of this enquiry, I’m never at any point going to allow that, because they don’t do that to you as to how you need to cross examine a witness. That’s the first point I want to make.
Adv Mpofu: No, they do that, they do. They do and you allow it.
Chairperson: I’m not having a dialogue.
[interjection by Adv Mpofu]
Adv Mpofu: But, you can’t misrepresent the facts, you have allowed people to interrupt my cross examination.
Chairperson: I’m not having a dialogue with you, please! I am now addressing this meeting. Thank you. The second point I want to make to all of you colleagues and in response to this, and I’m hoping that you’re going to refrain next time in terms of even attempting to patronise Members here, and begin to say this one is better than this one, I prefer this one, because that’s not what we’re going to allow here. Thirdly, and very important...
[Interjection by Adv Mpofu]
Adv Mpofu: No, don’t insult me, Chairperson, please.
Chairperson: I have not recognised you to speak, I hope you’re not going to do that.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, my hand is up.
Chairperson: If your hand is up, you know how to put your hand up. You don’t interject as I’m speaking as a Chair. The third point I want to make, which as evidence leaders do, you do, every Member will be in his or her own right to make any hypothesis here, because Hon Mulder did not change what the affidavit was saying, he made a hypothesis about that affidavit and that’s his way of questioning the witness. So I’d want, uncomfortable as the issues might be and the kind of questions, because from evidence leading to cross examination to Members interacting, we are not dealing with necessarily nice questions and issues. Some of the issues that are being raised are uncomfortable to all of us, and I implore you, and all of us here that we’ve got to exercise that patience and tolerance of each other's views and the kind of difficult questions that are going to be thrown. When there are issues that are irrelevant, you know that you have all your right to raise your hand and indicate that “Chairperson this issue is irrelevant to this motion, in this why”, and there is no reason why I should not respond to that, as I do to all other Members. I really want to make those points before I proceed to the next Hon Member, which is Hon Mananiso.
Adv Mpofu: No, Chairperson. You said you were going to recognise me; my hand is up. I want to respond.
Chairperson: I did not say I’m not recognising you, Hon Mananiso has not even spoken. I’d like you to be patient, Adv Mpofu.
Adv Mpofu: Chair, I’m pleading with you. I’m pleading with you. Let me respond and then we’ll move on.
Chairperson: I’m acknowledging you; you’re going to speak. I don’t want you to – you need to keep your cool as you’ve done always. Adv Mpofu, I now recognise you.
Adv Mpofu: Thank you my Chairperson. Chair, I’m saying the following, and I’m not saying it for the first time. Firstly, what you’re saying is not true, the statement that Hon Mulder has just made about jazz and all that, was made in the context of you allowing people to interject and to come in, in the middle of my cross examination; that's how I made that statement. You have allowed that, so it is not true to say that I may not object like other people object during my cross examination. It's simply not true, it’s not borne out by what has happened in this Committee at least. So let’s put that aside. The second issue, is that I have the right to object to any unfair treatment of Adv Mkhwebane, as perceived by her or by me representing her. You have a right to rule that my objection is right or wrong, that’s your privilege, but mine is to object and I will not be intimidated from that responsibility. All I'm saying now is that the... it’s also not true to say that Hon Mulder did not change the affidavit, he did, he changed. He said we must remove the word “as” and put “if”, if that’s not changing then my name is not Dali Mpofu, because that is exactly what he was doing. And that, Chairperson, is not allowed. That is not me dictating as to how Members should ask their questions. Members can ask their questions and I have no particular discomfort with questions being asked, whether they are in our favour or against us, that’s fine, that's par for the course. I’ve done that for many decades, listening to questions like that, but the issue is that you may not allow a situation where there is a blatant unfairness, such as the one you are allowing now. Number two, and this is my last point, you are quite right that I’m entitled to raise issues of irrelevance and I have done so, but the problem with that, Chairperson – and yesterday, you raised your voice at me because I was raising this point, and I was not raising it negatively when I was saying you should get advice on some of these issues, because it’s not your area. I’m a lawyer, I’m not a doctor, so if someone talks to me about medicine, I will humble myself and try and find out. And I was saying the following, you, Chairperson, you don’t know what the meaning of irrelevance in terms of evidence is, because irrelevance is not the same irrelevance that’s used in our everyday language. Legal terms, it’s like saying there’s an exception, there are legal terms, exception, embarrassment and so on, they don’t mean what they mean in normal language. So when I say something is irrelevant, I don’t mean that the Member is not entitled to ask it, I mean that it’s not relevant to the question. And there are categories of relevance, there’s opinion evidence, there’s hearsay, there’s all sorts of similar effect evidence and so on, it is those categories. The unfair thing is that you have the sole right in terms of the rules of this Committee to determine relevance or irrelevance. Now if relevance or irrelevance is going to be determined by someone who doesn’t know what it is, then where are we going?
Chairperson: Thank you Adv Mpofu, I have allowed you to express yourself. Thank you very much. Hon Mananiso, I recognise you.
Ms J Mananiso (ANC): Okay, thank you, Chairperson, and let me greet Adv Raedani. My first question to him – I just want to check with you, if you have personal issues with Adv Mkhwebane?
Adv Raedani: No, I think I made that clear earlier on. I don’t have personal issues with Adv Mkhwebane and I’m neither bitter that I left that organisation.
Ms Mananiso: Alright, and then my other question is, with regards to your affidavit in paragraph 3, you indicate that you have not had access to your emails. I want to check with you, how instrumental or relevant are those emails to this particular Committee?
Adv Raedani: The emails are relevant, because what transpired during the week of 5 February 2018, communications were done via email. Be that as it may, the evidence leaders have managed to access some of the emails and they have shown them to me. I’ve seen them. Whatever emails were relevant, I think they have retrieved them and they were part of the evidence.
Ms Mananiso: Okay, and then my other question is with regards to your affidavit from paragraph 12 to 14, with regards to unpleasant environment. I want to check with you when this particular environment started, before Adv Mkhwebane or when she came in?
Adv Raedani: Before Adv Mkhwebane, people had various – people might have had issues with the incumbent then, but the issues that they had will not be similar to what was experienced under Adv Mkhwebane, because after, the situation became unpleasant after her arrival. Like some things that you have read about the TV being changed from eNews to ANN7. Those things really did happen, although some of us, we don’t view them as material issues. And people were being threatened on a daily basis. I’ve sat in meetings where the PP instructed the CEO to go and charge certain employees. Hence, I'm saying the environment was not conducive for one to be in, because you would not know whether today was your last day or whatever that you’re doing, you’re doing the correct thing; at any time, people could be disciplined.
Ms Mananiso: And this one of audi letters, I think some of the Members have asked it, Hon Sukers, but from my side, I want to ask you from a point of being a shop steward. Do you think these particular audi letters had an impact in terms of the performance of your colleagues?
