PP Inquiry day 45: Mr Muloa Lamula

Committee on Section 194 Enquiry

01 December 2022
Chairperson: Mr Q Dyantyi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


Motion initiating the Enquiry together with supporting evidence

Public Protector’s response to the Motion

Report from the Independent Panel furnished to the NA

The Section 194 Committee heard evidence from Mr Mulao Lamula, Public Protector South Africa (PPSA) Western Cape provincial representative.
Mr Lamula, giving evidence in support of the Public Protector, told the Committee that he joined the Office of the PP as a senior investigator in 2017. According to his affidavit: “I am of the firm view that some of the evidence has grossly misrepresented the situation at PPSA, the nature and purpose of the relevant meetings and the intentions and objectives of the Public Protector. I disagree with some of the evidence given on these topics.”

Mr Lamula testified that Adv Mkhwebane is hardworking and dedicated to her work. He said the Dashboard meetings – which many previous witnesses complained about – were intimidating, but were also a learning experience where staff, after time, got used to what is required of them.

Prior to joining PPSA, he worked with Adv Mkhwebane at the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) where she initiated measures and systems to deal with the “massive” backlogs there. Mr Lamula described their work at the DHA as “voluminous”. His responsibility was to deal with asylum applications.

Responding to a question from Adv Dali Mpofu, SC, regarding managing backlogs, Mr Lamula said “She was there in the fight against backlogs.” According to his affidavit, “Like all human beings, Adv Mkhwebane has her shortcomings but she has done an excellent service to the people of South Africa. To even associate her with incompetence is a grave concern. She is more than competent for the job of Public Protector.”

During questions from evidence leader Adv Nazreen Bawa, SC, the Committee heard that Mr Lamula worked under Adv Mkhwebane's unit from 2005 to 2006 at the DHA. According to him that however did not mean that his interaction with her stopped after 2006. Mr Lamula confirmed that he started at PPSA in June 2017, and was promoted to Western Cape representative in March 2022. He confirmed that his affidavit was drafted from his own experiences and he had not followed all the witness testimony.

During further questioning by Adv Bawa, Mr Lamula said there has been a gross misrepresentation that deadlines were imposed, that the PP wanted to be worshipped, and that they compromised quality for quantity – as per the testimony of previous witnesses. Adv Bawa pointed to the evidence that staff would ask for an extension, but it was not granted. Mr Lamula did not agree with this. “There was no imposition of deadlines. I never experienced a situation where deadlines were imposed. It was a suggested deadline,” he maintained.

Adv Bawa wanted to know from him if it was realistic to give complainants feedback every six weeks if an investigator had 50 cases, to which Mr Lamula said it is possible. She provided evidence that Mr Lamula was unable to do this himself and read out the content of his correspondence to the complainants in the SANParks matter.

Mr Lamula conceded that he had never seen the motion before the Committee, nor has he made input into any of the court matters that form part of the charges against the PP. He further agreed that he would be concerned if reports were issued without being peer-reviewed, which some witnesses claimed was the case in order to finalise matters.

Later, during questions by Members, he said he was taken through the charge sheet in preparation for his testimony. Several Members questioned the relevance of his testimony to the charges in the motion before the Committee.

Meeting report

Chairperson: On this day, 1 December 2022, let me take this opportunity to welcome the Hon Members here at M46, seven of them here, and Members on the virtual platform. I want to welcome the Public Protector with us at M46, as well as their legal team, led by Adv Dali Mpofu SC and both the evidence leaders, advocates Nazreen Bawa and Ncumisa Mayosi, the members of the public who are joining us on their various platforms, members of the media, ou0r entire support staff and today also, to have a special welcome to our witness, who will be introduced later. Today we are going to continue with our inquiry and taking the next witness on our programme and our list. I can see that the witness is not yet virtually here with us but he will find an opportunity to introduce himself. For that I want to go straight and invite Ms Fatima Ebrahim to do the preliminaries.

Ms Fatima Ebrahim: Thank you, Chair. Good morning to everybody. Good morning, Mr Lamula.

Mr Mulao Lamula: Good morning.

Ms Ebrahim: …to administer your oath.

Chairperson: If you can – as you're going to be here with us all day – that mic belongs to you so just try and “own it”.

Ms Ebrahim: You have been invited subject to the provisions of section 16 of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures act of 2004 to appear before this Committee as a witness and to answer questions in respect of the Committee's inquiry into the removal of role of the Public Protector, Adv Mkhwebane. Please be informed that by law you are required to answer fully and satisfactorily all the questions lawfully put to you, or to produce any document that you are required to produce in connection with the subject matter of the inquiry, notwithstanding the fact that the answer or the document could incriminate you, or expose you to criminal or civil proceedings or damages. You are, however, protected in that the evidence given under oath or affirmation before a House or Committee may not be used against you in any court or place outside of Parliament except in criminal proceedings concerning a charge of perjury, or a charge relating to the evidence or documents required in these proceedings. Please be aware further that in terms of section 17(2) of the Powers Act, a person who willfully furnishes a House or Committee with information, or makes a statement before it which is false or misleading, commits an offence and is liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years. Mr Lamula, you will now be required to take either an oath or to affirm that the evidence you are about to give is truthful. Do you prefer to take the oath or the affirmation of the oath.

Mr Mulao Lamula: The oath.

Ms Ebrahim: May I please ask that you raise your right hand and repeat after me. I swear that the evidence I shall give –

Mr Lamula: I swear that the evidence I shall give –

Ms Ebrahim: Shall be the truth –

Mr Lamula: Shall be the truth –

Ms Ebrahim: The whole truth –

Mr Lamula: The whole truth –

Ms Ebrahim: And nothing but the truth –

Mr Lamula: And nothing but the truth –

Ms Ebrahim: So help me God.

Mr Lamula: So help me God.

Ms Ebrahim: Chair, the witness is now duly sworn in.

Chairperson: Thank you, Ms Ebrahim. Welcome Mr Lamula. Thank you for joining us. I am going to acknowledge and invite Adv Mpofu to engage with you. To Adv Mpofu, just to indicate that you have the time between now and lunchtime. If you need we go to lunch time but I would be happy if we can do it before that.

Adv Mpofu: Good morning, Chairperson. I will certainly try to do that, Chairperson.

Chairperson: We are in your hands, Adv Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu: Hon Dlakude, are you okay? Good morning, Mr Lamula.

Mr Lamula: Thobela

Adv Mpofu: How are you?

Mr Lamula: Ja, I’m fine.

Chairperson: Get closer to the mic. We have to hear everything you say.

Mr Lamula: I'm okay.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you. Alright, Mr Lamula, we are going to try and do your evidence tight, and the reason we are hopeful that we will meet the Chairperson’s deadline, is because your statement is not that long. But of course some of the issues will need to be fleshed out. With your assistance – or you made a point that we should indicate that you have a middle name, Ronnius.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: So that you give all the information to the Committee. Now, you – sorry, I didn't get an indication from the evidence leaders which sections –

Adv Bawa: I just remarked that it was such a short affidavit that I didn't think it was necessary. That's fine, but I mean, you can lead him –

Adv Mpofu: If I lead him on something that might be contentious, then Adv Bawa will indicate. Okay, let's do it that way. Thank you. Right. I'm just going to lead you through the background. But before I do that, because of some experience that we have had – there is a newfound enthusiasm for relevance, which we've been trying to talk about for months. I'm going to start by aligning your evidence to what it is that it is relevant to you. You may not have seen the charge sheet yourself but require witnesses just to deal with what is on the charge sheet. It's not for you to read the charge sheet. Okay. Now one of the issues in this enquiry is – sorry, Chair, let me first introduce the witness, so that even that will make sense. You are currently employed at the Public Protector’s Office. Right?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: And what is your position?

Mr Lamula: Provincial Representative of the Western Cape.

Adv Mpofu: The provincial representative of the Western Cape

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Okay. So if you've been following some of the witnesses, that would be the same position that was held by Mr Samuel in the Free State.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Okay. Good. And when did you join the Public Protector’s Office?

Mr Lamula: 2017 June.

Adv Mpofu: And in what capacity?

Mr Lamula: A senior investigator.

Adv Mpofu: In which unit?

Mr Lamula: GGI.

Adv Mpofu: GGI which stands for?

Mr Lamula: Good Governance and Integrity.

Adv Mpofu: Right. You are quite well qualified if I may put it that way. We'll just go through some of your qualifications and confirm. You hold a BJuris degree from Unisa which you completed in 2003. You also have an LLB Bachelor of Law which you completed at Unisa in 2008. But you also have a Master of Laws in human rights law completed 2017.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: And you have another LLM in Property Law completed in 2019.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Currently you are studying for an LLD so you're soon going to be called Dr Lamula.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Okay.

Mr Lamula: If I pass.

Adv Mpofu: We’re assuming that will happen. You also have various post-matric qualifications: Certificate in Forensic Investigative Audits.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: That one is relevant to your current job.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Strategic Management, well, that's also relevant.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Legislative Drafting.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Migration Policy.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Enforcement of Socio-Economic Rights?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: The one that caught my eye is a Certificate: Security Officer Grades E, D, and C, which is accredited by PSIRA.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: What does that mean? Does that mean you were once a security guard?

Mr Lamula: Yes, I was a security guard for ATS while studying for my first qualification.

Adv Mpofu: Wow. Maybe we should call you Dr before you pass your LLD.

Mr Lamula: Thank you.

Adv Mpofu: So you come from what we may call humble beginnings.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you. Now I think I put this to Mr Samuel as well. I know it's not a formal title but is it fair colloquially to say when you hold the position that you now hold, effectively you are the Public Protector of the Western Cape? In other words, that's how you are viewed. You perform the functions of the Public Protector, but obviously not nationally, but within your province.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Thanks. That means unlike when you're working for a particular unit at head office, you are now the leader of the office here. You have to worry about HR and whether people come on time and ceremonial appearances and that kind of thing.

Mr Lamula: It is the whole package.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you. Maybe briefly you can just explain to the committee what a representative entails apropos of what I've just said of being, quote unquote, the provincial PP.

Mr Lamula: The office has got core functions and administration functions. The core functions are our investigations, our stakeholder engagement, it's where we do outreach. So I'm responsible for planning and approving those core functions or to sign off reports as delegated by the Public Protector. I do engage in meetings with stakeholders, as well as I do the function of the CFO because it's a fully fledged office. It's not only the Western Cape, Cape Town office, we've also got a regional office which reports to the Cape Town office. I also exercise my powers over that office.

Adv Mpofu: So all things that you find in an office in your province, you do them but, but then we'll get to your experience. I'll just run through some of your previous work experience, but for the attention of the members. I will highlight or ask them to watch out as I go through your experience, particularly for your experience in the area of investigation – how wide it is. Okay. Right. You will tell me if there's more than that but it's obviously there's specific investigation or other reference to investigations. So you started at Home Affairs in 2004 to 2013?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: You had the following positions: Refugee Status Determination Officer: Immigration Services.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Investigator: Control Immigration Office: Central Law Enforcement and Special Investigations.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Assistant Director: Counter-Corruption, Security and Integrity Management?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Okay, so that particular job is related to governance?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: That's also something we're going to talk about. Acting Deputy Director: Counter-Corruption: Security and Integrity Management; so you got promoted in that particular space?

Mr Lamula: No, I was Acting.

Adv Mpofu: Oh, fair enough. Then Deputy Director: Immigration Services; Acting Director: Immigration Services.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Then you also worked at the Public Service Commission?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: I think we'd like the Committee to take advantage of that by you giving us a comparative analysis, in a way locating the Public Protector's Office within the broader public service, because you've had that experience. Right? And you are the Deputy Director of Public Administration Investigation and Audits. Again it was in an investigative capacity.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Then we know what you're doing at the Public Protector now. Firstly, I must thank you upfront for availing yourself. The Chairperson will thank you at the end. But for our part, because you know, we have found that this is difficult. There's a lot of reluctance for people who are still at the Public Protector's Office to assist us. There was a big rush to testify before but for obvious reasons… So we'd like to thank you for assisting the Committee despite whatever risks that might entail, and can gain.

Adv Bawa: To start off with, just to correct Adv Mpofu, and I have said that before. There was no big rush to assist us. There were still those like Mr Lamula, when we approached people, they were prepared to do their bit.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you, Adv Bawa. So I will call it a relative rush. Because the difference is that maybe Adv Bawa and I had to do a bit of persuasion, which I accept. But our PSA, even our precision ads didn't work. So well. I learned from him; next time I’ll switch on the charm. Thank you. Right. Chair, by the way, Adv Matlape is not able to join us today. For the record – she has not walked out

Chairperson: Accepted Adv Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu: Now then we come to the point that I wanted to start off prematurely with. What I wanted to say to you, Mr Lamula, also indirectly addressing the Members, is that one of the charges relates to at least some of your colleagues who came here whether they were rushing to come here or not, if justified mainly around a charge that deals with victimisation, intimidation and harassment.

Mr Lamula: Okay.

Adv Mpofu: Which I will unpack to you now. Those are the areas that I want you to assist us with. Now okay, well, victimisation can mean anything, somebody can lock you up in a room for the whole day or for the whole week, whatever. So it means we must unpack what was the brand of victimisation that was testified about? And I'll summarise it as follows. It is mainly with five areas, which I will canvas with you in your evidence that are also contained in your statement. But as I said, just so that we don't have to go through that exercise again. I want to unpack them so that everyone knows what charge we're dealing with here. The broad topic is: Struggles between misconduct and incompetence. There's a suggestion that the Public Protector is incompetent generally and with specific reference to what I'm going to talk to you about. You understand that?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: Now as far as the misconduct… the misconduct elements would relate to this, but mostly would relate to specific things for the CIEX, what have you. I'm not going to ask you about the misconduct in a direct fashion except insofar as it relates to so-called victimisation and so on. Now the brand of harassment, intimidation and victimisation so-called, that was testified about included the following issues which I'm going to cover with you. One is the whole issue of deadlines, right. So a witness would have come here and say, “Well, I was victimised”, or rather “I felt victimised” or other people were victimised because there were unreasonable deadlines, just making an example. Okay. The second issue, which is related to the first one obviously, would be around the whole issue of backlog, chasing the backlog. So again, I'm summarising people who say "Look, we understand that the backlog has to be chased, but the line was crossed, because…" whatever they said, but under that rubric of backlogs, okay. The third one would be the issuing of audi letters. So another person will say, “Well, I was fine. I don't mind about backlogs” and so on "But I was victimised because I've got hundreds of the audi letters" or whatever, whatever they'll say, but it will be under that topic. The fourth one is around, shall we call it a leader's leadership style. So for example, one witness came in and said the Public Protector wanted to be worshipped, and to be called madam, bowed down to, and say stuff like that. It says that brand of less quality leadership style, excuse me. Then the fifth one would be around, let's call it inflexibility/insensitivity. So for example, there were allusions to put it mildly to one of the people you refer to in your statement, Mr Madiba, who was as we all know, the sickly person and he actually passed away. But there was a suggestion that the Public Protector was harsh on him. I think it fell short of saying he passed away because of her. But those are the five brands of “harassment, intimidation and victimisation” that we have been presented with. Now I'm going to cover each one of those with you. Sometimes there might be overlaps but that's the framework.

Mr Lamula: Okay. Understood.

Adv Mpofu: Okay. Good. All right. Now you say that… Yes, okay. Just for good measure. Let me just deal quickly with this one, we were talking about the scope of your work as a provincial representative. If you go to page 202 of the statement, as an attachment there, just to give a taste of the kinds of things you get involved in. If you can scroll down to the pictures? That's even better. Mine is in black and white. If possible, can we have both pictures. Okay, that's fine. Looks like we can only have one. I mean, this is the kind of thing that will be done on a larger scale by the Public Protector herself, but this picture shows what you and I were discussing at a provincial level. You might have to do something like this. This actually happened this Monday, correct?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: You can tell us what was happening here briefly.

Mr Lamula: What you see in those photos is what is normally referred to as proof of implementation of the remedial action of the Public Protector. I was not there on holiday. I was there to oversee the implementation of the remedial action of the Public Protector's report that was issued in January relating to the failure to build a house for Ms Bosman. Ms Bosman is one of those “Gogo Dlaminis” that we have often referred to. Despite her application for a low cost house being approved in 2009, bBut between 2009 and 2020, there was nothing happening until her son approached the Office of the Public Protector in George, our regional office in George, to complain. Through the intervention of the Public Protector, through the report, the house was built. It was a painful thing to see where they were staying. Before this house was built, it was not something that should be allowed to go uncorrected because they just stayed in a structure extended with plastics and all this metal stuff. So it's one of those things that a provincial rep on behalf of the Public Protector will do and ensure that it's not only handing over but we do conduct inspection of that house to ensure that it was properly built. The explanation from the municipalities is that it is what the occupant must take care of.