Adv Raedani: Yes, the audi letters that have been given to colleagues, basically it has affected them in terms of performance, because no one will sit comfortable not knowing what the future holds for you. Basically, those people who have been given letters, some of them will come to us, and it is just unfortunate that a lot of people who were facing this were senior investigators and senior managers – it would not be an ordinary member of the staff who is at the lower level.
Ms Mananiso: My second last question is how do you know the PP got a call from Mzwanele Manyi of the ATM to console her. How did you know about that particular call?
Adv Raedani: I was in the boardroom when the call came in, when Mzwanele Manyi even offered that... it was during, just after the ABSA disaster. He even offered that some of us investigators can go – the PP can come to ANN7 and some other things, but I didn’t take cognisance much of that call, it was not important to me.
Ms Mananiso: Okay, as a follow-up question, do you think the association of the PP with politicians has influence in terms of her work?
Adv Raedani: It has because as the Public Protector you’re not supposed to be associated with politicians, because I read somewhere that some of the people who were being investigated were also attending her 50th birthday party celebration. As a lawyer, for me, that’s very concerning, if you’re investigating people and you invite them to your birthday party, it’s something else.
Ms Mananiso: My last question is with regards to paragraph 45.1 on issues of violation of Section 217 of the Constitution. I know it’s about preferential procurement and what needs to happen in the supply chain and as well by the financial officer in authority. Do you think with what you have noted in your affidavit, the person who was in financial authority failed to execute his responsibility or do you see that particular person as a corrupt person? Thank you, that’s my last question.
Adv Raedani: The person who was sitting there, the accounting officer, who is the Head of Department, he has failed to ensure – to take reasonable measures to ensure – that these financial irregularities do not occur, and that is despite after being warned by the Accountant General, because something like R143 million was then transferred after the report of the Accountant General. For me, the relevant accounting official of the department was not acting in good faith or... But when it comes to the issue relating to corruption, to say that, I don’t think that would simply suggest that the person is corrupt, it might mean maybe it’s a simple dereliction of duties.
Prof A Lotriet (DA): Good evening, Adv Raedani, I want to go to paragraph 14 of your affidavit. There were quite a few questions asked about that during cross examination, but I want to make sure that I understand it correctly. Where you say that “part of the reason that I regarded the OPP as being an unpleasant work environment was my perception that I had become a target for the PP.” You do not state it as a fact that it was the case; but it was in fact your perception how you perceived the environment, is that correct?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, that’s correct.
Prof Lotriet: Thank you. Then if we go to paragraph 25 in your affidavit, it’s about the quality control and the fact that the Think Tank was not – well, it was dissolved basically. You state that it included the Chief of Staff, this new smaller committee who had no legal qualifications, it excluded the Deputy Public Protector, it included the CEO, as well as the Public Protector’s spokesperson. Now, given the makeup of that particular smaller committee, how did you experience the kind of quality control that that committee consisting of a number of people with no legal qualifications, no experience in investigation; what was the quality of the quality assurance?
Adv Raedani: Obviously, once you have a number of people who sit, who are not qualified to sit at a particular committee, whatever that will be your output. It won’t be something that is of quality, because if the report goes to Think Tank where there are legal managers only, or there are legal brains only, it won’t necessarily be the same when it goes to a committee where there are certain people who don’t have legal backgrounds, so that will really affect the quality.
Prof Lotriet: Thank you. Then I want to turn to the evening when the final version of the Vrede report was signed, and you also in your affidavit describe a situation where you were with the Public Protector and you were typing and making amendments to the report, and then later on she was typing. Did the Public Protector during that process provide any reasons why she is in fact amending, deleting certain sections etc.?
Adv Raedani: She didn’t give reasons, because we never had that discussion about why is she amending this, but I would say some of the comments that came in earlier, maybe from Nemasisi, might have found their way into the final document. But as for reasons for what the PP was changing, she didn’t state why she was doing that. And maybe, what I presume, is some of the statements that came into the report, I would presume that she had the first-hand information, maybe she had a discussion with those who were implicated. That's why, maybe, she changed the findings in the way she did.
Prof Lotriet: Thank you. Then when we go to the meeting that you had with former Premier Ace Magashule, did you have any preparation beforehand in terms of the questions that you are going to ask, because you set up the meeting?
Adv Raedani: Yes, we usually do the questions that we want to ask. We usually had to do that and at some point before the meeting, the questions, the memo explaining everything should be sent to the PP, so that she can be on the same page with the investigation too.
Prof Lotriet: And did the Public Protector ask any of those questions that you have sent through?
Adv Raedani: It happened a long time ago. Due to the questions, I think she should have followed the format that we have drafted the questions, going to the meeting.
Prof Lotriet: Thank you, then my last question, Chair. Now the meeting was set up as I understand it, to get more clarity and information regarding the section 7(9) reply from Mr Magashule. If you can recall and I know it is a long time ago, but you recalled that it was quite an extensive reply to the 7(9) letter. To your mind was it sufficient to remove any adverse findings against Mr Magashule?
Adv Raedani: The meeting with Mr Magashule was only called for the purposes of the second investigation, after Parliament has requested the Public Protector look at the role of the politicians. The report we’re discussing now did not point any finger to the politician. I'm not sure if you want to rephrase your question, because there was no meeting about the 7(9), it’s just that Mr Magashule used the letter of the 7(9) to explain himself in the meeting.
Prof Lotriet: Okay, I think that’s where the connection came. But in your mind still, do you think there was sufficient information to not have an adverse finding?
Adv Raedani: No, if you are referring to the section 7(9).
Prof Lotriet: Yes.
Adv Raedani: The section 7(9) answer which Mr Magashule sent to the Office, there was not sufficient information that justified the removal of certain findings.
Dr M Gondwe (DA): Alright, we heard evidence yesterday from Adv Tshiwalule that there was an exodus, or redeployment of staff that were working in the Private Office, on Adv Mkhwebane assuming office. Would you agree that unlike a newly appointed minister whose appointment is largely political in nature, there was really no need for Adv Mkhwebane to redeploy the people that she found in the Private Office to other units within the organisation? More so given that her appointment wasn’t strictly speaking political in nature, and the appointment of those people in the Private Office was not tied to the appointment of Adv Madonsela.
Adv Raedani: It’s something that didn’t sit well with us as the union, because each and every incumbent will come to the Office with his or her own people and those people get to be employed permanently. When that particular incumbent leaves the organisation, these people are left there and they end up being without proper jobs or anything – when the new one comes in, that person you find out that he brings his own staff. That created a lot of problems, because we have had so many people that could not be placed that could not be utilised who were on higher salaries. For example, the secretary of the PP was on level 12, so you now sit with somebody who is on level 12 who you can't deploy anywhere in the organisation.
Dr Gondwe: Thank you. Somebody has already made reference to paragraph 20 of your affidavit, where you state sometimes the PP arrived with a particular outcome in mind and then sought to justify that outcome, irrespective of the relevant evidence or arguments advanced by others. Are you trying to tell us that Adv Mkhwebane was biased, partial and not open-minded in the manner that she dealt with investigations and reports that were before her office? Are you also trying to tell us that she would go to any length to ensure that she arrived at a particular outcome, even if it meant ignoring, disregarding evidence or departing from the evidence placed before her in the course of an investigation?
Adv Raedani: What I’m saying and I want to point out to the Committee, it’s not me or my view that Adv Mkhwebane has done so, but it’s the view that has been expressed as well by the courts in matters like ABSA. The courts expressed the same view, and to matters relating to the recent one of SARS and then President Ramaphosa. The courts expressed that when they reviewed and set aside the reports completed by the Public Protector. So I share the very same sentiments as the courts.
Dr Gondwe: But do you agree with what I’m saying, especially the latter part about her going to any lengths to arrive at a particular outcome, even if it included ignoring, disregarding or departing from the evidence?
Adv Raedani: Yes, and that’s what I’m saying, the courts have found that – have expressed those views, so I wouldn’t add much to what the court has said when it comes to various investigations that were reviewed.
Dr Gondwe: Alright, thank you. In paragraph 30 of your affidavit, you state that in your view the Public Protector’s managerial style was not conducive or beneficial to comprehensive investigations, please expand on this. What about her managerial or leadership style was not conducive to comprehensive investigations? How would you describe her managerial or leadership style?
Adv Raedani: Firstly, the approach was that whatever was implemented by Adv Madonsela would be done away with, and then, lately I heard that those investigation units created by Adv Madonsela and maybe Adv Mushwana before her, have been done away with. Just looking at that, someone comes into the organisation, you then have your Chief of Staff who is not legally qualified; then you move to exclude the Executive Manager and your own Deputy. That action leaves too much to be desired because you can’t completely exclude the Deputy Public Protector who has been appointed by Parliament to be your assistant, and then exclude Executive Managers when it comes to certain decisions. Hence, the ABSA report was a disaster.
Dr Gondwe: We heard yesterday from Adv Tshiwalule that the Think Tank would ensure that reports are subjected to rigorous debate on amongst others, the facts, the law, the language and the tone by senior managers and provincial representatives, and the Deputy Public Protector was part of the Think Tank. But you now indicated in your affidavit that the Think Tank was replaced by a smaller and more exclusive committee, that excluded the Deputy Public Protector. Why do you think he was excluded from the smaller and more exclusive committee that replaced the Think Tank? And in your opinion, did the DPP have a good working relationship with Adv Mkhwebane? Did she for example allow him to take the lead in certain decisions pertaining to the organisation?
Chairperson: A very loaded question, I hope you got it Mr Raedani.
Adv Raedani: With the relationship between the DPP and the PP, I don’t think it was one that was conducive because the DPP was only delegated to training, instead of investigation. In as far as I can remember, their relationship was not that solid. The DPP was excluded in a lot of things and he would just come to the office and sit there most of the time. Before, when Prof Madonsela was still around, when they go to press conference the DPP would also form part of that delegation and even on the Think Tank, the DPP was part of the Think Tank. But after the arrival of Adv Mkhwebane, the DDP was fully excluded from the investigation activities. I remember – I wanted to make a reference to when in December 2016, I had planned to go to the Eastern Cape to do file inspection with the DPP, but his trip would not be authorised by the PP, then I had to go with junior staff from his office.
Dr Gondwe: Thank you, this is my last question, in paragraph 24 of your affidavit, you indicate that the PP, yourself and Mr Mothupi – you corrected that it wasn’t Mr Ndou, it was Mr Mothupi, had an investigative meeting in October with Mr Magashule. During that meeting you said that the PP did most of the talking and you were unable to ask Mr Magashule any questions. And before you know it, she excused you and Mr Mothupi from the meeting. How did you feel when the PP started doing most of the talking, yet you were under the impression that this is meant to be an investigative meeting, where you would take the lead in terms of asking Mr Magashule questions?
Adv Raedani: When it started, I just thought maybe we should allow the PP to go on and ask questions and maybe after that we would be given an opportunity to ask our questions, but the meeting was suddenly ended after maybe 30 minutes, without us being given an opportunity. So with regard to my feeling, I felt that I did not achieve the objective of the meeting or the objective of calling Mr Magashule to the Office.
Dr Gondwe: Did you get the feeling that the PP was trying to shield or protect Mr Magashule from answering the questions that you had prepared in advance?
Adv Raedani: Not really, but I wouldn’t express opinion of having feelings like she’s trying to shield him, but I just find it very strange that the meeting was then adjourned and then there was this personal meeting to happen between the two.
Mr B Herron (GOOD): Advocate, I’m trying to understand the part of your evidence in your affidavit and the oral evidence you gave regarding your departure from the Office of the Public Protector. You make reference to an unpleasant working environment and that you had a perception that you were being targeted, and you say that you thought you may have been targeted because you were involved in the PSA. I mean what is the, what are you trying to share with the Committee with these paragraphs 11 to 18 or 19, 20, about being a target, and your perception about some people leaving the Office but you didn’t ask for reasons and no one gave you reasons why they left the Office – what is the purpose of this evidence?
Adv Raedani: For me, the purpose of this evidence was clearly to demonstrate that even though I left of my own will from the Office of the Public Protector, the environment was not conducive and I could see what actually was happening to some of the union leaders. I could see that it was inevitable that it’s going to happen to me; hence, I’ve made that reference, and I made it clear that I’ve never had anything personal with the PP, but what I was hearing, it’s corridor talk from people who will come and inform us what is happening.
Mr Herron: Adv Mkhwebane is facing a charge of intimidating, victimising or harassing staff. So are you saying you were intimidated, victimised or harassed?
Adv Raedani: From what I heard from the corridor, like I said earlier, I had a perception that I was also part of the people who are not wanted in the organisation, because I was vocal as well as Adv Matlawe. I would raise issues when it’s the relevant time for me to raise issues. If there are things that I don’t agree with then I would then raise them.
Mr Herron: But were you intimidated, victimised or harassed?
Adv Raedani: No, I wouldn't say I was intimidated but I could see where the direction was, where the wind was blowing, the direction in which the wind was going.
Mr Herron: Adv Raedani, I don’t see how that relates or correlates with some of the rest of your evidence. I mean, paragraph 19 you say that you had professional disagreements with the Public Protector. In paragraph 67, you indicate that while you were drafting this late-night draft of the Vrede report, you expressed your disagreements, and then in paragraph 73, you refer to being instructed to investigate the second Vrede report, and you were invited to attend – or you led the meeting with the former Premier of the Free State. If you were a target, and you felt like you were a target, why would Adv Mkhwebane keep you involved despite your personal differences or professional differences, your disagreeing, why would you stay involved almost till the day you resigned?