Adv Mpofu: That's good. Thank you. So it's not just a photo opportunity, but you also check if indeed, the remedial action is being implemented?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: To the T.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you. I raised this really because we had a witness yesterday, Mr Nyathela, who I think pointed out something valid, that some of us have not even recognised, which is the fact that, you know, we forget about this type of work of the Public Protector. We're concerned about what he called the high-flown cases that involve the high and mighty. But I think everyone knows that actually the in terms of numbers, the tens of thousands of work that is done by the Public Protector is at this level, it's not the things that end up on the front pages of newspapers.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Do you know Mr Nyathela?

Mr Lamula: Yes, I know Mr Nyathela. He is one of our regular complainants; he is a very resilient complainant. He can educate you if you are someone who does not understand what you're supposed to do. Yeah. He is a very resilient complainant.

Adv Mpofu: He can definitely educate those who are educable. What do you think a person who's willing to learn can learn from a person like Mr Nyathela?

Mr Lamula: You can learn a lot. Complainants are not like uneducated people but some of them will do research on your behalf and they give you everything. Of course, you have to verify that. So you should not just dismiss complainants on the face of it. It also goes with the attitude of the investigator. If you have got a positive attitude, you will learn and do wonders when you collaborate with the complainant. It works wonders when you see the problems of the complainant through their eyes and you understand their pain. Unlike when you don't see them, and you are just working on documentation. However, the moment you consult with the complainant one on one, you can feel the pain; you can see the pain in their eyes.

Adv Mpofu: No, thank you. I think the majority of the Members felt – at least they articulated that they felt the pain in Mr Nyathela’s voice and articulation. Some people thought he was just making noise. But thank you for that. So you have your say in your statement that you have obviously not followed all the witnesses or everything that has been said but you at your level are aware of what we're busy with here and you followed some of the proceedings. That then brings us to paragraph seven of your statement which I don't have to guess that it is contentious. I'm going to ask you just specific questions now. You say that you are of the firm view that some of the evidence that has been given here has grossly misrepresented the true situation at the Public Protector's Office. You also say the nature and purpose of the relevant meetings and the intentions and objectives of the Public Protector have also been misrepresented. And you say that you disagree with some of the evidence given on these topics. And you will therefore share your own experiences and observations in the hope that this will assist the Committee in the performance of its task. So let's just start with that. Yes. Now I'm not going to ask you now to define what you mean by how these topics have been misrepresented, but we'll deal with it when we deal with the actual topics okay. But I just wanted to confirm that basically is your departure point.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: And on the positive side. You say at paragraph eight that you do agree with what all the employee witnesses have confirmed, namely that the Public Protector is a leader who is dedicated to her work.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: That she's highly driven.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: That she's hardworking.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: That she leads by example, and is highly focused on delivering services to all members of the public, especially the downtrodden.

Mr Lamula: Correct. The photo had already proven that.

Adv Mpofu: Yes, as the photo attests. Okay, well, we might be good with the photos but it looks like we're not good with spelling. That downtrodden was supposed to be “th”. Okay. You know, some of us are always right or wrong. Okay. Okay, I'll take Adv Bawa’s spelling lesson. But now, what I really want to say. And that's how I’m going to follow your evidence is to juxtapose between those two, those areas where you agree with the other witnesses, which I don't think are contested much. But more focusing on those where you disagree with their approach, as it were. Now as I explained to you, the real story about the charges that you are called upon to testify on, as well as what one might call the atmosphere of incompetence and all that. Mainly deal with as we said to some witness, nobody has said the Public Protector beat people up, was drunk at work or whatever. It was all about the operations, how things are done. Whether it was discipline or chasing deadlines and that kind of thing. That activity, so to speak, plays itself out mostly in the performance meetings, of which there are various types and with all sorts of names. There's the Dashboard, there's Full Bench, there's task team, there's Think Tank, and all that. But all those are operational meetings to do to deal with performance.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: These various fancy names are just to distinguish the one meeting from the other depending on when this one is attended by so and so, this one is attended by another person, but the vision is the same.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: But now maybe you can tell the Members what we also know that the executive managers are in charge of different units. I think there are four or five of them. Yours was GGI?

Mr Lamula: Yes, correct.

Adv Mpofu: Can you tell us what was the specific focus of GGI and the hierarchy up to the top?

Mr Lamula: In GGI, you have assistant investigators, investigators, senior investigators, chief investigator, executive manager who reports to the COO, then the CEO and the like.

Adv Mpofu: The COO and CEO report to the Public Protector?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: In your unit, who was the executive manager?

Mr Lamula: It was Mr Stoffel at one point, then later it was Ms Mogaladi.

Adv Mpofu: Mogaladi and Stoffel, that would be Adv Stoffel Fourie?

Mr Lamula: Then at one point Ms Nelisiwe Nkabinde acted in that position.

Adv Mpofu: Okay, now then we don't have to define it for some of those people who were here and they gave us the landscape but now I want us to talk about that matrix that I gave you earlier to talk about this part – Dashboards meetings in particular about which you say that – I think you said something like when you got there you were wondering when there would be a meeting like that.

Mr Lamula: Correct

Adv Mpofu: I assume that goes to your previous experience of similar meetings in the various positions you've held . They might not have been called Dashboard meetings, but that type of meeting.

Mr Lamula: In particular the Public Service Commission.

Adv Mpofu: In particular the Public Service Commission.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: Okay, what was the equivalent meeting at the Public Service Commission?

Mr Lamula: The PP’s Dashboard will be equivalent to Triple C or the Public Service Commission, which was constituted by five commissioners.

Adv Mpofu: Five of the PSC Commissioners?

Mr Lamula: Yes. Then the PSC management, your DDGs, and chief directors as well as investigators present their letters in front of those five commissioners.

Adv Mpofu: So this is quite a serious meeting.

Mr Lamula: Very serious

Adv Mpofu: As if it was a company having five board members and the CEO –

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: – and your immediate senior you report to and yourself.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: So that would have been a rather intimidating type of meeting?

Mr Lamula: Yeah, it was intimidating. And it was scary. On the same side, it was a learning curve where you go to build your confidence there because we're talking about five commissioners coming from various backgrounds, and you present your case. And at times, definitely, it's a subject matter where two or three commissioners, they can take you apart. Then you go and, and learn again. So it was scary on the other side. But as time goes on, you get used to what it is that is needed of you. Like I said, if you've got a positive attitude, you learn and do better every day.

Adv Mpofu: Good. And in fact, yes, I found that I was going to link that to something else, yeah, let's do that now. As we're asking you questions, we'll also get to know where you are, and how you look at things. So the PP’s Dashboard would then have – I don’t know if this is the right terminology – would be at the head table, so to speak

Mr Lamula: At the PP’s Dashboard, it will be the Public Protector, the Deputy Public Protector, the CEO, COO, and your executive managers and us investigators, who will be presenting those matters, including provincial representatives (PR), so it was a fully fledged setup.

Adv Mpofu: Covering the landscape, the full landscape –

Mr Lamula: Even in the Public Service Commission, you have got provincial directors who may be joining because they are matters of national importance; they are not of provincial competence. So it was merely a mirror of one another.

Adv Mpofu: You had – and I'm just pausing on this, to introduce another element of your broad outlook and background and experience. You have given evidence that part of your extensive experience was gained in the Department of Home Affairs, correct?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Now both at Home Affairs and PSC, you held positions to do with investigations, similar to the one you're holding at GGI?

Mr Lamula: Correct. Yeah. Yeah, I will say so. Remember the PSC covers national and provincial departments, whereas in Home Affairs, it was more immigration, citizenship, it was more internal on all those laws that are administered by the Department of Home Affairs, in collaboration with other state law agencies like NPA, police, former Scorpions, yeah. Organised crime syndicates.

Adv Mpofu: Yeah, yes, yes. But from the point of view of what is of interest to this Committee. So let's say an investigation is an investigation. Obviously, an investigation at the PP Office is not going to be the same thing at Home Affairs. Yeah. But in terms of file handling, that kind of thing.

Mr Lamula: It is the same.

Adv Mpofu: It is the same thing. Because –

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: All right. I’m doing this comparative analysis. You've told us about the -- let's call it seniority of the representation in the meetings. But I'm talking now about something different, which is the volume. When you talk about volume of files, comparing the Public Protector to what you were used to at Home Affairs, which one would be more voluminous?

Mr Lamula: In Home Affairs, even now it is known that this is voluminous work. When the Public Protector joined, she just landed on top of the backlog. It was very voluminous. We're talking thousands per office. It was really enough for a year or two years or three years, if we don't put strategies to deal with that, because most of the complaints went into the backlog

Adv Mpofu: We could say that compared comparatively speaking, I'm not saying that there’s less work at the PP Office, but comparatively speaking, it's chalk and cheese, the volumes that you're dealing with as, let's say, per person.

Mr Lamula: Public Protector is manageable. It's breathable, you can breathe.

Adv Mpofu: Good. Just to tie up something that you've mentioned. It is true, isn't it that at some stage you and the Public Protector were working at Home Affairs around the same time.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: That's around 2008.

Mr Lamula: 2005 up to 2008, around that.

Adv Mpofu: To the extent that there was a common space, that space dealt with backlogs.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Dealt with the massive backlogs that you referred to –

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Which are much, much more than the PP Office

Mr Lamula: Yeah. Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Okay, so that's then that covers two topics.

Adv Bawa: I’m just suggesting to Adv Mpofu that the level of leading must maybe be managed.

Adv Mpofu: Okay, so okay. Sorry, I didn't think that was contentious. Where did you know the Public Protector from? In which department did you first meet her?

Mr Lamula: She phoned me in the Department of Home Affairs. In fact we welcomed her to the Department of Home Affairs.

Adv Mpofu: What type of unit or work were you doing at the time?

Mr Lamula: I was a refugee status determination officer, I was in charge of identification, as well as passports, we're talking face value documents, as well as dealing with applications for refugee status.

Adv Mpofu: Can you just give the Members a picture of the intensity of that work, what it what it actually involves, both in terms of the nature of the work and the volumes.

Mr Lamula: It was voluminous, because at that time, people come into the country in volume, then they will apply for refugee status. Some got rejected and appealed, so there was a continuous building of the backlog. But I was dealing with identification, as well as travel documents, your passports, there's also a backlog in that because you're not just given a passport. You were interviewed first to determine if you qualify for that passport. There will be people who qualify, but they don't have the required money to pay for that passport. It was one of a lot of challenges. That backlog when the Public Protector joined us, I think it took us all around three to six months to normalise it, not to finish, just to normalise it, the identification and travel documents. I'm not talking about the refugee status applications that are scattered all over the country, I'm just talking about the head office. Maybe I'm talking 10% of the workload, the whole refugee directorate. So it was very voluminous work that we are facing. And while you are facing these challenges, there are also threats of litigation for failing to make a decision within a particular period. now you have to balance the interests of the Department and those of the refugees. So it was more of a service deliberate thing Because at the end of the day, you need to deliver the service to these people.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you. That then deals with two topics, one, which you have already covered, which is your own experience in this backlog area for lack –

Mr Lamula: Yeah

Adv Mpofu: But also the fact that the Public Protector herself was not a stranger when she got to the management of backlogs.

Mr Lamula: No, no, no, she has been there in the fight of backlogs. She has put the initiatives in Home Affairs to deal with the backlogs. I remember there was even an intervention that's open today; those who are familiar with Pretoria, she opened the show grounds office just to deal with the backlog. Backlogs cannot be dealt with in terms of overtime only. You just need people who are dedicated; people who are service delivery-driven. You need a leader who is there all the time when you need them. So that's how maybe she was able to deal with the backlog in Home Affairs. And when she entered the Public Protector’s Office, I don't think she was scared of the backlog, because what she had seen in Home Affairs. I think maybe when she first came there she was like, this is how I'm going to work, is it a welcome? So our backlog is not that scary.

Adv Mpofu: Now in terms of a complaint about working hours, in terms of working hours, and how did you deal with that issue at Home Affairs, were you saying that the backlogs were much more voluminous and intimidating and scary.

Mr Lamula: There were instances where there was overtime paid. But most of the time, it was through dedication, we will form teams voluntarily to say we are going to push until Saturday. Of course, the Public Protector and her deputy were always there and the assistant to give us guidance. So it was matters of the heart to say, at the end of the day, I want to get out of this backlog so that I can float. It was not only overtime, it also puts on our own to say we need to deal with this thing and finish it. Because management was also encouraging us to say let's find ways to deal with this. Of course, there was additional staff that was brought in to deal with the backlog. But even if you bring the additional staff, and they land in a negative environment, they would be affected by that negativity. The additional staff that came found that we are positive, we are results driven. So that's how we managed to at least make it an impactful collaboration.

Adv Mpofu: Through what you've described, what kind of impact/effectiveness/dent did you make to that otherwise scary backlog at Home Affairs?

Mr Lamula: It was very impactful. Like I said, the IDs and passports within six months, it was the manager, then we were left with refugees status determination outcomes. It sort of allowed for other additional staff to focus on the other areas of the backlog, so that we can deal with those areas where we see the bottlenecks. But it was an impactful exercise, considering that we were not really paid overtime, it was part of our own free will. Management was there sometimes to buy us lunch on Saturdays. It was impactful. I think it's one area that also made me resilient. When I see a backlog, I don't get really scared to say, where will I start. I think even the Public Protector has the same attitude to say, but a backlog needs to be dealt with in that context.

Adv Mpofu: And could you have made that impact on backlogs, and service our people without making certain sacrifices yourselves as persons, I suppose also your families, and that kind of thing?

Mr Lamula: Well, like I said, it was self-sacrifice. Some came, they could not cope, they left. I remember there were some recruitments that were done from graduates and some (in three or four months) could not cope, they left. I'm not saying I’m boastful that I remained there because I have to do something, because that is what the government wants to be done. You have to serve the people wholeheartedly. So having been there, and having seen it, and still continuing to see it is not something that really I get worried about when I see a backlog. So there was a very huge impact with the systems that were put in place when dealing with that backlog. And some of those systems could still be applicable even now. It's only that I've lost touch with the Department but the way that came in and permanent systems were put in place to deal with the backlog, and how to prevent it from happening.

Adv Mpofu: And let's just put it this way, that stage, would you ever have dreamt that some of the people at the helm of that project of chasing deadlines, making you to do those sacrifices, if it was the DG people like that could be impeached or dismissed for that effort?

Mr Lamula: No, no, not at all.

Adv Mpofu: Right. Now you've spoken about attitude. And you say in paragraph 12: "Personally, I was always looking forward to presenting my work at Dashboard meetings". That's not the attitude we'll pick up from some of the witnesses, they probably hoped the Dashboard meeting should never come. So it looks like we had, as I put it to the witness, Ms Thejane, we had two camps. I don't mean that in any negative way, two schools of thought in terms of attitude to service delivery at your office. Why did you look forward to the Dashboard meetings?

Mr Lamula: Because the Dashboard meetings are interactive, you learn, you gain, you lose. Coming from the PSC, there was never a situation whereby a report will go out that going through CCC. So when I joined the Public Protector, I heard about Think Tank, Quality Assurance there and there, but I preferred to go there with my report presented to get criticised, get peer reviewed by my colleagues, the same way it was happening in the PSC. So when it was not happening, I was like, is this real? How do you quality assure this document; one person cannot do this job. It has to be discussed, so this collective agreement is collective liability. Unlike if it is one person, if it is a collective one, mistakes are basically picked up because we don't come from the same universities. Some of them speak nice English. Some write nicely. Some of us just write. So when you get there, you are criticised, you learn. The intention is that in Dashboard meetings you learn. Even the managers learn – it’s because it's not about rank. It's about collective of intellectuals meeting together and discussing matters. So I was looking forward to that as well as to share my experience from the Public Service Commission and from the Department of Home Affairs – how we handled the issues.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you. Yes, you've just mentioned the issue of peer-to-peer learning. To what extent was that applicable to you personally now, as part of what you would look forward to; would you only learn from your own presentations and your own mistakes, as you’ve said, or from presentations of other people?

Mr Lamula: Even from presentations from other people, sometimes you find that you are dealing with a procurement-related matter, and this person is presenting before you, then as you look into your own document, you can now see but there is something that I have missed, then you learn from that. And when you present you already have something up to say section whatever or paragraph whatever is going to be amended, because I picked up something from investigators so and so that there's a new law, there's a new circular that has been issued. So you learn from your peers and develop – like your study groups, your stokvels, so to say, because you discuss even before we go to the Full Bench, people will share to see how to deal with those matters.

Adv Mpofu: Okay, again, I suppose that's a question of attitude.

Mr Lamula: Yes. You may not learn, but if you want, you will learn because you want to be an improved person, to render a quality document, to render quality service delivery to the person affected.

Adv Mpofu: Yes. And it's also an issue of attitude in the sense that for you, it might be something you look forward to. Someone else might say 'No, I don't mind if I’m criticised but it must be in some private office, not in front of other people'. That's what I want to ask you. Of course, I know exactly what you mean. I've been in those types of meetings. Would you find that the ability to learn from other people's mistakes is enhanced in a bigger meeting where people present in front of others, or when you present privately?

Mr Lamula: You learn in an open forum. That's why we've got classrooms. That's why we've got lecture rooms. That's why even our Constitution subscribes to transparency. But if you learn in a corner, it is between you, the two of you, and sometimes the two of you are blind, so you are just misleading one another. But in an open forum, there is nothing that cannot be attended to. So those meetings, because they are open forums, transparency was also promoted in essence.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you, and in a way, the open forum, was it less or more prone to abuse. In other words, if someone was abusing you in a corner, whereas if there are other people who are witnesses, which one is more helpful to the protection, let's say, of the people who are presenting?

Mr Lamula: With things that are done in corners or in the dark, there are no witnesses and you are prone to be abused or to be taken advantage of. But in an open forum, there are always witnesses and people's conscience to say but I can't do this thing in front of people. So it's not so easy to abuse people in front of other people, unless you don't have a heart.

Adv Mpofu: In your experience in these meetings, at whatever level, particularly in the PP’s Office in particular, did you ever experience someone abusing and disrespecting anyone?

Mr Lamula: No, I have not experienced that. By the way, our meetings are recorded. I believe that if there was any disrespect or abuse, there should be evidence, because all our meetings were recorded, but I've not seen or had that experience.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you. I was using the Dashboard experience, as I said, to deal with the broader issues. Now let's talk specifically about the deadlines. There's been a lot of evidence here and I'd like you to assist us again – I do not know yet if it's deliberate discussions or honest – again, people could be looking at the same car, and they see different things as it were. You can assist us because the Committee will need to make up its mind on this. And I'll just pick out one issue. We have heard four or five witnesses who confirm what the Public Protector will say in her evidence, namely that actually people mostly, let me not say mostly, let me not calibrate it, but that people would sometimes fail to meet their own deadlines. In other words, deadlines imposed by them. Then there were another number of witnesses – and again, it's not a matter of counting. We just want to know which is the truth? In fact, one of them even said, this idea of self-imposed deadlines is a myth. I think that was – I can't remember. One of the last two witnesses. So to assist us on this, was the system that is based on deadlines imposed by yourself or were the deadlines all coming from the top, gun next to the head, do or die if you don't meet it, you are bust type of situation; which one is true?

Mr Lamula: Look, this is how it works. My own experience, I don't know how other people have experienced it. Seldom would the Public Protector impose her own deadline. Deadlines were suggested or discussed and you agree to say, okay, I can do it. But when you receive a file as an investigator, that's what we call an investigation plan. In which you are going to put all the steps that you have to follow in that particular matter. Those steps have got dates. So you are just putting your own dates up to the end of the investigation. If it is a GGI matter, it will be from the date in which you received it for 24 months. And if it is a service delivery matter, those steps in the investigation plan are for 12 months. So that investigation plan has to be signed by the chief investigator who agreed to say yes, these are our milestones. These are deadlines per activity. If you miss or if you don't follow that investigation plan, then you go to a Dashboard meeting. The first thing that we're asked at a Dashboard meeting is, where are you in terms of your investigation plan? There is no way that the Public Protector or the CEO whoever can just say you have failed this is the deadline you are asked for where you are in terms of your investigation plan. If your investigation plan is in order, then you don't have anything to explain. You say, this is where I am. And you are off. If your investigation plan is there but you're not following it, then you are given an opportunity to say you have failed to meet 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and how you will rectify that. Then you can propose that for this item I can do it on this date for this one is on this date, and some of the days are unrealistic. As I said, it's a suggestion. If some of them are unrealistic in terms of them being short, or being longer that's when they get revised to say, but this has to be done by this particular date. At the end of the day, you agree to say okay, I can do it.

Adv Mpofu: Good. Thank you. This is very important. So I'm going to break it down into two levels, to see if I'm understanding you correctly. On the one hand, saying that the oganisational deadlines – there is evidence here about that.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: So we know if the matter is this, it’s 12 months, if it’s that, it’s 24 months. Then you're saying now within that framework, there's this thing called an investigation plan. Now let's talk about the investigation plan. So obviously, you already come in with a predetermined deadline, depending on the type of the matter.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Because that's clearly a protocol and organisational framework.

Mr Lamula: It’s a system that –

Adv Mpofu: A service standard. And is it correct just for the sake of completion, that some of the deadlines such as the [unclear 1:28:36] one actually comes from the statute?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: So again, it's predetermined.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: I think we understand by now. What I want to deal with is what we'll call the second layer. The investigation plan. Now that is based on a particular method; no statute can prescribe in respect of a particular matter. Now who is the author of the investigation plan, and I'm doing this apropos the topic I'm discussing with you now as to whether the deadlines are self-imposed or externally imposed. Who does that? There’s a matter one is investigating, such as Ms Dlakude for this and another person for that and so on? Who does the investigation plan?

Mr Lamula: The investigator.

Adv Mpofu: So that's imposed from outside?

Mr Lamula: No, the investigator or the senior investigator. The person who has been allocated that matter.

Adv Mpofu: Can we go to item 31.2.3 of – it’s not a paragraph, it's something we posted. Anyway, when it comes [on the screen] we’ll refer to it, but for the sake of progress, I've just asked the questions abstractly. Now does an investigation plan contain its own deadlines, so to speak, or timelines, whatever you call it?

Mr Lamula: Yes. Because without those timelines, you can't measure your work. So for every step that we take, there is a timeline. Like our investigation standards – allow me to explain – our investigation standards require us to say when you receive a file within a particular period, five days, you have to introduce yourself to the complainant. It has to be in the investigation file to say, between this date and this date, I have to introduce myself. Then from there it will say within 10 days from proceeding, you have to log issues with the complainant, then you have to write a date to say when you’re going to look at this complaint. By the way, you have to have evidence that you have conducted that complaint in the file. If by email, you have to print a copy and put it in the file and you have to update your investigation diary to say it's not only that I called this, I did this step. So it is something that is regulated and there is evidence that you have done those steps. The critical thing is that you write those dates.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you very much. When you go to the Dashboard meeting, let's assume now, I've done those things, I've put all 10 or 15 timelines in my own investigation plan. And now I go to the Dashboard, what happens?

Mr Lamula: If you go to the Dashboard meeting, maybe to do a reporting exercise to say where I am, this is how far I am. If you followed the investigation plan, there are no disputes; there is no discussions. But if you have not, then that's where there is much explanation. Then the whole management will be irritated to say, how did you not meet your deadlines? Or sometimes we find that there is an investigation plan. I'm talking to express myself also being part of it. There is an investigation plan but you did not follow it. So when you get to the Dashboard, you will be asked where you are in terms of investigation plan, then if you are not near, and you start mumbling and stumbling, and of course management won't take it lightly, so it's one of those things.

Adv Mpofu: Okay, well, you talk about your personal experience. Have you also been caught out now and again, if you didn't follow your investigation plan, or are you always perfect?

Mr Lamula: No, I was caught out on occasions.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you. Okay, now – alright, then that's clear. Now let's forget about that. It's clear that those timelines and the investigation plans are self-imposed. Let's now look at a different scenario. Now you've missed your deadline or you were caught out as you say. Then how are the new timelines created? You can’t stick to the investigation plan if you've missed it. How are the necessary adjustments made so that there's a new series of deadlines?

Mr Lamula: From my own experience, if I see that I'm going to miss the deadlines, I will engage the supervisor. Sometimes I will prepare a memo to the Public Protector, as the head of the Dashboard, to say steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 are not going to complied with; we are asking for an extension. Remember if it is 12 months and you’ve missed certain steps now it's going to go to 26 months. So we will prepare a memo to that effect. On one occasion I had not done anything, then upfront when I was given an opportunity to present my case I pleaded to say I have not done what I should have been done. I don't have to explain too much. I have not done what was expected of me. I've not done it. I've not followed my own investigation plan. In fact, when my investigation plan was looked into, it was found to be malicious compliance. It was just copying and pasting. Now you have to go back and redo the actual investigation plan. In certain instances, if the investigation plan is okay, then you have missed steps, then it can be amended to that effect. So it was not cast in stone or whatever, but the amendment it is the investigator who will make those inputs to say, for this step that has been missed, this is what I'm going to do on this particular date. So it's not management that was imposing those concepts.

Adv Mpofu: Okay, let me just interrupt with something else that I discussed with Ms Mogaladi. Particularly at a high level, at the level of the EMs, which is quite senior, she confirmed – and I'm sure you will, too – that in between what we may call the Public Protector's Dashboard meeting, there will be a departmental or unit dashboard meeting led by the EM.

Mr Lamula: That is correct, yes.

Adv Mpofu: And now there's no monster called the Public Protector here to do all the scary things we were told about. At the pre-Dashboard, so to speak, which happens at the departmental level, what happens or what is supposed to happen?

Mr Lamula: Yeah, maybe it's just to give some background. When the Dashboard started, we as investigators were not part of it. It was only the EMs that were part of the Dashboard. I can recall they would give us feedback from the Public Protector. It was the 'Public Protector’s not happy, we are falling behind'. I think it's minuted that I requested investigators to be part of this so that we can hear, even one or two of us, just to observe to hear this fire that is being spitted by the Public Protector so that they can get our opinions across, and can tell us to say [in his vernacular 1:37:42-1:37:45]. We were told we can't be part of that – until the point when the Dashboard was open to everyone. So that is the background. Every unit has got its own dashboard, which feeds into the main Dashboard, or the Public Protector. So if you've missed things in your own unit it's expected that it should also be reflected in the Public Protector’s Dashboard. The Western Cape is a unit on its own. I have my own Dashboard, which feeds to the Coastal Dashboard, which feeds to the Public Protector's Dashboard. So there is no way that there was only the Public Protector's Dashboard. It was a bottom-up approach; it was not a top-down approach. Even in those days they're coming from the bottom going up.

Adv Mpofu: If you want to avoid problems – I’m putting it in everyday language – would you be able to weed out some of the problems in your own Dashboard before you go to the big Dashboard?

Mr Lamula: Correct, because it is the same caseload that the Public Protector will be looking at say on this particular date. It was not something that was happening every day. It was maybe monthly or fortnightly. So whatever resolution was taken from the Public Protector’s Dashboard, it is informed by what we have committed to do.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you. I think that's clear enough. Now I think you've covered the next topic which is somewhere in your statement you talk about forewarning if it looks like you're not going to meet your deadline. So let's assume some people follow your route; but others would reveal the problem at the Dashboard meeting itself. Which of those two is preferable for the sake of progress?

Mr Lamula: Conscientising management that you have not achieved or you’re encountering stumbling blocks before time, is better than just getting there, and then it’s a surprise. If I have not done it, surely a reasonable manager, a reasonable leader will get irritated. Some will get angry but I've seen the Public Protector getting irritated but not really angry because you're just coming out telling me that it has not been done. What are the stumbling blocks, because if there is anything that is stumbling you, you should have informed the Public Protector. I remember there was even a time when she was encouraging us saying even an email, just send me an email saying you’re encountering problems in terms of this deliverable, you are missing deadlines – so that I am in a better position to know unlike if you just come now telling me that you have not achieved. So communication is better; preemptive communication is better. They say a preemptive strike is the best defence, unlike when you are attacked you start to defend yourself. So preemptive communication is far better, you can get some leniency. You can get away with it because it shows reasonability and being a forward-looking person.

Adv Mpofu: You say at paragraph 19: "My experience of working with the Public Protector was that she was indeed very rigid when it comes to work done and meeting the deadlines. It is however not true that she was inflexible even in the face of good reasons being given for not meeting deadlines". Can you expand a little bit on that?

Mr Lamula: With no deadlines then we can continue working until hallelujah. So with service delivery issues, you can't just work without deadlines. Like I said in Home Affairs, you have people who are waiting for passports. They want to travel, some for medical reasons and if you don't put deadlines, those people will wait until, until, until. So she's one person when there are deadlines they need to be respected. In particular, when you do your own deadlines, if you miss your own deadlines, then she assists you to have another deadline, then you miss the target, then it really irritates because you need to have closure on that particular issue. You need to deliver that particular issue. It doesn't mean that she was cast looking at the date only. She was amenable to flexibility. Of course you have to motivate, you have to communicate, like I said before to say you can't get there and want to ask for an extension on something that had been lying on your table for the past two weeks or three weeks. So she was amenable to twisting her arm here and there based on the circumstances and the reason that you advanced. Sometimes you advanced very powerful reasons, then she does not agree. In fact she will say go to this one and this one, they will assist you to finalise this matter – so we need it by this particular day. I remember I had also fallen into that painful exercise. I was about to close a matter. Then I was told no you can't close it. Go back. There is [1:44:04-1:44:05], assist in finalising this matter because it was one of those matters where another institution is investigating. Then I said SIU is investigating, we are closing but that is not what I was informed to do. It's not even in my investigation diary.

Adv Mpofu: Yes, okay, that's very helpful. And it takes us to another important topic which I want us to canvas just for two or three questions. One of the theories advanced here by some of the witnesses that I'm referring to is this notion that the Public Protector was so obsessed, to put it mildly, with these inflexible deadlines, and you've explained that the deadlines were not that inflexible. But just work with me here. So obsessed that invariably there will be sacrifices of quality and sacrifices on governance. Now anybody knows who's ever dealt with a balanced scorecard that when you have your key performance indicators – that's why it's called a balanced scorecard – you can’t just chase one target, because invariably something else is going to suffer. Now that's the picture that has been painted to this Committee, that it was, you know, the deadline is on the 23 March, do or die, I don't care for anything else. Was that your experience in respect of these three criteria, deadline, quality and governance issues?

Mr Lamula: No, that was not what it was. That's why we were sent back. If you produce shoddy work, you will be sent back; otherwise, you are just going to sign them off if there was no emphasis on quality. One thing that we often forget is that when you are faced with a backlog and you push numbers, you are creating another backlog with us as Public Protector. You will be creating two backlogs – an internal review backlog, as well as possible litigation backlog. People can even come and throw stones at the offices because that is not what they expected. So if there were no deadlines, and it was just a two-page thing you sign off. But because there was much emphasis on quality, at the end of the day, we need people to get the proper services. If we dismiss a matter, it should be dismissed on quality merits. So it was not pushing numbers. We still have a backlog even now. If we were pushing numbers it could be finished by now, but because it's more emphasis on quality, we have learned from the court cases that we have lost that much has to be on quality, and you can't compromise quality. She knows that even in Home Affairs, you can’t compromise quality in refugee status documentation like the routine backlog at the Standing Committee on Refugees or the Appeals Board. So it would be a cycle. But once you emphasise quality, you know when you deal with this one, it’s off and it’s dead. So there was no – well, it's their experience. From my experience, I don't know how many times that my matter has been sent back to say fix this and fix that. And not only me, even other colleagues, because there was more emphasis on quality. That's why we still have backlogs, even now. Matters of 2019, 2018, because we emphasise quality.

Chairperson: At that point, Adv Mpofu –

Adv Mpofu: Chair, can you just allow me, I have one more, so that I can start on a different topic. Thank you. Okay, let's just use that indulgence that occurred from the Chair to finish this part. You've dealt with that deadline process and quality. Now the third leg of my question has to do with governance – and just to save the time of the Chair so that I don't do it in two steps – I want you to give a final comment before we take a break on what emphasis if any, there was on issues of governance at the same time. So there was quality, there was the deadline. But what about governance because that's also an important thing. We don't want – when I say 'we' I'm talking as a citizen – we don't want you to meet your deadlines and have good quality but breach the PFMA, you know what I mean? So what emphasis, if any, was there on governance and the achievement of clean audits, which is a purely governance issue?

Mr Lamula: We say we are the custodian of good governance and we must practise it as the Public Protector. So if there is non-compliance with the regulatory framework, then we will miss the governance issues. How can we not achieve a clean audit while we want other state institutions to achieve it? So a clean audit is not only about irregular tenders and whatever, it's everything, your leave from management, to contract management, everything that has to do with good governance is in there. So if we don't have those deadlines, if we don't have those service standards that people must comply with, then you won't have a good governance outcome that is positive. Even our investigation plans – they're put into good governance because it's more about the need to be compliant. The auditors don't only audit one aspect of the office, they audit everything, that's why we get a clean audit, meaning that our standards are working and we can have evidence on that. So it was more emphasis on both the core and the business software, where you have got your HR, you've got your strategic planning or payroll facilities, so it was a combination of the two. You can't win one and lose the other one; it had to be a combination of the two. The emphasis on saying we're forced to meet the deadlines is only reflecting on core, but it's not reflecting on the other support, where there are issues of audit.