Adv Raedani: Certain things were allocated to us based on whatever skill that management thinks you possess. And when I say “professional disagreement” I was referring to a situation where in terms of investigation I would hold a different view, and the Public Protector may hold a different view, and then her view would be the one that goes on. Or sometimes I object to certain things that I don’t believe in when it comes to issues relating to the workplace. I don’t know why I would say certain investigations were given to me. I made reference to the SAA investigation that I was doing and also this one of Vrede. I wouldn't say it – what happened earlier on in 2017 and 2018, it’s not what was actually happening around September, October, November 2018, the situation was worse from what it was a year before. Hence, I'm saying it is not necessarily correct that the environment was not conducive when these files were allocated to me. So, I believe that...
Mr Herron: Sorry Mr Raedani, I’m not going to get a lot of time so I want to cut you short if I can. You were allocated work, you continued to work with the Public Protector, even though you regarded yourself as a target?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I continued to work with her, because I was performing my responsibility.
Mr Herron: I want to move on, advocate, we’ve had a lot of investigators give evidence about the process of investigation. I wonder if you can just briefly tell us how you regard the process of investigation arriving at identifying implicated persons.
Adv Raedani: The process? Can you just come again...
Mr Herron: I want to understand, if you can tell us, how you as an investigator would identify implicated persons.
Adv Raedani: Implicated persons will be identified based on the investigation, initially it might not even lead you to those who are implicated, but as you go on, when you investigate, when you gather information, you interview, you’ll get witnesses who will tell you, who will point you to certain individuals and you get some independent evidence that points you or implicates certain individuals.
Mr Herron: So, it’s based on the evidence that you...
Adv Raedani: Based on the evidence that you have obtained during the investigation. It will tell you straight, it will show you or point you to an implicated individual.
Mr Herron: When you got involved in the Vrede investigation in late 2017, was that after the file had been transferred from the Free State Office to the Public Protector’s Head Office?
Adv Raedani: Yes, it was with the Public Protector’s Head Office, I think it was under PII (Provincial Investigation and Integration).
Mr Herron: And when you received the file, I think you gave evidence that you read all the reports that were – the content of the file.
Adv Raedani: Yes, I went through the contents of the file, from the investigations and the older versions of the reports, up until the latest version that was presented to me.
Mr Herron: According to Mr Samuel, who was I think at the time the head of the Free State Office, is that correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes.
Mr Herron: There were several versions of this report. There was the November 2014 version, there was a 2016 version, there was a March 2017 version, an April 2017 version, July 2017 version, September 2017 version and then of course, the November 2017 version when you received the memo or the email from Mr Ndou. So you went through all of those reports?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I’ve went through those reports, but normally what I would take into mind, was the latest version, because the latest version will continue the comments from other people, if the reporters went to the Think Tank, it would also include those comments.
Mr Herron: So what was the evidence that led to the Premier and the MEC being identified as implicated parties? The politicians that were being ignored or not ignored – what was the evidence that implicated them?
Adv Raedani: The evidence came in from the fact that, when this project came into light, the first person who spoke about it in public was the Premier himself in his State of Province Address, and then in the budget vote the former MEC also talked about it. When we scrutinised the documents submitted to us, when we looked at the benchmarking of the project when it started, the relevant person who approved the number of delegates who went to India to benchmark with Paras – Paras is an Indian dairy company. When those people went to India, the person who approved it was Mr Magashule and then the fact that there was later the Accountant General report, which simply requested the Premier and the MEC to take appropriate remediation against those who were implicated.
Mr Herron: So, Adv Raedani, why didn’t Adv Cilliers implicate the MEC and the Premier in her drafts of the report, because the evidence from Mr Samuel was that the first drafts of the report did not include identifying politicians. And it was Adv Madonsela who repeatedly instructed Mr Samuel to redo the investigations or the reports to include the politicians, but Adv Cilliers draft of the report did not have that in it. Why if Adv Cilliers was following this process of investigation, did she not make findings or in the provisional report against politicians?
Adv Raedani: Maybe she didn’t deem it necessary to make direct findings against them, considering the fact that despite them being political office bearers, they were not actually involved in the implementation of the project, hence, the evidence showed a number of wrongdoings on the part of the Head of Department who was the accounting officer.
Mr Herron: Adv Raedani, so basically if I understand your answer correctly, maybe the evidence wasn’t there when Adv Cilliers drafted the report?
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s possible, maybe the evidence was not there, or she ignored it, or maybe she failed to raise the issues that needed to be investigated after looking at the original complaint.
Mr B Nkosi (ANC): Thanks to the legal teams, good evening advocate. My first question relates to the atmosphere in the Office, which you have already described. Were you comfortable that the CEO, Mr Vussy Mahlangu, who did not have top secret clearance, was involved in operations?
Adv Raedani: Firstly, I was not comfortable, but as the CEO when it comes to administration, administration was part of his work. So his involvement in the investigation, I was not comfortable with it, because, firstly, one of the things that we as the union questioned when Mr Mahlangu arrived at the Office was that he was facing a dark cloud from his previous employer, I think it was Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Mr Nkosi: Okay, thank you, Sir. Did you regard him as an “enforcer of the PP”?
Adv Raedani: There were some strange things that the CEO was doing, especially when it comes – I'll talk to an incident that involved Adv Matlawe, I felt that that incident was not necessary, because Adv Matlawe was already on his way out, I think he had less than 10 days to be in the Office. I found the CEO's behaviour very strange, that he will then target people, so obviously he had somewhere from where he was deriving those powers to act in the manner in which he acted.
Mr Nkosi: You testified that the PP changed the Vrede report or some of the Vrede report. Do you think she had a legal or constitutional basis to effect those changes?
Adv Raedani: Some of those changes that were effected, especially something that has to justify why we could not investigate; when we have the evidence. I really find it, I don’t think there was a constitutional basis for that or a legal basis for her to effect those changes.
Mr Nkosi: Do you think that she exercised the responsibility with due care and diligence required of a PP?
Adv Raedani: I wouldn’t say she exercised with due care or with due diligence, because we have tried to convince her otherwise earlier on in the earlier meeting. And I had conveyed my message to say that this is not going to sit well with the legal experts and analysts, those who analyse tomorrow, and she seemed not to take much care of my advice or my warning.
Mr Nkosi: You indicated earlier, that you had a very professional relationship with her.
Adv Raedani: Yes, it was purely professional.
Mr Nkosi: Yeah, did she reciprocate? In other words, also display a professional relationship to you? Or do you have a view that the ordinary...
Adv Raedani: As I know, when it comes to me, she has never shouted at me, she has always been professional. So I don’t know if she has ever shouted at anyone else but I have heard her saying people should be charged, where I didn’t think those particular people need to be charged.
Mr Nkosi: With regard to the Gupta Leaks, do you think she had any basis for either ignoring or instructing some to ignore these leaks?
Adv Raedani: No, there was no basis to ignore the Gupta Leaks, because some of the emails dealt with this project specifically. I will say there is no basis for that – to ignore the Gupta Leaks email.
Mr Nkosi: The reasons provided for not doing further investigations on the Vrede project was that there were not sufficient funds to continue the other legs of the investigations, is this your view?
Adv Raedani: No, I don’t share the view that there was no funds, I think a thorough investigation was done by the Free State Office.
Mr Nkosi: My last question, Sir, is that you left the PP voluntarily; but in your evidence, you indicate that the environment was not conducive for professional conduct. Do you have a feeling that you left before you were pushed?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I have that feeling, because a lot of colleagues of mine were disciplined after my departure. So I think maybe at that state, that they would have maybe arrived.
Mr G Skosana (ANC): Advocate, according to your affidavit, you started working at the PPSA in 2008, but you were only transferred to the Private Office in 2017. That was after the arrival of Adv Mkhwebane, is that correct?
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s correct.
Mr Skosana: Now the question is why were you transferred to the Private Office and by who?
Adv Raedani: Initially I was given a letter by the CEO, but I think the transfer was influenced by the Acting Chief of Staff at that particular time and then my Executive Manager, Ms Motsitsi. I think they discussed it and that’s when I was transferred, and maybe with the PP’s placing, because I think I got a formal letter.
Mr Skosana: Okay, so why would the PP agree to your transfer to her Private Office while you were a target?
Adv Raedani: Remember the perception or the feeling that we thought I was the target, it was long after that has happened. At first maybe the PP did not have any issue – or there were no such perceptions that I was a target before. This thing only came in later on, after 2018, and that was after the Vrede report was issued. So that perception only came in after in 2018, later. I want to say basically at the time when I was transferred to the Private Office, I didn’t have that perception.
Mr Skosana: So the issue of you being the target, it was influenced by the Vrede Dairy report? It was not influenced by the fact that, according to your affidavit, you were close to the previous PP? I think that’s what you said in one of the paragraphs, that people who were close to Adv Madonsela were targeted.
Adv Raedani: Yes, people who worked closely with Adv Madonsela were targeted, I don’t recall - there was that perception that everything that has to do with Adv Madonsela should be done with and then dusted. So, it’s something I considered, it might have influenced... it might have led to the environment not being conducive to me in 2018.
Mr Skosana: But you only noticed that after you have dealt with the Vrede Dairy report?
Adv Raedani: Yes, after the Dairy report, because we discussed it after, I went to discuss with my colleagues what transpired on that day when I was sitting with the PP. So I don’t know if word maybe reached her, or any other thing but there was that perception after that.
Mr Skosana: Okay, in paragraph 18, you say in your view you were targeted by the PP because you were part of the leadership of the union. Did you as a union rep in any way undermine the authority of the PP, at any time?
Adv Raedani: No, we’ve never undermined the authority of the Public Protector. Something that we would have done if we have disagreement with the Public Protector, we would just go straight to her or voice our concerns through relevant structures. For example, we had the bargaining forum, wherein we raised issues on which we did not agree with management.
Mr Skosana: In paragraph 19, you say you gave the PP independent and sound advice, which was not always aligned with her wishes and objectives. What do you mean by 'her wishes and objectives'?
Adv Raedani: For example when I working, what I mean is if you give or express your opinion on certain things and you can see that this person doesn’t want this opinion, then you can conclude that that is not aligned to her wishes or objectives.
Mr Skosana: Alright, my last question, when the PP dictated to you what changes she wanted in the report, was this based on the evidence or what?
Adv Raedani: Initially, the report that we presented to the PP was backed up by evidence. The changes that she made might have been backed up by evidence or some of them might not have been backed up by evidence. So I really wouldn’t say whatever she did was not backed up by evidence and I can point to specific... but the main issue that came out of it was relating to financial constraints being faced by the Office at that particular time. That was not backed up by evidence to include in the report, because I wouldn’t know what was the financial position of the organisation because I was not the CEO or the CFO who are privy to such information.
Ms O Maotwe (EFF): Adv Raedani, would you say that you would never go back to the Office of the PP, while the PP is Adv Mkhwebane?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, that depends, but I don’t see myself going back to the Office while she is still the PP.
Ms Maotwe: Can you under oath tell this Committee that you’ve never reapplied for a position in the Office of the PP during the term of Adv Mkhwebane?
Adv Raedani: I have applied at some point, but I regret that decision of me applying for those posts. I think that was in 2020 during Covid.
Ms Maotwe: Okay, I’ll move on. In point 16 of your affidavit, you say that “Those of us who had been investigators in the Private Office, including Adv Matlawe, Mr Kekana, Mr Sithole, Ms Sefako and myself, were moved out and placed in the provincial investigations branch under Mr Reginald Ndou, we were simply informed that we were moved by the CEO. I was not provided with reasons for the move, at that time I did not ask for reasons.” Why do you deem it fit to name employees who have been moved out and placed in the provincial branch under Mr Ndou? How does that assist the Committee?
Adv Raedani: I wanted to, my intention when I came up with that evidence was to simply indicate that we did not stay for a long time in the PP’s office, because initially there was no investigative staff that was supposed to report to the PP. We were then all of us moved to provincial investigations.
Ms Maotwe: You’re speaking on their behalf here? You keep on saying “we”, even now.
Adv Raedani: No, I’m talking about the staff members that I was reporting with under the Senior Manager: Executive Support. We were all transferred to PII. If it was me alone, I would use the word “I”.
Ms Maotwe: Is it possible that the allegations against the PP by the disgruntled employees, some of which you’ve mentioned, could just be products of their own imagination?
Adv Raedani: There are a lot of things that happened within the Office which a lot of people – even though some of them don’t want to talk – will agree with. I don’t regard these allegations as just baseless, although some of them might have been influenced by the fact that they are bitter. I don’t regard the allegations as just ordinary allegations, these are serious allegations because there’s a lot of guys who lost their employment in the Office.
Ms Maotwe: Are you bitter yourself?
Adv Raedani: No, I’m not bitter.
Ms Maotwe: Okay, you just mentioned that some of the issues are very serious. Do you believe that if a woman reports sexual harassment immediately it means she is driven by vengeance?
Adv Raedani: It depends on the circumstances. If I'm dating a woman today, and we have an exchange whatever we are exchanging and later on when we are no longer together, that woman reports sexual harassment, that’s something else.
Ms Maotwe: You know, you are speaking here in Woman’s Month, and you don’t seem to appreciate the sensitivity around sexual harassment and general GBV against women.
Adv Raedani: I appreciate general gender-based violence against women, I respect women, especially when it comes to the issue relating to sexual harassment. But my answer to you was specifically saying, it depends on what context that sexual harassment is being raised. If sexual harassment is raised by somebody who was in a relationship with that particular person, then it’s something else and that sexual harassment was deemed to have occurred at that time when those people were on speaking terms, it’s something else.
Ms Maotwe: I’ll move on, although I’m not quite happy with your response. Now, advocate, after your performance here today, telling us about 'perception this, perception that', do you really think that this Committee can take into account anything that you’ve said to them? Can we rely on your evidence that is premised on perceptions?