Adv Mpofu: Okay, so at the risk of breaching my deadline with the Chair, just one last as far as perspective on that. I just wanted to explain this because again to the layperson, they think auditing is just about the money and so on. So from what you're saying, you’re saying that you’re auditing is even the non-numerical issues, can you just expand on that quickly?

Chairperson: It’s called non-financial.

Mr Lamula: Yes, yeah. When the auditors come especially on the core work, they would request a sample of files, to audit those files, so they’ll be checking what have we done in terms of our own standards, our own deadlines that we put in there, if the investigation plan was signed by the investigator as well as the chief investigator, if the investigator is following the investigation diary, all those things. Those are non-financial things that the auditors do. So it’s the whole thing.

Adv Mpofu: Thanks, Chair.

Chairperson: Thank you. We take a tea break. Mr Lamula, We're back in 15 minutes. Thank you.


Adv Mpofu: Thank you for your flowing evidence. We hope other witnesses can learn from you in this enquiry, and in future impeachment enquires.

Mr Lamula. Thank you. Thank you to the Chairperson for the cookies and coffee.

Adv Mpofu: The coffee? You can thank me for the coffee, not the Chairperson. There are two overlapping issues that I want to round up. At paragraph 33 of your statement you said: “Based on my previous employment experience and my understanding of project management, no leader will be happy if his or her deadlines were not met, hence I fail to understand employees complaining about deadlines. I must say that I am used to deadlines and to tougher leaders when it comes to enforcing them.” Just to pause there, when you talk about a tougher leader and more intense deadlines, are you referring to other employment places?

Mr Lamula: Yeah, I was referring to my previous experience, particularly in the Public Service Commission; deadlines are deadlines.

Adv Mpofu: Okay. Then: “I never felt that the deadlines were unreasonable [this is now at the PP’s Office]. Employees sometimes failed to meet their own deadlines. [We've covered that.] If I fail to meet a deadline, I would make it a point that my supervisor knows about it and that's what was expected of the employees.” Yes, I think we've covered most of that. So then we can move to the next paragraph where we now deal with the sub-topic of audi letters. Okay, firstly, let's start at a general level. Let me take one step back. The idea of audi letters, I think it was Ms Motsitsi who confirmed that at Home Affairs, the system of audi letters is prevalent. I think she said she actually got two herself when she worked at Home affairs. Can you confirm that?

Mr Lamula: I'm not certain about that.

Adv Mpofu: Okay, maybe that's because you are a good employee.

Mr Lamula: It could be happening; she was in the province and I was in head office.

Adv Mpofu: In Limpopo?

Mr Lamula: Yes, so different branches; she was in Civic and I was in Immigration; it could have happened to her.

Adv Mpofu: Also in a different unit. I can't remember now if she got it from head office or in the province. But anyway, I don't think there's any dispute about the fact that it's a system that's used in various departments. I myself don't know if it's in all departments, but in some of the departments. Okay. Let's put that aside. Okay, what was your understanding of what an audi letter is or seeks to achieve?

Mr Lamula: An audi letter should not be seen as a punishment or an intimidation tool. It doesn't just germinate, it could be an issue that was certainly… most often when requested to do the correct thing then you are failing. The supervisor will give a letter to explain – now we are getting serious – explain to me, what are your issues? Why are you not achieving; why are you doing this? You are given an opportunity to be heard before a decision is made. So it's not meant to achieve 100% compliance by hook or by crook, or by panga or by knobkerrie, it is meant to engage the parties… to engage one another to say, look I'm having – for example, I'm having social problems. I'm coming late to work because I drink often. But if you don't issue an audi, to that extent you will never know what the issues are that this person is facing and people have… you have to be truthful when you get an audi. You don't have to hide it because it's meant to assist, not to punish an individual. It can lead you in a way if you've got a positive attitude, but if you regard it as a punishment, then you won't achieve anything.

Adv Mpofu: Well, that's what surprised me. Any lawyer, you're a student of law, you would know that the rule audi alteram partem comes from Roman times. It's one of the most time-tested rules of justice. I didn't know at what point it can become a weapon – what a panga is. But anyway. Alright, so you've told us what it is in general now, let's come to the specifics. You yourself were the recipient once, according to paragraph 34, of an audi letter?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: When was that?

Mr Lamula: Around May.

Adv Mpofu: May this year?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: Okay. Just tell the Committee briefly what that was about and how it was. Okay, let's do one step at a time. What was the alleged transgression?

Mr Lamula: I had just assumed office on 1 April as provincial representative of the Western Cape. There were targets or deadlines that were set in the previous financial year, which ended at 31 March. Those targets were not achieved. I think in the PP’s Dashboard there were some lashing that the Provincial Investigation and Integration (PII) executive manager got in that Dashboard or Exco meeting or whatever. Then my feeling was like he has to try to get out from behind something. Because those targets, when they were set, he was acting as the provincial rep. So when the audi came, I was alleged to have failed to achieve the targets or to finalise matters that were due by 31 March. I did accept the audi because there's nothing that I could do; I have to accept it. But I protested, not in a violent way, or in a toyi-toyi. I explained to him to say I just assumed office, and this target was set when he was still in charge. I don't think I'm the appropriate person to be issued with the audi, because I was not in charge. However, I take full responsibility to ensure that whatever targets were missed, going forward they can be achieved. Then I sent, of course, accepting that it's an audi, I have to explain myself. It's not like I'm guilty of anything. It's not like I'm being intimidated. It's just a matter of saying there's this thing that was not achieved, maybe senior managers above the EM wanted to know what action was taken against the Western Cape PR, then that's how it unfolded. Then I was informed that the audi was eventually withdrawn.

Adv Mpofu: So after you gave the explanation, it was duly withdrawn.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: Which is what audi alteram partem is all about.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: Okay, now, sorry, I was almost laughing when you're giving your answer. Do I get it right that you're saying this person was acting as the Western Cape provincial representative, and deadlines were missed in the Western Cape?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: And you were employed in April?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: That deadline was for that person?

Mr Lamula: Yes, because it was set for March. The executive manager was acting during that period.

Adv Mpofu: He issued you an audi for missing his own deadline?

Mr Lamula: Yes. In fact, maybe it should have issued to someone else, not me. I don't know, someone else could maybe even mean himself.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you. I think that's right. Anyway, so that's your view on the audi. Okay, yes, well, again, this should be obvious, but some of the things that we're saying here might seem obvious to you and me, but we have to deal with them. Just for the sake of completion, have you ever had a situation where the Public Protector either issues an audi or says you must issue an audi?

Mr Lamula: Maybe she could have issued an audi to the CEO, because she reports to her. But for us who are support staff, so members of the Public Protector system, I've not heard of anyone saying they received an audi from the Public Protector. Of course in these Dashboard meetings she would say 'managers must manage; you must take charge of your teams, if it is consequence management, that is your product', but I don't know. But I cannot remember where she would say go and issue this person with an audi. No, that would not happen.

Adv Mpofu: That would be part of consequence management; it would be issuing of an audi.

Mr Lamula: It could be issuing an audi, it could be counselling a person, wanting to understand what the issues are, making sure that deadlines are met, you know, the whole thing; it is not specific to say 'go and issue an audi'.

Adv Mpofu: It could even be worse than an audi, it could be a disciplinary action.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: The point I’m making is, would that disciplinary action be meted out by the Public Protector herself?

Mr Lamula. No, no, no. We have evidence that she never sits in these disciplinary measures.

Adv Mpofu: This is for the sake of completion before moving on to another topic. You have already testified to this, but for the sake of emphasis, I’ll read your paragraph 40: “My experience is that it is difficult to chase a deadline and compromise quality structures like Dashboards and Quality Assurance will automatically detect poor quality and send the report back to the investigator for it to be fixed. If quality and governance were neglected anybody would meet any deadline". It’s the next point that I want to talk about to the Committee (paragraph 41): “The balance system in place makes malicious compliance difficult.” That might be jargon to those who are not used to management. What do you mean by that last paragraph?

Mr Lamula: Like I presented before in terms of our example of investigation plans, where you will do your own malicious investigation plan, but come the Dashboard, it will be picked up that you did not do what is supposed to have been done. So there is a bridge that will never cross. The Dashboard and the Quality Assurance structures are there to guard against this malicious compliance. And even our internal audit unit, when it comes to issues of governance, they occasionally do audits, they'll pick it up to say, but here you're not complying. So the structures that are there are working to ensure that there is compliance in terms of our standards. Yeah, of course, we take chances and not comply but a Dashboard, it will never go through, because it will… you'll be embarrassed sometimes the way it will unfold, it's like you never went to university because you just brought a three-page report, while the issues that are there are very compelling. So there are systems to guard against malicious compliance. Even though I'm not saying it doesn't happen. But there are systems, because in every system, there are those who would want to circumvent the system. The systems are there and they are working.

Adv Mpofu: Fine. Thank you very much for that explanation. Now we then go to the next section in the statement. The heading is The Public Protector’s Attitude and Treatment of Staff. You've already testified that you've never witnessed any disrespect and abuse and all that.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: You say at paragraph 43: When she raises concerns, she was not different from any other leader, at Home Affairs she was even stricter.” Can you explain that comparative analysis? You were saying at Home Affairs she would insist on delivery even in a stricter method. Can you just give the Committee an example illustration of what you meant?

Mr Lamula: I'm saying because she was operational. She was always on the ground, and she was accessible. She will know what is it that we're doing. And like currently she's sitting somewhere, she can't be operational. In Home Affairs, she would even go to the store room, when you say you can't find the file. She would say, let's go and look for this file. So the deadlines that were there, were stricter, and they were achievable, because you want to get this thing out. And it's about service delivery to the person who's waiting for this document. She was results-driven, in a way that even though she was stricter, sometimes you don't see it, because she's there with you. Or she gives you guidance to say for this and this is how we need to do it. We were like in a project plan sort of operation, we have to start and finish on this particular day so that we can go to the next leg. So this strictness is in her, even at Home Affairs. But it's not unreasonable. We used to call her sister boss there. I don't know if she's still amenable to that. But this one, can we shift it forward, then she will look into the circumstances then she will agree or disagree. Yeah. But she was strict on deadlines to say we need to meet what we have set up ourselves. Unless we set ourselves up for failure, then we don't have to meet a deadline. But if you set us up for success, then we have to meet a deadline; it’s for the good of the department – not for the good of us who are employees; for the good of the person outside of the department.

Adv Mpofu: Yes. Okay. On a lighter note, since you have had that experience – I'd like you to confirm that she insists on being called madam. And she wants to be worshipped and all that. Was that your experience of her? Have you ever heard her insisting on something like that?

Mr Lamula: No, I haven't heard about that. I don't think she will be pleased to be called madam, because it's an ancient term; you are an old woman. I haven't heard about anyone calling her madam [ vernacular 2:24:23-2:24:25]. I don't think she's that person. At Home Affairs we used to call her Ms Mkhwebane or Adv Mkhwebane or Director Mkhwebane. Sometimes on a lighter note when things are flowing nicely, we'll say sister boss, but not in a disrespectful manner. The madam one, I’m hearing it for the first time.

Adv Mpofu: And she likes to be worshipped, whatever that means.

Mr Lamula: No, no, I don't have that experience. In my induction as a public servant, what I know is that you can't share a lift with the Minister, the Deputy Minister or the DG. If you find them in a lift, you can't enter, if they want to enter the lift, you have to go out. And if they enter a room, you have to stand up. Those were a part of my induction in the public service any way. Even in my primary education, the principal enters the classroom, you stand up and say, good morning principal, how are you? I mean, those things are in us. But when she enters the conference room at PPSA I've not heard her saying people must stand up. Of course, some of us will stand up because we are used to that. There will be those who will be sitting. So for her, it was neither here nor there.

Adv Mpofu: I’m glad we got that out of the way. I know that the person who said those things, at the moment, is refusing to come back to the Committee. So we may never be able to deal with that. But be that as it may. You then say, at paragraph 43: “Although she was at Director level, but she used to frequent our offices to monitor our work, she was always on the ground, easy to interact with. I suppose her work ethic with reference to her previous employment is what Parliament took into account and recommended her for the position of the Public Protector. She enjoys working at the coalface rather than sitting in her office and receiving reports. She clearly enjoyed interacting with Investigators. Having been an Investigator herself she knew what was expected of investigators and was familiar with the usual excuses for failing to deliver.” Yes, right now I'm interested in the last part of that. To what extent, if you can assist the Committee, do you think – apart from her experience in Home Affairs and wherever she has worked – the mere fact that she had actually worked at your level, and maybe even below, of being an investigator herself, to what extent do you think that advantaged her in her current role?

Mr Lamula: I think in her experience as an investigator, she also cut corners and she knows exactly when you have cut corners. And every investigator will try to cut corners. But at the end of the day, you are caught and you will become a better person. That's why when the Dashboard was started, it was not for investigators, it was for senior managers. Then later on, we were roped in and they were taken through our investigation plans. So in a way, she knew exactly in terms of the matters that we're handling, where we should have been in terms of the investigation. So that gave her an advantage when you come and say, I have not achieved. She knows the challenges that you could be facing and the possible solution that you could have put in place, the interventions that you could put in place. It was not a new thing to her in terms of investigation. It was not a new thing to her in managing backlogs because she had been there before. So it gave her an upper hand to understand our challenges, and to understand our approach and to understand where we do malicious compliance, because she was there before. I'm not saying she did cut corners or she was malicious for that matter, but I'm just saying every investigator have got their own experience. I’m relating my own experience. So that gave her an edge unlike if she was coming from a purely administrative environment. You will not know when we talk about an investigation plan we have to school you. There is no time for schooling. It is about implementation, implementation, implementing those things, you should know about them.

Adv Mpofu: Okay, I think that explains a lot of things, because I've been wondering about some of the things that she did in her first three months or so. Yeah, but in any job, people usually take the first six months just to scan the environment, as they say, to know even where your office is, yeah. But am I correct that this idea or the culture or practice, whatever you call it, of excluding investigators from a meeting, such as the Dashboard, which had been there, was changed by her, under her leadership?

Mr Lamula: Even though I don't have much background information, like I said, when I arrived there I was expecting to present to the Dashboard and it did not happen. There was a Dashboard for senior managers. Maybe the Public Protector could not get what she was looking for, hence she said everyone, investigators, must attend. It is her brainchild if I were to be allowed to put it that way, because I was told there was the Think Tank made of certain people who will deal with those reports. But now it's free for all – as long as you are an investigator, and you’ve got a matter, you will go to the Dashboard. So that's why we learn, and I'm hoping that even now the quality of work that we do is improving, because we learn every day when we go to the Dashboard.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you. Okay. And well from what you've said, then that brainchild innovation of hers, do you see it as a good development, as a good thing?

Mr Lamula: It's an impactful development.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you then at paragraph 45 you say: "Unlike some other leaders, I cannot describe her of being arrogant and/or drunk with power. She has been in power for a long time at different workplaces. She is one person who is chasing good governance. Good governance and work quality are part and parcel of her work ethic.” We've covered that. In the next paragraph 46, you say: “Frankly, I was not surprised when she achieved the massive reductions in backlogs and the clean audits. She always emphasised that those were not individual achievements but those of the collective. However it was her leadership which made the achievements possible.” Then paragraph 47 I'll touch on just to say: “The Office of the Public Protector has a mandate to deliver to the public. It has the public as its client. How do we then delay serving the public by fighting unrealistic deadlines. In my view, this is selfish. You have someone thinking about his or her job but fail to consider the objective or constitutional mandate of the office she/he serves. Self-sacrifice is in the nature of public service.” You've already made that point. “Maybe those who do not want to serve the public should not have been employed in the Office of the Public Protector and some would be most suited and even better paid in the private sector. Think of a person waiting for months with no outcome to address his or her problems.” Can you just speak to that? That is the focus not on yourselves now but on what we call the clients, the public. That’s why it’s called the Public Protector. It's not about you. What is the role of that, firstly, as I say, broadly as a public servant from your experience in the public service but specifically in this office.