Adv Raedani: I don’t know that’s what I’m saying, it depends on your view ma’am. If you are sitting and listening to a particular witness and you decide as a person who needs to take a decision about that particular witness, and you say you want to disregard that evidence, maybe you’ve got reasons enough to do so. But I don’t think my time was a waste of time to appear before this Committee, because whatever I related at the meeting, those things happened.
Ms Maotwe: And the perception?
Adv Raedani: No, I’m not talking about perception. The report was changed, there’s no doubt about that. If you think when I referred to perception and other things, I was wasting my time, then that’s what you want to believe.
Ms Maotwe: According to or in line with 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52, you agreed that the PP didn’t conduct a comprehensive investigation in order to determine the fair market value of the goods and services, and she was not provided with all the invoices and proof of payments.
Adv Raedani: The PP was able to source somebody who could inform... she was able to source services of someone who can determine whether the prices of goods and services were inflated, but she chose not to...
Ms Maotwe: Do you agree that she didn’t conduct a comprehensive investigation?
Adv Raedani: She did not, because the people who went to do that exercise were the Free State Office, during the course of the investigation.
Ms Maotwe: Sorry, come again? I lost you a bit.
Adv Raedani: I’m saying that the Public Protector was in a position to conduct such a comparison of what was the fair market value of each and everything but she chose not to. There was an exercise that was done by the investigators from the Free State when they were initially investigating this matter, which exercise the PP disregarded. As to the invoices, I have no comment whether she could not do that because she had no invoices, I don’t think the invoices were necessary. But I think she should taken into account the evidence and the analysis done by the investigators when they arrived at the point that the prices were inflated.
Ms Maotwe: Is it correct that in labour law, in the workplace continuous non-performance may result in misconduct charges, when you continuously perform poorly?
Adv Raedani: When you perform poorly, and after certain measures have been taken to address your poor performance, then it can lead to misconduct.
Ms Maotwe: You know, Adv Raedani, I don’t understand you. Why... you grown up black men, like yourself, Mr Kekana, Mr Samuel, prepare to risk your career just to drive the agenda of the DA and the ANC, like, it beats me...
Adv Raedani: I’m not a politician ma’am. I haven’t driven any political agenda, I don’t have any membership with anyone, I’m just a lawyer, so, I’m not risking any, I’m not serving the interest of anybody. What I’m here for is to give evidence on the Vrede report and also what happened when I was at the Public Protector, and I have no intention to cost the Public Protector her job. I’m just assisting the Committee to arrive at the truth.
Ms Maotwe: And in your view, what is the truth?
Adv Raedani: The truth is what actually transpired in 2018 and in the years that I was in the OPP when the PP arrived.
Ms Maotwe: So is it only the bad side that happened, nothing good happened during that time?
Adv Raedani: There’s something good, I was telling Adv Mpofu SC earlier on, which is that legal services should also be given reports to comment on. For me that’s a positive, I said to Adv Mpofu that it was beneficial. I can mention a lot of things which she has done, which I agree with.
Ms Maotwe: Including the fact that she’s the first and the only PP to have had clean audits for two consecutive years?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I’ve heard about the clean audit, but primarily I wouldn’t give her credit, clean audits have something to do with people that work in finance and the accounting officer of the organisation. Although she might’ve contributed immensely towards that achievement.
Ms Maotwe: So according to you, it doesn’t matter, in the current situation that we have municipalities not having clean audits. It’s okay, we can just blame the finance people?
Adv Raedani: It’s not okay, you need to blame those people who are directly linked towards the achievement of the clean audit, for example, you are making an example of a municipal – would you blame a council if there is no clean audit in the municipality? Or would you look into the accounting officer who is the municipal manager?
Ms Maotwe: Well, I’m not here to answer questions, but I’ll look at the accounting officer the same way the PP is the accounting officer of the Office of the PP.
Adv Raedani: The PP is not the accounting officer of the Office of the PP, she is the Executive Authority. The accounting officer is the Chief Administrative Officer, which is practically referred to as the CEO, but in the Act is the Chief Administrative Officer.
Ms Maotwe: And they report to the PP?
Adv Raedani: They report to the PP.
Ms Maotwe: So, it remains the PP’s Office?
Adv Raedani: The PP is the overall Executive Authority of the Office.
Ms Maotwe: So these clean reports, she can, she must get credit for them because no one has ever done that.
Adv Raedani: The clean reports, I’m saying specifically, I wouldn’t give credit directly to the Public Protector for the clean reports. The clean reports has something to do with the accounting officer of the organisation, but I do not want to detach her from that achievement, because it happened under her tenure.
Mr B Maneli (ANC): Good evening Adv Raedani. With regard to paragraph 50, this is a direct meeting with the PP and one of the witnesses has come before the Committee. Can you recall what were the specific instructions you needed to carry out in order to meet the standards of the PP for approval of the report? Maybe more specifically as to whether amongst those, there would be adverse findings on politicians that you needed to remove, as well as the inflated costs that would have been picked up by the investigation?
Adv Raedani: One of the things she instructed us to remove, I think I’ve gone through that in the morning before lunch. If you go to the report that was submitted, you can see clearly that some of the findings have been altered in order to reflect what the PP wanted. For example, on page 3047, the earlier report had a finding that the procurement prescripts were not followed in respect of the Estina agreement, and that constituted maladministration, but in the latter report that was changed, it only noted that there was non-compliance with normal procurement processes, but did not categorise that as maladministration. Another example would be in reference to Section 217 of the Constitution which rendered the conclusion of the agreement improper. In 3047, the PP made reference to the Constitution but she did not conclude that there was an improper conduct. Those are the things which can be visible from the reports, as Adv Bawa was making comparison earlier, as to what has actually been changed by the PP in that... Initially it was one of her instructions that we go and put in 'financial constraints' and all these other changes that came in on 8 February.
Mr Maneli: The reason I’m putting these three, I’m very specific on these because as I’ve said there’s other witnesses who have come, so I want to establish the meeting itself, because this is not hearsay, you were meeting the PP directly, so it is important to get an answer in that regard. Whether amongst those instructions we believe the others that I would still want to come to – whether the politicians there were adverse findings that you needed to remove as a result of this meeting with the PP is directly there. Secondly, whether it also talks to the inflated prices that were discovered by the investigation. I’m making those as specific, over and above other instructions that may be referred to, whether it is in that meeting that that would have come out.
Adv Raedani: Yes, it is in that meeting where some of these instructions did come out. The issues related to the inflated prices did come in and then the fact the comments that maybe there was no thorough investigation on it, that was the instruction we were given in that earlier meeting with the PP, to go and change the report to reflect what the PP would consider acceptable, for her to append her signature.