Mr Lamula: Look, the Office is for the defenceless and the less resourceful persons, people who are dead but they are walking. So if we don't deliver on the mandate of the Public Protector, which is supporting constitutional democracy, then we are perpetuating unconstitutional change of power, because people will revolt. So with me or the Public Protector, I have already said she was in a powerful position, we can choose to be in the public service or go to the private sector. I think the two of us can go to the private sector and we can coin it. But it's not about money. It's about serving the public. So in the Public Protector, you're dealing with different people from different backgrounds. Unlike in Home Affairs, we were dealing with refugees as a specific community of people. In the Public Protector’s Office, everyone is equal. Even the President can open a complaint and we investigate it the same way like any other complaint, and our services are free by the way. You cannot say I'm rendering a service that is free so I don't have to worry when I will finish it because you are not paying in any way, even if I can finish by 2030 it is fine. That is not how the Office is. The Office is about the people and the Public Protector does not only protect the complainants, even the people that are being complained against, they're also protected. So it's a very challenging job. Some can say it’s a calling because I for myself, I don't regard myself as an employee. I regard myself as a staff member. When you're a member, Mr Mpofu, you are a member of something else. If the organisation goes down, you have to go down. You work for that particular organisation; not for a particular individual. So I'm of the view that the Public Protector, she's working for the Public Protector. Adv Mkhwebane is working for the Public Protector, the institution. If she fails with me assisting her, appointed to assist her as a member, I contributed to that failure. And her failure is failure to render a service to the people so it has got far-reaching implications. It is not only Gogo Bosman that we saw in the photo, there are financial implications for failure to achieve. Families can break. People can revolt. So it's one of the offices that is at the very coalface of service delivery. We are not saying we achieve everything, but we try with whatever resources that we have, to achieve the little that we can and change people's lives.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you.

Mr Lamula: And people’s lives have been changed; you have seen from one of those photos that at least Mrs Bosman, when the rain comes, she will sleep. When there is wind, she will sleep, unlike before the house was built. So it's one of those offices really that we have to thank our godfathers who created the Office.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you very much. Okay, maybe you can explain this notion of not being an employee but a member of the Public Protector, or someone who assists, where does that come from?

Mr Lamula: Okay, I don't wish to make it a legalistic thing, but from the Act itself, it makes provision for the appointment of staff members to assist the Public Protector. So when we're a staff member, you are more than an employee. You are more than a worker. So whatever happens to that institution also touches you one way or the other, directly or indirectly. I'm here as a staff member for the Public Protector, not Adv Mkhwebane. So I have to assist her. If she fails, I have assisted her to fail. If she succeeds, I've assisted her to succeed, but at the end of the day it is about the institution not about the individual. Of course there is a leader in every institution and that leader should not be the face of failure alone. We have to be collectively held accountable and responsible. Maybe in the future as the Public Protector is a sui generis institution, maybe in the future we will be impeached as staff members that fail to assist the Public Protector to achieve what she needs to achieve.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you. Good. I like that example. Okay, in paragraph 48 you say: “People also need to understand that the Public Protector merely exercises constitutional power, not her power, hence no witness is accusing her of exercising their power unconstitutionally. She never belittled or disrespected anyone in the meetings. Even when she would occasionally raise her voice when frustrated, she was never rude. I think we've already explained that. If you want to add –

Mr Lamula: I have not experienced a change in the tone of her voice since I’ve known her. Even if she was being interviewed for the post, the tone of her voice remained the same. I watched last time on YouTube. Mr Mpofu, "when you walked", she had an opportunity to present certain things, and the tone of the voice remained the same. If that tone of the voice is rude, maybe we have to consider this as a medical condition or a disability of some sort, because that's how it is. But I've never heard anyone saying she was rude to the parliamentarians and anyone, the voice remains the same. It is what it is, comparatively speaking, comparing the tone of her voice with our CEO. The CEO’s voice is much more higher than – so are we going to say the voice is rude? Maybe rudeness is something we see differently, but I've not experienced that.

Chairperson: So you also saw Mr Mpofu walking out? And you were watching. It's fine; Proceed Adv Mpofu.

Mr Lamula: I saw him on YouTube.

Mr Mpofu: That is a threat. I think you are more observant than the Chair. When you say walked, now he’s adding walked out. We see you, Chairperson.

Adv Mpofu: On a more serious note, you're saying the tone of voice that she displayed here, and that tone she used was the same tone of voice that she would use in the parliamentary interviews as well?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you. At paragraph 50, you say: “For the National Assembly to make sense of what I’m talking about, when it comes to the Public Protector’s ubuntu: 50.1 Some of the witnesses portrayed her as a demon or monster. As I have indicated, I used to refer to the late Mr Madiba.” Right. That's an issue that we hear. And maybe if I give some background here, one of the aspects which in my five indicators that I spoke about, had to do with what I call her alleged insensitivity. It was demonstrated, quote unquote, one of the examples was how harshly she allegedly treated Mr Madiba.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: You reported to Mr Madiba?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: You can confirm – which is common cause now – that he was a very sickly person.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Mpofu: Now this is a strange one, because contrary to what we were told here, you seem to have the impression that she was too soft on Mr Madiba at your expense. Can you explain that to the Committee?

Mr Lamula: Having worked with refugees and joining the Public Protector, I was reporting to Mr Madiba, the late Mr Madiba. I've been saying this being mindful that in our own upbringings, we don't say ill things about those who have departed. But I've taken an oath to say the truth, and I’m mindful not to hurt the families of Mr Madiba but there is evidence that this is what has happened. I won't sugarcoat it.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you for that.

Mr Lamula: I will also be mindful not to hurt my own mother, when I talk about those who have departed, because she cautioned me to be careful to not to exaggerate, because it's not how I was brought up. But this is a Committee which needs information to make a decision at the end of the day. And it is the truth that I'm going to say.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you.

Mr Lamula: What happened is that my son was involved in an accident. Then I sent an email to the late Mr Madiba, to say I'm leaving the office, I need to attend to my son who was involved in an accident. It was around March 2018. He did not respond. Then I went and attended to that incident because it was already four or five in the afternoon. The following day, I have take my son back to the hospital for other procedures, then I had to go back to the office, because I normally don't carry my laptop from work to home for security reasons, in order for me to apply for family responsibility leave. So I go to the office – I left my son in the hospital and went to the office to do family responsibility leave. Unfortunately, for the leave one does not report to Mr Madiba. It goes to another senior investigator who approved. Then I informed Mr Madiba to say following the initial email about my son being involved in an accident, I'm taking family responsibility leave. He was not happy with that, asking who approved it. There was an exchange of emails between me and him, which was not pleasant.

Adv Mpofu: Sorry, can you try and speak up a bit?

Mr Lamula: Yes. It was not pleasant, to the extent that the last email was not in – I'm quoting but not verbatim, “I'm not in the habit of feeding cockroaches”. So my response was, why do you call me a cockroach? So it was like: Did I call you a cockroach? I said yes. You say you don't respond. You don’t have the habit to feed cockroaches. You are referring to me. Then I picked up the phone to call him to say, you know, people who are called cockroaches in certain countries, they were slaughtered. Are you implying that I have to be slaughtered? Because no one likes cockroaches. We even have a very big industry that sells pesticides that deals with cockroaches; it is not a pet. So we had that exchange. I ended up losing the grievance because he was not coming to the party to say sorry and stuff. I lodged a grievance. And knowing the Public Protector, she dealt with people that were referred to as cockroaches, I was expecting a strict dismissal. I was like, this man is going to be dismissed. He was not well, he's just come from a hospital maybe two or one month back. He was still having operations, and for me it was nothing. You have to face the consequences. You can't say this and hide behind something; you must face the consequences. I remember in the grievance, one of the things – when I look back I think I have overreacted – I wanted him to write an apology in English in 5000 words. So yeah, it was unreasonable. The grievance went to management. The CEO, by then it was Mr Mahlangu, tThe approach of Mr Mahlangu was 'no, let's sit, let’s reconcile, let's do this'. But I was adamant that the Public Protector needs to know about these things, because I've already perceived, sort of, the mind of the Public Protector, that she knows about what will happen to a person who's called a cockroach. I did not read the mind properly. When the matter went to the Public Protector, I think there was an engagement between the Public Protector and the CEO to say are we going to take this man as per the grievance, or can we reach an amicable solution, so to say, to such an extent that let's look for a lesser sanction rather than going for a full blown disciplinary hearing. Then I was told by Mr Mahlangu he discussed this matter with the Public Protector because it was going to have an impact on the institution to say in the Public Protector people are calling each other cockroaches. I was called to the office to discuss the matter. Then after explanation, a written warning was okay. The other thing is that I called my mom to say this man called me a cockroach. She says, 'a cockroach so what does management say?' I said, 'just gave him a written warning'. She said, 'no, enough is enough, you have done your part; it's okay'. Then later on I engaged a junior investigator to say but do you see this Public Protector, this man calls me this but she does not act. The investigator said 'But put yourself into the shoes of the man who is sickly and put yourself in the shoes of the Public Protector, who has to balance humility, justice and mercy. And you are okay. You are fine. You can live with this thing. Even though it's painful, you can accept that you have done something and the Public Protector, she's not saving yourself, she's just saving this man. Otherwise if she or the CEO goes on to charge this guy, and this guy is dismissed, it will be because of you'. So I said okay, if that is the case, no, no, no. That's why I see there was humility in her decision to say okay, if that is the case, no. That was why I see there was humility in her decision to say, let me save this one because he will need the medical aid he will need all these benefits. So I accepted it. Initially, I did not want to accept it. But after you know, you engage and talk about it, then you accept it. That's why I say she's at it again because it was not happening for the first time. When we're in Home Affairs, there was a family who did not qualify for any travel document. Their child was sick. They had money, they wanted to take the child to the USA. We have to find a way to issue a travel document for that family. So if these people come to your office with this sickly child with an incurable condition in South Africa, then it was one of those things that we have to persuade the Minister to say we can do this and a one-way travel document or two-way travel document just for this poor child to get medical assistance. So she went out of her way to assist that family. She went out of her way to make it that me and Mr Madiba were reconciled in a more human way. She has humility; she has mercy. She's just like, any other child who was born out of the womb of a woman. So there will be those instances. So I don't fault her for that. And I’m more relieved that she took that decision.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you very much. So although you were deeply hurt obviously and you wanted Mr Madiba’s head to be chopped.

Mr Lamula: They always say [vernacular 2:51:42-2:51:43] even though there is vernacular 2:51:44-2:51:46].

Adv Mpofu: As they say in the township, breathing through the wound.

Mr Lamula: Yeah.

Adv Mpofu: But on a serious note, you're saying you accepted that holistically in the end.

Mr Lamula: Yes. No ill feelings, but life moved on, we worked on with Mr Madiba.

Adv Mpofu: But the key issue is that at some point before that acceptance, your feeling was that she was actually, let me put it this way, favouring Mr Madiba.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Mpofu: Sacrificing your feelings.

Mr Lamula: Yes. If I had my way – it is only the professionalism that she has displayed – I could have gone to an office and demanded something, because even our union guys were pushing to say, yes, let’s go this route. But I'm also a human being. I also considered what they had to say but like I said, this junior investigator said put yourself in the shoes of this person. We are hurt one or the other, but at the end of the day, humility, mercy was the winner.

Adv Mpofu: Yes. Thank you. Now that covers all the five issues that I spoke about earlier. In closing, I would like you again to situate your evidence broadly around the issue of incompetence as I said, and then narrowly on the five specific topics, you say at paragraph 51, this is the climax, if you like, of your evidence or the culmination or conclusion. You say: “Like all human beings, Adv Mkhwebane had shortcomings. But she has done an excellent service to the people of South Africa. To even associate her with alleged incompetence is a grave concern. She is more than competent for the job of Public Protector. When her term ends in the next ten months, it will be a loss to the institution she has helped to build and to the South African public in its constant fight against the twin scourges of maladministration and corruption.” Now I want you to talk to those sentiments because they also echo that you are an insider. Yesterday we had someone who's an outsider, a member of the public, who said that it will be a loss to the institution when her term ends. But the emphasis is on what you say: She's more than competent for the job of Public Protector. Because again, we can talk about competence or incompetence in the air. It's around the job of Public Protector. Can you – and then the third sentiment; sorry, I'm piling this question to try and save time. If that sentiment is, as you say, she's human, she has frailties like all of us. But to say she has done an excellent service to the people of South Africa. Can you unpack those? And I'll help you if the question is too long. I'll help you in between.

Mr Lamula: Okay. Thank you for that. We should be in a position where she should be wrapping up her work, not where we are now, but unfortunately, this is the situation. The six years and some months that she was in charge were not wasted years, they were fruitful years. Evidence is there. It has been proven. It could be one or the other, some were not happy. Some are not happy but the evidence that is there speaks for itself. You just flighted a photo of one of her deliverables. So to say she's not competent is something else. I'm told, and there's evidence, that since the inception of the Public Protector’s Office, there was no clean audit. So to get a clean audit for two or three consecutive years. It's not pap and vleis, as we say in the location, it's not pap and vleis. It needs resilience, it needs teamwork, because all those achievements are not her achievement for the institution. I don't remember her saying, you see I've done this and done that. No, she's a person who says you have to ensure that the institution that you are working at has a lasting legacy. Change the lives of the people while you still can. So you don't want to work here, you retire, then the next thing you're having problems with Government Pensions Administration Agency (GPAA), which you should have sorted out while you're still working for the Public Protector. So it was never about herself; it was about the institution. The Committee of Parliament found her to be competent in their interviews. I remember even in the print media, we were informed that she's the only candidate who remembered all the names of the people who were interviewing her. I can't remember any, only the Chairperson and Dali, the rest I have to read. So to say she's not competent in that effect, it shows that her mind is very sharp. By the way, she was an investigator before in the institution. That's why maybe she was able to hit the ground running and in terms of investigation. On the governance part: The part that she did when she travelled from Home Affairs to when she joined the Public Protector, also helped her, even though when the very first audit was done, I can't remember if she was there or not. But when we worked with her, she was of the view let's do a clean audit in our own directorate. Even if the whole institution cannot achieve it but we must not be found wanting, because a clean audit is informed by those smallanyana business unit audits. So it will be a loss. But there are systems that she has put in place that are working, even now when she's not in office. We still follow the systems that she has put in place. It would be unfortunate that she could not wrap up her work to hand over to the new Public Protector. But it's also a scary situation for potential Public Protectors out there to say you go there, the possibility of being impeached is very high, regardless of how you achieve your work. So for me, she's competent. She has demonstrated that in the past six years, and she's still demonstrating that even now. When the Committee will make a decision on whether she's still competent, she was competent when she was appointed, and if after six years, she is no longer competent, that is for the Committee to decide, to weigh what happened. By the way, as people we've got a duty to assist the Public Protector to be effective, to be independent, and to do its work. So one would ask Mr Lamula, what help or what assistance have you given to the Public Protector to achieve? If not, you have assisted the Public Protector to fail. What help have you given the Public Protector not to be impeached? If not, to encourage an impeachment process. But having said that, I can't help it if the Committee finds that she's no longer competent. It is the decision of the Committee; but for me she's still competent.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you very much. Thank you for that. You have touched on the issue of – well, firstly, let me say that I think the takeaway for the Chair will be the statement you've made that three clean audits is not pap and vleis, Chairperson. Thank you very much. I was saying, okay, let me put it this way, you touched on what – I forgot the name of the author who came up with this idea in management called the learning institution. It's one school of thought in management, which I believe in very much. But I don't know if it’s Peter Singer or something like that. You've referred to learning from failure, and you’ve specifically referred to the issue of the court judgments and criticisms that might come from those. What, in your view, what learnings would you take from those realities of life? Or as an institution, was there any effort to learn from those?

Mr Lamula: Yes. Every court judgement that is issued whether against or for the Public Protector, does not just go and lie somewhere. We are engaged; there is always some meeting where Legal Services will take us to where we went wrong. As an individual, you also have the responsibility to read that judgement, so that it can assist you not to do the same errors that were done in that investigation. So we learned a lot from these judgments, because even our reports, which were signed by the Public Protector, I'm of the view that they're also learning documents. I've seen students referring to some of the Public Protector’s reports in their research, particularly students dealing with issues of public administration. I've seen a couple of those students wanting to know much about the work of the Public Protector. Judgments one way or the other, they are also a means for us to learn that we were not above the law. We can't be doing things the way we want. There is always that check from the courts. So we learn and we are encouraged to read these judgments. It doesn't just go out then we moan or whatever; we learn from those judgements. I remember the previous spokesperson used to convene meetings for us to engage with these judgments. Sometimes you find that, okay, maybe the court was also wrong in these areas, but anyway, it's a judgement, and we have to learn from that. So there are things that we have learned from the judgments. And we're still learning even now. We use these judgments at some point to draft our own reports, to avoid falling into the same trap. We reference these judgments in certain instances.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you. Finally you've touched on something that the Public Protector herself – we have put this to other witnesses – but when she testifies, she will deal with one of her milestones, which she set for herself, and I think this was also dealt with in her interview in Parliament, was that she said she would not want to leave the Office in a worse state than she found it.

Mr Lamula: Yeah.