Mr Maneli: I’ll just make reference to the paragraphs that my question is linked to. Paragraph 54, I’m taking that up until 70. I’m just making that reference so that the question is understood comprehensively, because I’m trying to check the relevance of bringing this to the attention of the Committee, that the concerns you are bringing before this Committee on the material matters that have been removed from the report. Is it about a reflection on the Office of the Public Protector under the leadership of the PP, that is seen to be incompetent given its functions? Or is it about demonstrating that information used was misleading or dishonest? Or is it about being worried about an impression that the Office of the Public Protector under the leadership of the PP has failed to hold officials and politicians accountable in the eyes of the public? Or is it all of the above?
Adv Raedani: What we’re trying to show here, what paragraph 54 and going on is trying to show is simply that something rather than evidence influenced the changes from the earlier version of the report, changing remedial action from the earlier version of the report to what the final report reflected, which is to absolve certain people of wrongdoing. Those people in the earlier version of the report, have been found to have not followed proper procedures and also committing maladministration – as it appears in the earlier version of the report rather than in the latest signed version of the report.
Mr Maneli: If I may make a follow-up on that point, I think my question really talks to what we are dealing with as the Committee, so if you think it’s none of the above you are also able to say so, because you’ve brought all these points and that’s why I heard that... In the response you are giving, I’m trying to make sense of whether you are getting to that point or not. I’m trying to bring to the attention of the Committee that having raised those points, it’s a concern about the way the Public Protector’s Office is looked at under the leadership of the PP, as incompetent; or you are also saying that the information put out reflects dishonestly or is misleading; or you are concerned that the PP’s Office will be seen in the eyes of the public as not able to hold officials and politicians accountable – with all these material matters that have been removed in the actual report. That was the question, but of course if it is none of the above, you’d indicate so.
Adv Raedani: You correctly stated it as you’re saying. The act of changing the report to absolve / to clear certain officials and certain people who initially would have had findings made against them; it's entirely a question of whether the Public Protector is not taking action against certain people, even though there is enough evidence available to do so. That’s what the public is looking at. The public might reach conclusion...
[Interjection by Adv Mpofu]
Chairperson: Just pause Adv Raedani, Adv Mpofu?
Adv Mpofu: Chairperson, through you, can you ask this witness to stop reading whatever he is reading. He must tell us what he’s reading from, whether people are feeding him with information or he is reading from a document.
Chairperson: Thank you Adv Mpofu, we’ll attend to that. Adv Raedani?
Adv Raedani: I think I have heard what Adv Mpofu is saying. Adv Mpofu, I’m not reading, I’m just looking at the paragraph as the Member was asking questions, he referred to paragraphs. I’m just looking at the paragraphs, I’m not reading, it’s not coming from those documents.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, Chairperson. Alright, I don’t want to believe, but this will demonstrated by playing this video that the man is lying, and he’s been reading when there were questions that had nothing to do with any paragraphs. But I'll just leave it at that, Chairperson. We’ll play the video at the correct time, thank you.
Chairperson: Thank you Adv Mpofu, proceed Adv Raedani.
Adv Raedani: Okay, before I was posed by Adv Mpofu, my answer is simply by just taking into account what has been done in that Vrede report, whereby certain findings were directed into a certain direction, it casts some doubt on the Office of the Public Protector whether some people whom there is evidence against, can be cleared regardless of that.
Mr Maneli: My last question, paragraph 74 and 75 together. I want to check, for purposes of understanding what happened. Is it your version that in reality, from the point of appointment as an investigator, it was about investigating the former Premier of Free State and you did not have an appointment with the SG from a point of investigation? That indeed you would not be in the meeting for bringing a point about the SG in your affidavit? As a way of separating relationships that may be there, yours was on the investigation from a point of being an investigator?
Adv Raedani: That’s correct, from an investigation point of view, it was us investigating the former Premier of Free State rather than the Secretary General of the ruling party. What the Hon Member has just said now, it’s correct. There is a difference because it wouldn’t be allowed for us to investigate the Secretary General of a party, so ours was only confined to his tenure as the Premier of the Free State province.
Mr Nqola: Adv Raedani, have you read the remedial actions on the Vrede Dairy Project report?
Adv Raedani: Which one? The one we are talking about today?
Mr Nqola: Yes.
Adv Raedani: Yes, I’ve seen those remedial actions.
Mr Nqola: In your affidavit, paragraph 7.7, you say there as part of the PPSA investigators part of what you were obligated to do was to assess whether the remedial actions were appropriate and lawful. Now having to check the investigation into the project which you were part of and the remedial actions, would you say that the remedial actions were appropriate and lawful?
Adv Raedani: The remedial action mainly should speak to the findings. I think the remedial action was directed to the Premier – let me just verify if it was indeed directed to the Premier... just bear with me while I’m checking the report. Okay, yes, the first person to be directed to the remedial action was the Premier of the province and he was requested to initiate disciplinary hearings into the official involved. I think I alluded to that point earlier when I said that the officials involved in the project included also the Head of Department. So by looking at the findings and the way in which it is written in this final report, the remedial action were correctly directed to the Premier of the province, because the findings were made against officials of the department.
Mr Nqola: Okay, let’s take this matter that you were redeployed to a provincial office or somewhere else, without having been provided sufficient reasons for that particular action by the institution. As an advocate and as a labour unionist, do you regard that action as a just administrative action and a fair labour practice?
Adv Raedani: I think a fair labour practice will be determined by what is fair under the particular circumstances. What is fair will be determined by the circumstances of each case. At the particular time that I was transferred from the Private Office to the PII, I didn’t actually have any objection to my transfer, hence, I didn’t look into the fairness of it, and the unfairness part of it. So I really don’t say it is unfair. It might have been unfair to someone who wanted to remain in the Private Office of the PP, but with me, I had no problem.
Mr Nqola: Okay, let’s go to what you term as the dissolution of the Think Tank. In your view what has been the impact of the dissolution or the discontinuation of the Think Tank on the quality of the reports from the Public Protector South Africa?
Adv Raedani: The Think Tank was a crucial committee which was introduced by Adv Mushwana, and it had to look into the quality of the reports. Obviously, after the Think Tank was dissolved, the standard of reports went down, the quality was not that standard when the Think Tank was still operating.
Mr Nqola: You spoke about the Gupta Leaks, or else what has been termed the Gupta Leaks, and you spoke as though there was this instruction that the Gupta Leaks must not be used in respect to the investigation and the report of this investigation. Do you mind telling the Committee where did that instruction come from? Where did the instruction not to use the Gupta Leaks come from, in your understanding and knowledge? And were there any particular reasons that were given for those Leaks not to be used?
Adv Raedani: The instruction [poor internet connection] in the initial meeting... we raised the issue of the Gupta Leaks and that’s when he told us that the PP doesn’t want us to follow that avenue.
Mr Nqola: Are you done?
Adv Raedani: Yeah, I think I’ve answered you. You wanted to know the source.
Mr Nqola: No, it’s fine. Let’s agree that there has been a maximum embezzlement of public funds in respect of the Vrede Dairy farm project.