Adv Mpofu: In other words, she would like the new Public Protector not to inherit her problems and backlogs and what have you. Now we know that, and as you say, this should be the phase where she's wrapping up to make sure, or doing a handover to the next Public Protector. In fact, when we comes back here in January, she'll be left with eight months or so to do that, because of the condition she finds herself in now. Would you say that, given the momentum that has been there for the six years you've mentioned, it would be a good thing or a bad thing if she had the opportunity to do that wrap up, even if it's not for the year that she planned, but for whatever period might still remain. Not for her but for the country.

Mr Lamula: It is the ideal situation where there has to be a wrapping up, a closure report. And a hand over the report. I don't know if she received the same from the previous Public Protector; that there was a closure report. I'm fascinated to see that happening. I've been watching how Obama handed over power to this other guy, Donald Trump. So it was like an orientation to say now you are entering the space, this is what it is. So I wish that can happen, to properly hand over the baton, properly hand over the staff. Unlike just coming in and occupying an empty office, you don't know where's the bathroom, who to contact, where’s the nearest kitchen, just to generalise. A proper handover is very good for continuing the work. If you have an institution where there is no proper handover, you will find you struggle – that’s why people ask for 100 days. But if there is a proper handover, you don't ask for that 100 days, you hit the ground running, because you know where to go, where are the pressure points and stuff like that. If she can be allowed to do that, it will be good.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you very much. Let’s hope that sanity will prevail, and we don't chase agendas, but chase service to the people. Thank you very much, Mr Lamula. Thank you. Thank you, Chair.

Chairperson: Thank you Adv Mpofu, and Mr Lamula so far. So what we'll do now, I think your pap and vleis has derailed me so I will allow you to go ahead and enjoy pap and vleis. We'll take about 45 minutes so that we don't prolong the day. We take lunch for 45 minutes.


Chairperson: Hope you enjoyed your pap and vleis.

Mr Lamula: Yes, very well; all that was missing was whiskey.

Chairperson: Thank you. We'll now proceed with Mr Lamula. And I'm going to ask Adv Bawa.

Adv Nazreen Bawa: Just give me one minute.

Chairperson: No problem. No problem. That's fine. You can now switch on your mic, Mr Lamula, and interact with Adv Bawa. After that it will be the interaction with the members. Hopefully then, you would have done your day, but I cannot guarantee that, hence we might be here the whole night or tomorrow.

Mr Lamula: Thank you.

Chairperson: Over to you, Adv Bawa.

Questions by the Evidence Leader to Mr Lamula
Adv Bawa: My apologies, Mr Lamula. I was trying to save time by doing that quickly. I want to talk to you at the level of generality and then talk to you a bit more specifically. You talked about your employment at Home Affairs, and at the time, the PP was at Home Affairs. Let's just be a bit more specific. What was your job at Home Affairs precisely?

Mr Lamula: I was appointed as a refugee status determination officer, and I was responsible for the issuance and management of passports and travel documents, as well as doing refugee status determination processes.

Adv Bawa: Where were you based?

Mr Lamula: In head office, Pretoria.

Adv Bawa: That spanned how many years?

Mr Lamula: From 2005 to 2006.

Adv Bawa: Okay, so you were at Home Affairs for a year.

Mr Lamula: No, it’s a unit. It's a business unit that I was working for. It was from 2005 to 2006, around June, July, that is the Asylum Seeker Management Unit. Then I moved to another unit, where I started working as a control immigration officer, doing investigation in the department. Then I moved to another business unit, also port control, where I was in charge as a deputy director. I was in charge of the border posts. Then during that time, I was also – before that, I moved to counter-corruption and security where I was doing investigation for internal breaches, corruption and all stuff then as an assistant director as well as the Acting Deputy Director. Then I moved to port control, where I was appointed as a Deputy Director, responsible for land and rail ports of entry, until I left Home Affairs in 2014.

Adv Bawa: And from Home Affairs you went to the Public Service Commission?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Now during that period you were at Home Affairs, right. Which part of which job did you have personal interaction with the PP?

Mr Lamula: The job of dealing with passports.

Adv Bawa: So that was the period in 2005 and 2006.

Mr Lamula: Yes, as well as doing the status determination officer, and when we were dealing with the backlog, so it was not a specific job. It was a general interaction in the jobs.

Adv Bawa: That spanned the period of 2005 to 2006 as well, right?

Mr Lamula: Yes, as well as when we're dealing with the refugee, the xenophobic attacks, which happened in 2018. So, we were taken from where we were, from other business units, to come in and assist in that regard.

Adv Bawa: So in 2018.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: The PP was already at the Public Protector's Office.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: And so were you.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Right. So we're talking about when you were employed by the Home Affairs, the period where the PP was at Home Affairs, and the period that you were at Home Affairs, that you had interaction with her, as I understand you, it was the period 2005/2006.

Mr Lamula: Yes, that's when I was working under her unit.

Adv Bawa: Under a unit.

Mr Lamula: it doesn't mean that I did not interact with her after that. Even when I was in charge of the border posts, we continued that interaction. When there was the xenophobic attacks, we worked under her, because I had the experience and knowledge of dealing with refugee matters. So I already left when the xenophobic attacks happened in 2009. I'd already left her unit, but because of the magnitude of the work that needed to be done, I was roped in.

Adv Bawa: Right. So stop for a minute. You're going too quickly for me.

Chairperson: Adv Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu: Just to assist the record, I there's a point that is… I don't know who started the problem, but the point that talks about 2018. I think whoever started it meant 2008. Because by 2018 everyone was out of there.

Adv Bawa: So –

Chairperson: Even though there was another eruption of xenophobia in 2018, that, okay.

Mr Lamula: I’m referring to the one of 2009, because in 2008 we were still in Home Affairs then.

Adv Bawa: Sorry, I may be confusing you. We are talking about two periods, while you're both employed at Home Affairs, where you had interactions with her. The first period was in 2005 to 2006. The second period is in 2009.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Right. If that's not exactly right, it doesn't matter. In 2005/2006, what position does the PP have?

Mr Lamula: She was a director.

Adv Bawa: A director. And you were based at head office, and she was based at head office?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Right. And did you report to her directly?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: Okay, so what was the nature of the interactions you had?

Mr Lamula: I was dealing with face value documents, every time there is a passport that needs to be issued, she needs to be informed as to who is the recipient of that passport. When IDs were applied for, she needs to be informed how many refugees have applied for IDs, and what is the process, and what is the stage of ID applications. She was constantly informed of that process, because we're only two if not three of us who were dealing with that process. I was more involved in passports and IDs. So it was a weekly thing that we had to report to her: what is the process, how far we are, particularly with the IDs.

Adv Bawa: And when you did that, did you report in person or did you report via [unclear 4:00:02] forms going up to the director?

Mr Lamula: It will depend – at times, it will be your weekly report templates, at times it will be through meetings, at times it will be direct reporting, depending on the nature of the work that she needs to be informed on.

Adv Bawa: And you were not involved during the same period with any investigations?

Mr Lamula: No, by then, no.

Adv BawaL And do you have personal knowledge then or now about any of the other tasks that the PP was involved in, apart from supervising you on the IDs and the passports?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Tell us about that.

Mr Lamula: She was also supervising the refugee status determination process. She was supervising the refugee reception process, and the issues of business administration, HR and stuff.

Adv Bawa: But you were not involved in those.

Mr Lamula: No, those were for other people not me.

Adv Bawa: So you knew about it, but you were not involved in this.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Now we come to 2009. There were xenophobic attacks, and you had knowledge, and you were roped in. How were you roped in precisely?

Mr Lamula: There was a circular that was issued by the Department to say, due to the magnitude of the problem, people must assist Asylum Seeker Management to deal with documentation of undocumented people, and there were those who volunteered, and there were those who were selected, like me, to lead the teams, because I had prior knowledge of what is happening. So that's how we were roped in.

Adv Bawa: And what did that entail? What did your tasks entail?

Mr Lamula: It entailed that we have to go to aid these refugees, or asylum seekers, who were displaced in certain places. Some were in schools, some were in open spaces, some were in churches, some were in police stations. We would go to those places and document them and interview them. Some were already in the system. We process whatever document that needs to be processed. So we'll get there at around seven, six in the morning. We'll work until eight depending if there is electricity or not. If there is no electricity, sometimes we'll move to another place where there is a need to wrap up on those processes. So we were doing basically the refugee, asylum seeker management process of documenting and checking the status of these people, some had passports, they never applied for asylum seeker permits, then we will assist in that regard.

Adv Bawa: And what was the PP’s role in all of this?

Mr Lamula: As a director, she was overseeing the process. She was coming to inspect if things are done in the correct way. I remember in certain instances, she had to work, because you have people with special needs that were in a church, some were in a police station. She had to do this, the same job that we were doing, because it was more of a manual job where you fill in the form, interview the person, then you give to them those who have access to computers to print whatever document that needs to be printed. At times she will come with other managers to oversee and assist. It was not only for the juniors to do the job, even senior managers were involved in that.

Adv Bawa: And you didn't perform any investigator function during that period.

Mr Lamula: I was already doing investigation in 2009, the counter-corruption unit.

Adv Bawa: Now let's talk about the period when you had interaction with the PP. You were not reporting to her on any investigations.

Mr Lamula: No, I was not reporting to her on an investigation. No, it was only reporting to other teams in terms of the asylum seeker process.

Adv Bawa: So now let's turn to the Office of the Public Protector. Right. You started there as a senior investigator in the GGI unit in 2017.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: In June 2017, I think is correct, right?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: You got promoted to provincial representative in March 2022?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Correct me anytime I'm wrong. I know Adv Mpofu has another engagement, so I'm trying to hurry things along here to assist him. Now when you do an affidavit, you do it from the perspective of your experience at the Public Protector's Office. And your observations, as I understand what you say, do you have a copy of your affidavit in front of you?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: Okay, let's put it up. As you say at the bottom of paragraph 7: "I will therefore share my own experiences and observations in the hope that this will assist the Committee in the performance of its task".

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: So, the affidavit is drafted from the perspective of your own experiences.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Alright. Okay, so let's talk about that experience for a moment. Right. You served in the GGI unit as a senior investigator?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Right, you would answer to a chief investigator?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: The chief investigator would answer to the provincial representative?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: To the head of GGI?

Mr Lamula: To the executive manager of GGI.

Adv Bawa: Executive manager of GGI, right?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: That Executive Manager: GGI then answers when there's a COO, to the COO, or both to the COO and the CEO, depending on who's there.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: That then goes up to the PP?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Now how much direct contact do you have with the PP?

Mr Lamula: I will say during the Dashboard, we would have direct contact with the PP.

Chairperson: Just pause that one, Adv Bawa. Adv Mpofu?

Adv Mpofu: Chairperson, with your permission, and this is our fault, I didn't realise the witness doesn't have his statement in front of him. I have an unsigned version if I can just give it to him in case he needs to refer to it. Thanks.

Adv Bawa: Let's just list then we'll come to the nature of it in a moment. You say Dashboard meetings?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Any other contact besides Dashboard meetings?

Mr Lamula: There were of course some contacts when I was dealing with certain particular cases that she wanted an update. So I would go there with the chief investigator and we will update her.

Adv Bawa: As a senior investigator, you don't serve on any other committee, on which the PP also sits?

Mr Lamula: No. As a senior investigator, I will only have that interaction at the Dashboard. And later, there was a file inspection dashboard. And when there is a need for her to call n us to say, I want feedback on this particular matter, then I will go and give that feedback.

Adv Bawa: Okay. Now let's talk about these Dashboard meetings for a moment. I'll tell you why I want to go to the Dashboard meetings. It fits into the context of – when did you start attending Dashboard meetings?

Mr Lamula: I can't precisely remember. But it was around 2018, if not 2019? I can't precisely remember the period.

Adv Bawa: Now we have heard evidence here that initially Dashboard meetings were quarterly, and then they became monthly, and sometimes they were even more frequent. Did you go to every Dashboard meeting?

Mr Lamula: No, it was not every Dashboard meeting. It was dependent on the matters that I was handling. If my matters were those that were out of timeframe, or special case matters, then I have to report on those matters at Dashboard. But like I said, initially, the Dashboard was meant for the chief investigators, as well as the executive managers. Then later, investigators were roped in. So I can't remember when I started attending the Dashboard.

Adv Bawa: In fact, that was correct. We've heard evidence here that it was only sometimes that investigators came, from approximately sometime last year, that investigators attended the meetings. But for the most part, it was up to the executive – no, sorry, in 2020 not last year, I’m in 2022 now. For the most part it was the executive managers that accounted at the Dashboard meetings for the investigations and the files that fall under them. Would that be correct?

Mr Lamula: That is correct. I've already led evidence on that

Adv Bawa: In fact, in 2020, it was Covid. So I might actually be right, that there wasn't even physical meetings in 2020. Whatever would have occurred was virtual.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: And so do you attend the meetings virtually, or do you attend them physically?

Mr Lamula: They were attended virtually for the larger part of the year, but there were instances where it will be one or two, if I can remember, where it was in the open in the conference room.

Adv Bawa: Okay.

Mr Lamula: Remember there was Covid so it was not something that was done frequently. So maybe it was one or two.

Adv Bawa: I'm going to come back to the question of Dashboards in a moment. But let’s just go back to paragraph six of your affidavit. It can be flighted just to help the Members. Now you say you've not followed the evidence of all the witnesses who have previously testified. But you've listened to some of the evidence and followed some of the reports in the media. Whose evidence did you listen to?

Mr Lamula: I listened to not the whole presentation by Mr Neshunzhi. I listened to the evidence by Mr Sithole, and I also listened to evidence led by Mr Cornelius [van der Merwe], just to mention a few. But most of them I just read from the newspapers. What I was presented. I did not entirely follow the whole process. It was just pieces and bites.

Adv Bawa: I don't blame you, Mr Lamula. Okay, so you listened to Mr Neshunzhi, Mr Sithole, and Mr van der Merwe?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: And maybe not all of them?

Mr Lamula: Yeah. Not all of them and not to the entire presentation.

Adv Bawa: Did you listen to anybody else?

Mr Lamula: I can't, I can't say I listened, because it would be like two minutes, three minutes, then you are off because you have to be working most of the time. I did not listen to other witnesses that presented, I don’t know. I know that Pona[tshego Mogaladi] presented. I know that Ms Nelisiwe also testified. I know that Nthoriseng [Motsitsi] also testified but I did not listen to their evidence.

Adv Bawa: And did you read any of the affidavits?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: There are transcripts of their evidence on the internet. Did you consider any of the transcripts?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: So can I ask you, in paragraph 7, you say: “I'm of the firm view that some of the evidence has grossly misrepresented the true situation of the Public Protector's Office, the nature and purpose of the relevant meetings.” I’m looking at paragraph 7. Tell me, what evidence in your view grossly misrepresented the true situation at the Public Protector's Office?

Mr Lamula: The issue about deadlines.

Adv Bawa: Yes.

Mr Lamula: The deadlines were not imposed. They were coming from our investigation plans and when I read this from the newspaper, I was of the view that it was presented by, if I'm not mistaken by Ms Mogaladi or Ms Nthoriseng. As I say, I did not follow all the presentation. But I read about such things in the newspaper. Sometimes I'll go in there, and have two minutes, three minutes listening but not the entire presentation.

Adv Bawa: For the most part, you've got that from media reports?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: The part that you say was a gross misrepresentation was that deadlines were imposed?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Was there anything else that you thought was a gross misrepresentation?

Mr Lamula: The issue of saying the Public Protector wanted to be worshipped. I have already demonstrated that in my experience, she has not been that person. The issue of saying we compromise quality by pushing deadlines. Also I read from the reports – I think I've already presented that we were sent back; that if the work was not of good quality, we were sent back.

Adv Bawa: And did you read all the media reports that were out that you could find? Do you have a specific media report that you favoured?

Mr Lamula: No. I have read from the City Press, I read from Sunday Times. I also read from the Daily Maverick.

Adv Bawa: Okay. You then go on in paragraph 8: “I do agree with what all the employee witnesses have confirmed.” How did you ascertain what all the employee witnesses had confirmed?

Mr Lamula: Like I said, I read the testimonies, what was testified from the newspapers, in a summary of the newspaper articles. When the person has testified, there will be an article that is written on that particular person, then I will read that and understand what was being testified all about.

Adv Bawa: Mr Lamula, I'm not disputing that they had evidence here that the PP is hardworking, she's dedicated, she puts in long hours. What I'm putting to you is that, to my recollection, that was not the evidence of all the witnesses. Nor did all the witnesses say that.

Mr Lamula: It could be that. If that is your view. But what I'm saying, from what I know, and what I've read from the newspapers, I could say all witnesses. Maybe I should not have said all witnesses; I should have said from the witnesses’ testimony that I've read.

Adv Bawa: And all the witnesses didn't necessarily say she was highly driven. I'm not putting words in your mouth, but I want to – let's leave it at the level of what you obtained of the information of the witnesses, you obtained from media reports. Other than the three whom you've listened to. Would you agree?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: So you would know that media reports are hearsay evidence.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: If the journalist got it wrong, then you would be lulled by that wrong information.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: You then go on to say in paragraph 7, “the nature and purpose of the relevant meetings.” Which meetings are you referring to?

Mr Lamula: The Dashboard meetings, the file inspection meetings.

Adv Bawa: Okay, those are the only two meetings you are referring to.

Mr Lamula: The Quality Assurance meetings.

Adv Bawa: The?

Mr Lamula: Quality assurance meetings.

Adv Bawa: Do you go to Quality Assurance meetings?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Since when?

Mr Lamula: Since its inception, I think around late last year, because there is a unit for Quality Assurance.

Adv Bawa: There’s been a unit for Quality Assurance, sorry Mr Lamula, there has been a unit for Quality Assurance much longer, because the PP started something much earlier was our evidence. But you started attending from when?

Mr Lamula: You attend the Quality Assurance meetings when you have a matter that needs to be discussed. So for all my matters that were discussed at Quality Assurance, I attended those meetings. Besides the Quality Assurance, we have also got the Full Bench meeting. If the matter has been discussed at Quality Assurance, it goes to the Full Bench, where it is also discussed. So you will attend those meetings depending on your matters that are there.

Adv Bawa: So when you have a report that comes up, you would go to the Full Bench meeting with your report?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: You say you disagree with some of the evidence given on these topics? Which specific evidence do you disagree on the topics of the meetings?

Mr Lamula: I have already indicated that I disagree with what was said about deadlines.

Adv Bawa: Okay. Right. What intentions and objectives of the Public Protector were you referring to?

Mr Lamula: I'm referring to the work of the Office, and what the Public Protector wanted to achieve at the end of the day. Her intention when she calls these meetings is to make sure that the work is going smoothly and the objectives that we need to render a service.

Adv Bawa: You’ll get informed that that's her intention and objectives by which manner?

Mr Lamula: Come again?

Adv Bawa: How do you know that that's her intention and objectives?

Mr Lamula: They are there in the strat plan.

Adv Bawa: In the?

Mr Lamula: In the strat plan or business plan, and in the vision 2020/23.

Adv Bawa: That's good. Right. Let's come to the Dashboard meetings. You didn't really attend the Dashboard meetings in 2018 and 2019, did you?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: So you start attending Dashboard meetings sometime in 2020?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: And you only attend those Dashboard meetings at which you're asked to come and explain about your report.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Now the reason I asked you this, Mr Lamula, is that we've had several witnesses who came here and they said to us, when you go to Dashboard, you don't discuss the substance of the report. You don't assess the quality or the detail of the report, what we go there for is, is to say, where's the report at? Why is the report late? What still needs to be done on the report? Where's the section 7(2) notice? But we don't actually have a conversation about the details of the report at the Dashboard meeting. That happens at Quality Assurance and at Full Bench, but not at Dashboard.

Mr Lamula: I disagree. It’s the same approach from Quality Assurance, the same approach at Full Bench, and the same approach at Dashboard. In fact, the discussion is there. You can just get there, and you're asked to report. Of course, those questions they are asked, but there is a discussion.

Adv Bawa: Don’t misunderstand me, Mr Lamula. When you go there, and you say there's a discussion, there's a discussion about the state of your report.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: There is no discussion about the substance of your report. In other words, what occurs at Quality Assurance and at Full Bench, where they go through your report in detail, and they make comments on it and they criticise it, and they have input from everybody around the table, is not what occurs with Dashboards.

Mr Lamula: No, that is not my experience.

Adv Bawa: So I wanted to raise this with you in the evidence because – and I'm going to give you an opportunity to comment – Mr Mahlangu. Right. I asked him the question about which meetings in the organisation he attended. His answer was" "There was three of them, it was an Exco where it would be the Public Protector, the Deputy Public Protector and myself, then there would be another level, including executive management teams that would involve the heads of investigation, legal and chief financial officer, and a separate one that was mainly about case management, which is called the Dashboard. The Dashboard meetings about case management relate to the various investigations". Correct? Mr Mahlangu then said to me, "Dashboard is basically where they give stock of where they are. They do not discuss the content of the investigations, but the resources that they will need for them to finalise their cases, so that administratively we can ensure that the necessary tools of the trade are there for him". Can you comment on that?

Mr Lamula: It’s not, it's not my experience at Dashboard. The Dashboard discusses the content of the matter that we're handling. Of course, determining what the challenges are that you're experiencing. It was not just a tick in the box – the content was discussed. I'm talking about my experience, on what I have experienced at the Dashboards where my reports were discussed. The content was discussed, then I was given direction, I was given even support from the Dashboard.

Adv Bawa: Mr Lamula, we are talking past each other. I'm not disputing that the challenges you're experiencing in delivering the report are dealt with at Dashboard. Don't get me wrong, I'm not disagreeing with you – that if you come there and say, I can't get x, or this is a difficulty, we may need a subpoena, or I haven't had the response from this department for six months.

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Adv Bawa: That that is what is dealt with at the Dashboard level. What I'm debating with you is – there is no debate of “Well, actually, you've got the law wrong in your report on page 46, XYZ”; they do not discuss the actual substance or the merits of the report at Dashboard level, they try and clear up the obstacles for the purposes of the delivery of the report.

Mr Lamula: Ja, maybe if I can put it in this way, you’ll understand it. Maybe it will be on a case by case situation, where in certain instances, what you are saying it's happening in certain instances, what I'm saying has happened.

Adv Bawa: So give me off the top of your head in the period that you were the senior investigator, how many Dashboard meetings did you attend?

Mr Lamula: I won't speculate. I did attend lots of them.

Adv Bawa: And you were there, and you maintain that in these meetings, the substance of the reports were discussed?

Mr Lamula: The substance of my reports were discussed in certain Dashboards, of course, as you are saying, I was given direction.

Adv Bawa: And Ms Mogaladi’s evidence was: "Dashboard meeting is a meeting of the Public Protector with all the executive managers. Initially, we would report on the cases that fall outside the defined turnaround times. So we have three different turnaround times for finalising investigations". Then she describes the turnaround times. "Initially Dashboards were quarterly, and then it was changed to monthly, we would then report on the cases and the progress of these cases".

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Adv Bawa: Do you agree on that? Then paragraph 109 of Ms Mogaladi’s affidavit, she described again what the Dashboards meetings were about. And we've heard from various witnesses before about the Dashboard meetings, and what they were about: "Executive managers would present the performance and present what strides would be made to deal with the backlog, and they give an overall picture of the unit's performance", and so on. That was what Ms Mogaladi said about after she came back from suspension. That was the case before she went on suspension. Then the Dashboard meetings were extended for reporting to expand to all current matters. You agree with that?

Mr Lamula: Yes, I'll agree to that. Initially, as I said, we were not part of the Dashboard. Maybe the issue of saying it was only the high-level reporting is equivalent to those periods. But when I started reporting to Dashboard, I can assure you that I have to go through the case. Like I said, it could be a case by case where the Public Protector may have an interest in, say, taking you through this matter. There could be instances where it has a high level presentation.

Adv Bawa: The purpose of these Dashboard meetings, Adv Mpofu put to Ms Mogaladi in cross examination, was to manage the backlog and to make sure that deadlines were met. You agree with that? That was the actual purpose of the meetings.

Mr Lamula: It is a hybrid purpose; it is meant to manage the backlogs. It was also meant to ensure that there is no backlog recurring. It was also meant to keep the Public Protector, the DPP and the senior managers informed of the progress on matters. So it was not meant for one purpose.

Adv Bawa: And Ms Motsitsi said, “I was not part of investigations, but I would have to sit two or three days listening to the product and wait to be delivered”. Let me just – “the longer ones where we then had to prepare memos”. This is the part that you came – Ms Motsitsi says, “the convention then came to be that when you were late on your cases, you then had to provide a memo to explain some part of your case, would then be considered in anticipation for the meeting”. Can you comment on that?

Mr Lamula: Yes. For those who have prepared memos, that was the approach. For those who have not prepared memos, we can't say they did that. I have already indicated that I did prepare memos when my matters were falling behind to conscientise the executive authority that I may not meet this deadline.

Adv Bawa: I'm going to come to what you presented in a moment. You see, Mr Lamula, the overwhelming evidence put before this Committee by both direct and cross examinations was a distinction between how Dashboards operated, and how Full Bench and Quality Assurance operated. Which differs from what you said in your affidavit. I thought let me clear that up with you in understanding. I also understand that the Dashboard was an innovation of the Public Protector when during her period, it could even be before you came there. When you arrived at the Public Protector's Office, were they still doing Think Tank meetings?

Mr Lamula: No, I just heard that there was a Think Tank meeting but it was sort of not operational when I started working there.

Adv Bawa: Okay. You never went to a Think Tank meeting?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: What the EMs, who came to testify here, disagree with you on is that at the Dashboard meetings, right, that investigators’ work would be thoroughly evaluated and assessed. That was not what was happening in Dashboard meetings.

Mr Lamula: Come again?

Adv Bawa: That the investigators’ reports were not thoroughly evaluated and assessed at Dashboard meetings.

Mr Lamula: I’ve already indicated that maybe it’s a case by case situation whereby the Public Protector would have an interest in the Dashboard where you would present, and your matter is thoroughly assessed. I’m talking from what happened to me; that is what has happened. There could be other instances where it was a high-level presentation of where you are, what are the hurdles, the bottlenecks, and so on and so forth. So it was a hybrid setup.

Adv Bawa: And in your view the outcome, the desired outcome of a Dashboard meeting was to obtain the quality, was to see to the quality of the report.

Mr Lamula: The quality of the work.

Adv Bawa: The quality of the work.

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Adv Bawa: So in your assessment the purpose of Dashboard meetings was for purposes of dealing with the quality of the work.

Mr Lamula: The whole spectrum of investigation, the quality of the work, the quality of how we conduct ourselves as investigators, and how we plan our work. More to be given direction, and given some coaching on how you go about handling a particular matter.

Adv Bawa: Give me an example of one of the reports that you had so presented to the Dashboard meeting, one of your reports that you went through the evaluation and the assessment of that report at the Dashboard meeting.

Mr Lamula: I had a matter relating to the City of Tshwane, that was related to an irregular appointment. I also handled the matter relating to the departure by the current Speaker of Parliament to Zimbabwe by aircraft. Then there was also a matter that I handled – I'm talking about matters that I'm pretty sure that I discussed in my Dashboard – on TUT issues. So those letters, I presented them at Dashboard, and I got directions from the PP and the management there.

Adv Bawa: Are you sure you're not confusing that with Full Bench?

Mr Lamula: No, I know what Full Bench means, I know what Dashboard means. I know what Quality Assurance means.

Adv Bawa: And did you present those very same reports to Full Bench?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: So I want to take you to Ms Baloyi’s evidence in this regard. If we pull up her affidavit, paragraph 10 to 16. Ms Baloyi was there from February 2019 to October 2019. Right? So maybe Ms Baloyi is not a good example, because you were not at Dashboard meetings in 2019. Let's go to Ms Mogaladi’s affidavit at paragraph 107. Sorry, Chair. I don't want to mislead the witness by doing that. Ms Mogaladi starts to explain what I’ve indicated to you earlier on, and I'm going to pick it up at paragraph 109 of the affidavit. At 108, she says: “Turnaround times” and that's the service level turnaround times, “means that the investigation of a particular matter must be completed within a set period, calculated from the date of receipt of a complaint by the [Office of the Public Protector]. Backlog matters are therefore matters in which those turnaround times have been exceeded and investigations have not been completed within those [turnaround] times.” Do you agree with that?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Let me just understand, let me digress for a minute. When you get allocated a backlog matter, then those service times are already gone? Would that be correct, because it's a backlog matter?

Mr Lamula: You don’t get allocated a backlog matter.

Adv Bawa: Sorry?

Mr Lamula: You don’t get allocated a backlog matter. In my experience, the matters that I got were within time. They just aged within my hands. Of course, when someone resigns, there will be reallocations of those matters. So maybe that's where you'll say you were getting allocated a backlog matter. But in actual fact, you are allocated a matter, in my experience, it will age in my possession. There will be instances where someone has resigned, or has taken a position somewhere then there will be reallocations of those matters. That’s where maybe you are referring to when you are allocated a backlog matter

Adv Bawa: That's what I mean.

Mr Lamula: Oh.

Adv Bawa: You’re allocated a matter. A GGI matter that is past two years, is given to you because someone had resigned or somebody had passed, or somebody had left. Now you’re sitting with this matter and it’s more than two years old. What guidelines do you use for that matter?

Mr Lamula: You will have to look into the investigation plan of the previous investigator: What is it that they have done? What steps are still outstanding? And you will have to follow their investigation diary to see if you can – when you apply, when you request an amended investigation diary, what is it that you're going to be doing in that particular instance? And what are the issues that were left out? So you can’t just go there and say, this matter is old; I need more time. You have to present your plan on that particular matter, based on the date on which you have received it as a continuation of the previous investigation plan.

Adv Bawa: If that matter’s already so old, can you take it and put it on the bottom of your pile, and say, I've got 25 other matters to deal with; I’ll come to that in six months time?

Mr Lamula: No, you can't do that.

Adv Bawa: Would that not be right?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: And you would have to account for that matter?

Mr Lamula: Yes, every month we submit monthly statistics, reflecting what it is that we have been doing with our individual matters. So you put it under the box, it will be known that this file is not moving. There is also file inspection that was conducted by seniors so they are aware that there is no progress on this file, or the process is very slow.

Adv Bawa: Okay, so let's get back to the screen. Then Ms Mogaladi explains in paragraph 109: "It's the EM that presents, and what strides will be made to deal with the backlog. The EMs would give an overall picture of the unit’s performance as well as reports on how many cases were received by each of the provinces under supervision; how many cases were closed; how many cases have exceeded their turnaround time and set specific milestones and timeframes for dealing with backlog matters". Do you do take issue with that?

Mr Lamula: I will say there were instances where EMs were presenting the Dashboard, taking stock of the work of their respective branches before we were roped in as investigators, when we have to come in to account for our own matters.

Adv Bawa: Then further down she says: “When I came back from suspension, [which was sometime in 2021], I noted during these meetings the focus was only in answer to the following two questions: “What product; by when?” By ‘product’ the PP meant what outcome, for example, an allegations letter, discretionary notice or a section 7(9) notice.” Do you take issue with that?

Mr Lamula: I do take issue because it was not what it is, because these questions were based on the investigation plan of that particular file. And at certain instances, like I said, you could go in there to present a report that you have finalised; a report that the Public Protector has got an interest in. So these questions won’t be asked; you will be deliberating on that report. So the questions are talking to – what is in the investigation plan; if say, it is the 1st December and in your investigation plan, you indicated that by the 30 November you would have issued an allegations letter – that would be relevant to say, what is the product today? No, an allegations letter has already been issued. This is what I'm expecting from the institution. And I'm expecting a response on this particular day.

Adv Bawa: So let's go down. “An EM will then respond to the PP and say, by way of illustration, the product is an allegations letter, and that this product will be issued within 30 days. The answer of the EM is typically informed by the information available to the EM including, amongst other issues, the stage at which an investigation is; its complexity; the resources available to conduct that investigation, and constraints presenting in the investigation.”

Mr Lamula: It’s correct, because this is what was happening before we were roped in. Like I said, there were instances where EMs were not in the Dashboard. And as branches, we were doing our own dashboard, and feeding into the Dashboard of the Public Protector.

Adv Bawa: We're not talking about your own dashboard. Let’s distinguish this. We're only talking about the PP Dashboard meeting. I understand your evidence, and I think they concurred that every unit had their own dashboard meeting – they would feed that information to the EM, and the EM would take that to the PP meeting. You see, Mr Lamula, I'm having difficulty understanding how every investigator could report on all their reports at Dashboard meetings.

Mr Lamula: I'm talking about myself.

Adv Bawa: You're talking about yourself, but you attended those Dashboard meetings.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: And so if you say that investigators went to Dashboard meetings, you were not the only investigator. There would have been other investigators doing reports.

Mr Lamula: I have indicated that it was a hybrid process where there could have been a heads-up where people will report at high level, and there will be those like me who have reported directly on the content of the investigation. I think I've responded to that.

Adv Bawa: So not everybody, in your view. You reported on the content but you accepting that not everybody reported on the content.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Then if you go down, she says… Was there a distinction between cases that the PP took a specific interest in and cases that she didn't take an interest in? Because you said earlier on it depends on if the PP took an interest in a case.