Adv Raedani: Yes, that’s correct. The funds were embezzled there.
Mr Nqola: Okay, would you therefore agree when someone says, amidst that embezzlement of the funds, the public was not protected by the Office of the Public Protector?
Adv Raedani: Yes, I can accept that during that process of the embezzlement of the funds, the Public Protector did not play its role, but it was difficult for... it was not easy for the Office of the Public Protector to intervene at that particular time, ours was only to investigate and report on that conduct as required by the Constitution. So if we have failed, we have failed in reporting part of it.
Mr Nqola: Okay, the last issue I would like to raise with you, would be the first witness that came to the Committee spoke about the entire purpose of the establishment of the Office of the Public Protector, which in any case, he referred us to two cases. The first certification case, and the second certification case. In both these cases there’s an agreement that the Public Protector’s Office is a very important office for the peoples’ democracy. It was given a status of part of, some sort of an ombuds. When you were approached by the evidence leaders to come and give testimony in this Committee, was your agenda against the incumbent Public Protector? Was the agenda for the benefit of the Office of the Public Protector whose importance I’ve just explained? Was the agenda about the people of South Africa who have suffered out of everything you have outlined in this Committee?
Adv Raedani: The agenda is about the Office and the importance of our constitutional democracy, and also about the people of our country who should go to that Office and get assistance, free of charge. And I wouldn't say that I had any agenda against the incumbent, but the agenda was to help the Committee arrive at the truth, based on whatever information I can share with the Committee about my time there at the Public Protector.
Mr Nqola: For your information, that is the only agenda that is bestowed upon this Committee.
Chairperson: Maybe just before we go towards conclusion, maybe three quick issues that I just want to test with you. Can you indicate briefly, if we did not have this enquiry as the National Assembly, were you ever going to raise these issues and report them, the ones that you have placed in your affidavit?
Adv Raedani: There was no appropriate forum for me to raise them, because I couldn’t raise any complaint... anything that was committed by the Public Protector when I was still within the Public Protector, because she was there. So basically to be honest, this process not being there, I was never going to raise the issues that I have raised today.
Chairperson: So you would recommend to us that there is something about the institution that we need to think about as Members of Parliament, beyond an individual who is a Public Protector?
Adv Raedani: That’s correct, Chair. There's something that you need to look at as Members of Parliament, about the institution of the Public Protector.
Chairperson: Okay, thank you, we’ll take that as our homework as well. Were you an employee of the Public Protector South Africa when it emerged that certain Rule 53 records for court were incomplete?
Adv Raedani: In relation to which report?
Chairperson: Whether it’s CIEX report or Vrede Dairy, whatever report, where these records were incomplete.
Adv Raedani: I can’t recall the Rule 53 records that I was involved in, because I was even involved in so far as consultation with counsel for this case of Vrede. I’m the one that assisted the head of legal to compile the records. I couldn’t recall if such Rule 53 information was insufficient.
Chairperson: Okay, my third area of brief reflection with you. I don’t know how you call that... but it’s brought into your affidavit, “anginandaba”, you introduced this thing, “anginandaba” as you coined it as something that the Public Protector would use. Would this “anginandaba” phrase be used in a jovial way, as informality amongst colleagues, or was this in a formal setting?
Adv Raedani: No, when she actually uttered “anginandaba” we were just sitting, we were two of us amongst... we were completing that report, and it was just after I said “this report, tomorrow everyone will be talking about it...”. That’s when the phrase was used, it was never used formally, it was something that she said informally.
Chairperson: So it would not define her leadership style?
Adv Raedani: I wouldn’t say... if it was in a recorded meeting and a formal meeting, but this was not a meeting, it was just between... we were just working on the report.
Adv Mpofu: Chairperson?
Chairperson: Adv Nditsheni, so if this came in your affidavit, were you bringing a gossip to us?
Adv Raedani: No, I was not bringing gossip. My main point was to say that I expressed my reservations about the report before it was actually published, and indeed the report was criticised the following day, left right and centre.
Chairperson: Okay, I will pause there. As I go to the Evidence Leaders, Adv Mpofu, you were trying to disrupt me, what were you trying to raise?
Adv Mpofu: No, Chair. I apologise, I was just trying to bring my hand to your attention, because it’s been up since you started. I’m just saying I’m objecting to your last question. You are again misrepresenting what the witness said. He never said, like you say, that this “used to happen”, he says at paragraph 67, that there was a specific instance where he was talking about commentators, the noise makers, he was worried that they would say this or that, in a particular setting. Then he said that it was “in response to my concern that the PP said anginandaba” in relation to that – not what you said like it used to be said and was it said... that was never said, it’s just misrepresenting the evidence. Thank you.
Chairperson: He has already answered my question, thank you very much, Adv Mpofu. I now recognise the Evidence Leaders in terms of 6.16 and 6.17, if there’s any issues you want to raise.
Adv Bawa: There are no issues of clarification.
Chairperson: Adv Nditsheni Raedani, you can switch on your video again. We have now reached the end of our session with you. Do you have anything to say to the Committee?
Adv Raedani: No, I actually don’t have anything, I think... it has been quite a long day for me.
Chairperson: Thank you very much, Adv Nditsheni Raedani, thank you for making time and coming and making your contributions through virtual. We appreciate; hopefully your contributions are going to assist us in our work. You are now excused. Before we close, Hon Members, just to make a couple of announcements. The time now is 8pm. We will pause tomorrow; we are asking Legal Services and Evidence Leaders, as well as the Public Protector legal team to give us an indicative programme of the remaining witnesses. Tomorrow we will not have a session to allow the time for that to be done. The ordinary committee meeting will take place on Tuesday 16 August where we receive that programme as a committee. We will resume with our next witnesses from Wednesday 17 August. So there is no rest because both the team and ourselves, the other work that we’re going to do. I thought I must make those announcements first; that’s why I have stretched this up until late today so that we were able to conclude with this witness. The important thing is that by next week, we must have a picture of our roadmap, having done nine witnesses by today. We certainly on Tuesday will be discussing that in our ordinary committee meeting, and resume the enquiry and the hearings as from Wednesday next week. Thank you very much, I adjourn the meeting.
Dyantyi, Mr QR
Denner, Ms H
Dlakude, Ms DE
Gondwe, Dr M
Hermans, Ms J
Herron, Mr BN
Joemat-Pettersson, Ms TM
King, Ms C
Legwase, Ms TI
Lotriet, Prof A
Mananiso, Ms JS
Maneli, Mr BM
Maotwe, Ms OMC
Mgweba, Ms T
Mileham, Mr K
Msimang, Prof CT
Mulder, Dr CP
Nkosi, Mr BS
Nodada, Mr BB
Nqola, Mr X
Siwela, Ms VS
Skosana, Mr GJ
Sukers, Ms ME
Tlhape, Ms ME
Tseke, Ms GK
Tshabalala, Ms J
Van Minnen, Ms BM
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