Mr Lamula: When we get involved in the Dashboard, there were your EMEA [Executive Members' Ethics Act] matters, like special attention matters, those that dictated that the Public Protector would want to know what is the status constantly. There are those that are your normal matters where we have to give the current status, where are we going, and a general overview. But once the matter is about to reach a backlog stage, say it’s a 12-month matter, now at the 10th month you have not produced, you are not at a stage that you can indicate you can close this matter and issue a report. Then that matter will be treated as a special attention matter because it's about to reach its turnaround time.

Adv Bawa: And when you – have you done an EMEA matter, which one was that?

Mr Lamula: I'm doing an EMEA matter now.

Adv Bawa: No, no, not now, when you… let's talk about when you were at head office.

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: As PR you’re at a different level. So when you were at head office, were you doing any EMEA matters?

Mr Lamula: No, I just assisted in an EMEA matter.

Adv Bawa: Okay. And were you answering on any special attention matters?

Mr Lamula: Come again?

Adv Bawa: Any special attention matters?

Mr Lamula: Yes. The matter related to Ms Mapisa-Nqakula going to Zimbabwe was a special attention matter.

Adv Bawa: Ms Mogaladi said: “The PP demonstrated no interest in these factors, all of which were relevant. If she was of the mind that 30 days was too long for the product, the PP will typically impose her own deadlines. She will say, again by illustration, that she wants the product within 15 days. If you seek to explain to her that it cannot be done in this timeframe and for these reasons, the PP will refuse to hear or listen to your explanation, and rigidly insist on the product being produced on the date that she had set, no matter how unreasonable in the circumstances.” Do you disagree with that?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: And do you wish to comment on that?

Mr Lamula: Yes. I have already demonstrated that some of the deadlines that are statutorily imposed. You can’t change them. I've also demonstrated that the deadlines are coming from our own investigation plans. I have also indicated that deadlines were often – she was strict in terms of deadlines, but she was amenable to an extension if you requested such an extension. So I disagree that she was unreasonable, because most of the deadlines were, in terms of the investigation plan, by the investigators. If there is good cause to say 'we can't achieve this one', based on whatever circumstances, she is amenable to listen to that.

Adv Bawa: Okay. And give me examples of what’s that good cause.

Mr Lamula: A root cause could be an issue where an investigator went to start leave for a long period or the investigator was sick, or the investigator had some personal issues, or a genuine upfront to say, I did not do this, maybe I'm overwhelmed, or there are different circumstances as per an investigator.

Adv Bawa: If you said to her, I'm just not getting to it, I can't do it, I haven't managed my time.

Mr Lamula: Then you will need to indicate to the Public Protector what needs to be done, because you are unable to manage your time. You can't give your problem without a suggestion. If you say, I can't manage my time and this is what I wish to be done so that I can manage my time, then it is you who has to bring that upfront. But if you just say manage my time, who will manage your time, you have to bring it up and say these are the obstacles that are making me not to manage my time. By the way, it's not only the Public Protector who will be looking into this thing. This thing comes from the supervisor. They should have picked it up to say you are unable to manage your time and what interventions can be put in place.

Adv Bawa: Paragraph 182. Mr Lamula, you've got some cases that are in backlog.

Mr Lamula: Come again?

Adv Bawa: You’ve got backlog cases.

Mr Lamula: Yes, I've got one backlog case.

Adv Bawa: I'm told, in 182 there were three backlog cases that were accredited to you. Right. So the first case, you may have since reported on it, I don't know what was the last report on this. But in the first case – let's just go to the left of the screen – well you know them Mr Lamula – the one would be the SASSA investigation, the Msibi SASSA matter, and the Nyambi TUT matter. If you go to columns J, K, L. Right. J is your reasons for the delay.

Mr Lamula: Ja

Adv Bawa: 'Improve on time management and work prioritisation' for two of them, and the last one is 'awaiting response'. But those cases took 45 months, 37 months, 28 months? Those are all out of time. Would you agree?

Mr Lamula: Yes. They're all out of time. What you are missing is that when these cases were allocated to me.

Adv Bawa: Now go back. Let's go back to B. Right. It says there was an allocation received by the investigator 4th of July 2018, 31st of July 2019, and 5th of October 2019.

Mr Lamula: Yes. And all these matters are GGI complex.

Adv Bawa: It says GGI investigation.

Mr Lamula: It is a GGI investigation, I'm saying this one on the file, it is GGI complex. So GGI complex takes six months, and…

Adv Bawa: No, Mr Lamula, GGI complex is not six months, it's longer.

Mr Lamula: 36 months.

Adv Bawa: 36 months.

Mr Lamula: That’s 3-6 months, yes.

Adv Bawa: So why would they be on a backlog list?

Mr Lamula: They're on a backlog because I did not finalise them within the prescribed time frame.

Adv Bawa: Okay. And did you provide a memo on each of them as to why they were not…

Mr Lamula: I provided a memo, ja.

Adv Bawa: To whom did you give that memo, Mr Lamula?

Mr Lamula: To, because I reported to various managers, I think it was Johann Raubenheimer.

Adv Bawa: Sorry?

Mr Lamula: Adv Johann Raubenheimer.

Adv Bawa: Yes.

Mr Lamula: Yes. The SASSA matter and the TUT matter were complex. We even, if you can allow me, with the TUT matter with Nyambi, we even had to seek a legal opinion. So it was not like I'm just unable to finalise it. Then the Msibi matter was also one of those matters where I wanted to close it because the SIU was investigating. At the time I wanted to close it, there were some delays, because we were reporting to the late Mr Nyembe. Then it was sent back for me to relook into the matters, and I had to rework it again. So I agree that it was out of turnaround time.

Adv Bawa: Mr Lamula, I don't want you to misunderstand me. Matters are complex, and they require time for you to investigate, so that you can do a proper job. And if they take longer than three years so that you can do a proper job, they are going to have to take longer than three years.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Would you agree with that?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: The assessment of how long it takes and what happens with guidance. The best person to know that would be the investigator who was dealing with a file.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Would you agree with that?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Right. So I want to take you to a memo along the lines that you refer to. Page 3919 of Ms Mogaladi’s affidavit. It's a memorandum which was submitted to the PP by the late Mr Madiba. And, Mr Lamula, I share your sentiments that Mr Madiba. I don't mean any disrespect to the late Mr Madiba in doing this; I just want to say that I share your sentiment. So we are on the same page in how we discuss this in that manner. What Mr Madiba did – he was the chief investigator in November 2018 – he prepared a memorandum on matters that were not finalised with explanations as to why they were not finalised. He provided it to the Public Protector, this full explanation along the lines that you've explained. Now your explanation would go to Johann Raubenheimer, correct? Or whoever you were answering to.

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Adv Bawa: The EMs would go to the Public Protector or the COO if they are there.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: This is a memorandum providing a report on why certain matters were not transmitted to her as expected. He hadn't delivered – that's the bottom line – on the date on which he had undertaken to deliver. I want to go to the last page of the memorandum, to take you to the comments. The last page is on page 3923. Right. He writes this memorandum, and we've already put the substance of this before the Committee, that's why I'm giving you a shortcut. “It is recommended that the Public Protector consider and approve granting me, Abongile Madiba, an extension until Friday 9 November 2018 to submit finalised s7(9) notices for the FSB and Mbalula investigations and issue directives; that whilst concentrating on those two notices, I must not be diverted to do other tasks. Any further and/or alternative approach that the Public Protector may deem appropriate.” He writes this memorandum on 2 November and he asks for a week's extension to do that. Can you read the response…the handwritten… you're probably better able to read the PPs handwriting than I am. Can you just read that?

Mr Lamula: I can't…I never been able to read her… how she writes.

Adv Bawa: Right, let me try, and I'm sure Adv Mpofu is better at this.

Chairperson: He used to struggle to read her writing when she wrote.

Adv Bawa: Adv Mpofu, help me out here.

Adv Mpofu: On the handwritten part? It says: Madiba, your explanation is not accepted. I feel undermined by just indicating that if not satisfied, must reallocate (that means there must be consequences against you). Same to those I took the FSB matter from.” Yes. “ACOO [that’s somebody else] can have the investigator’s section 7(9) of Mbalula to sign (do not agree with the revised version by Madiba) today (Annexure C). Madiba to be issued with a verbal warning and Ms Sekele. For that meeting the target set to submit the two section 7(9)s. Can I have the reworked section 7(9) of FSB by the end of business tomorrow (7/11/2018)”.

Adv Bawa: Forget about the substance or the reasons. All I want to demonstrate to you, Mr Lamula; it's not as simple as saying, put an explanation in the memo, submit it and everything will be fine. Would you agree that that's not always the case?

Mr Lamula: Yes, I've already demonstrated that on a case by case basis, she may approve or she may decline. I've demonstrated in my evidence-in-chief that at times she will refuse, because in my affidavit I said she's very rigid on deadlines.

Adv Bawa: The EM has also told us and even Mr Samuel, who was the PR, who said often there would be audi letters issued to us as the managers, or we would have to provide explanations for those who worked below us, our investigators. And because we were concerned about the morale in the organisation, we didn't filter that down. We offered an explanation. So if Mr Lamula was in my unit, and I was told to issue an audi because it was late I didn't necessarily issue the audi against Mr Lamula, I provided the explanation. Do you have any reason to dispute that?

Mr Lamula: No, I don't have reason to dispute that; that was their call.

Adv Mpofu: Chairperson. If I may be excused, I was tempted to walk out because I've been made to read…But I think it’s better if I asked to be excused, Mr Shabalala will be here to complete. Thank you very much.

Adv Bawa: Mr Mpofu, but I used your expertise; I can be collegial despite that. Mr Lamula, can I ask you because this Committee can receive evidence in writing and orally, and I want to ask you this before Adv Mpofu leaves. I would like you to provide this Committee with two or three of the dates on which you attended a Dashboard meeting at which you had received what you had indicated in your report. You don't need to give us anything other than the dates. Would you be able to provide that to us in due course?

Mr Lamula: I'm not sure where I'll get the dates because that is managed by the private secretary of the Public Protector.

Adv Bawa: So if we get you the dates of the Dashboard meetings which would show you which reports, would you be able to say which one you presented at?

Mr Lamula: If there is an agenda in which my report is there, I can probably…

Adv Bawa: It would be better to take a 2021 agenda because we were more in Covid lockdown in 2020, and in 2019 you weren’t there. If we got the list of agendas and meeting dates of 2021, you'd be able to demonstrate.

Mr Lamula: I can indicate to say on this particular meeting, this is the matter that I presented.

Adv Mpofu: Chair, for what it’s worth, I think we can do that. We would start by identifying the matters where he gave detail, then check in which Dashboard meeting it was. I think between the witness and the Public Protector we will be able to produce those examples, a couple of them.

Adv Bawa: I'm not disputing what the witness is saying, but I don't want this to become an issue with the Public Protector later. So let's clear it up in the backroom as such.

Adv Mpofu: We’ll certainly provide those examples, and we can undertake that when the Public Protector testifies, we can revisit it. Thanks, Chair.

Chairperson: Thank you, we can now release you.

Adv Bawa: As I understand your sense was that Dashboard meetings were a learning terrain at which you learn from your colleagues that presented the reports and the criticisms given and you gave your reports, is that correct?

Mr Lamula: Correct. Correct.

Adv Bawa: And would you in that process also contribute to your colleagues’ reports?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Are you given those reports before Dashboard meetings?

Mr Lamula: Ja, the reports are circulated by the senior managers. Sometimes, when the agenda is presented, we can see the list of reports that are going to be presented; they are attached there. You can even read on your own if you want.

Adv Bawa: I'm aware that the EMs gets the reports. But do you, the investigator that goes to the meeting, have an opportunity to consider your colleagues’ report before you go to a Dashboard, or substantive input?

Mr Lamula: Yes, there are those reports that you may be working… you may be aware of, then you make those inputs. There are those that you will see them for the first time. With me, I happen to have seen some of them before they were discussed, because it's not like we're working in silos, we're working, exchanging that information.

Adv Bawa: We're talking past each other, Mr Lamula. What I'm trying to ascertain from you – prior to a Dashboard meeting, they go to Mr Lamula and to Mr X and Mrs Y and Z, and they say here's the agenda of the Dashboard. Mr Lamula, Mr X, and Mr Y are presenting. Here are all their reports so you are prepared for purposes of providing input on these reports at the Dashboard meeting.

Mr Lamula: No, what happens when the reports are sent to the PP for that particular Dashboard, they are sent individually. But before the Dashboard, the agenda is sent to all of us who will be in that meeting. And you can see the reports as they are attached.

Adv Bawa: So the reports are all attached to the agenda. So it's like a meeting pack with everything in it.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: And you generally get the agenda a week or two before the meeting?

Mr Lamula: It will depend. But the standard sometimes from the Public Protector's Office will be seven days before, sometimes five days. Depending on the availability, sometimes it could be like, four days, depending on the number of reports that will be discussed.

Adv Bawa: Mr Sithole said that on occasions he got such short notice, he wasn't able to go through all the reports.

Mr Lamula: He is correct. You may not be able to go through all the reports. It's a matter of preferences.

Adv Bawa: But let me not misrepresent, Mr Sithole said that in respect of not Dashboards, but Quality Assurance, because I don't think he attends Dashboards. Does he attend Dashboards?

Mr Lamula: No, he attended Quality Assurance and Full Bench.

Adv Bawa: Right. So he doesn't get involved in Dashboard meetings, deadlines, etc. But don't worry about it, Mr Lamula, it’s not…Let's talk about deadlines for a moment. You indicated that an investigator doesn't have a choice as to when they want to investigate reports.

Mr Lamula: Come again?

Adv Bawa: An investigator doesn't have a choice as to when they want to start investigating a report. You can’t decide I'm in January now. Mr Jantjies got a complaint that's been given to me, I'm going to commence with that in April.

Mr Lamula: No. There are service standards. The moment you receive a file, they kick in.

Adv Bawa: Okay.

Mr Lamula: So you don't decide as to when you start; the moment the file is allocated to you, it's a standard time period in the service standards; they automatically kick in.

Adv Bawa: Mr Lamula, do you remember the SANParks matter that you were dealing with?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Right. Go to 188. Right. By the time the matter had come to you, it had been a matter that had been lodged in 2013 already. The file had only gotten to you in 2018.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: So by then it was a matter that was long overdue.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Right. By the time that matter had come to you, it was somewhere around March 2018.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Right? And you have then made contact with the complainants in the matter.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: At the bottom of the document. The first communication you have with him is you inform them that you are now “reallocated the matter for further handling. And it would be appreciated if you can contact me for the purpose of discussing your complaint considering that the events that necessitated the lodging of a complaint may have changed.” And understandably, you asked that question because it was five years later. Am I correct?

Mr Lamula: It’s based on the nature of the complaint that was lodged, and the period that has lapsed before the matter could be sorted out.

Adv Bawa: You say that: “A determination needs to be made that could alter the course of the investigation, including possible closure of the complaint.”

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Okay. “It would be appreciated if your response is received no later than 4 April 2018.” You then get a response from the complainant, who acknowledges receipt. I'm going to read it to you: “The circumstances for lodging the complaint have not changed. We see no reason whatsoever for the closure of the complaint. I sincerely hope that this is not an attempt by your office to find a reason to close this matter, as we [had] many promises [that] have been made by Messrs Masemela and Maphosa. [...] And we can expect feedback in April.” Do you recall that?

Mr Lamula: Ja. So it's on record.

Adv Bawa: Right. Then you acknowledge receipt of this on the same day. And you tell them that you've now been allocated and that you're attending to the matter. You also explained to them that closing an investigation of a complaint is based on available facts, substantive evidence and law.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: I'm actually in agreement with you. Anytime you investigate the matter, it must be based on available facts, substantive evidence and the law. I think you summarised it properly. Would you agree with that?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Right. He then sends you an email to confirm that he will not be within contact range by either email or the given telephone number until 24 April. “I am also confirming that as at this moment there had been none of the contact that you had mentioned in your email here below dated 28 March 2018. I will be contacting you soon after my return with the hope of you being able to inform me what progress has been made regarding the AIKONA complaint [that has been submitted five years previously]”. You respond on 3 May. The first email was dated 11 April 2018, he sends an update on 30 April to make further inquiries, you then respond on 3 May. And you tell him that there is no progress report available. “The investigation is in progress and as soon as it has been finalised the report will be made available to yourself. I'm aware that the complaint was lodged in 2013 and has been handled by different investigators since then. I am currently handling the complaint which has been reallocated to me in March as stated in my previous correspondence.” Correct?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Right. You then…there’s two people that are actually communicating with you and you then suggest to them that for purposes of the complaint it must only be one person.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Right. Then there's an explanation for that that is rendered on the same day, which we won't go through. And you tell him on 3 May at 16:06, you respond and you say: “I have responded to your inquiry relating to the progress on the investigation on the AIKONA complaint accordingly and promptly.” You see that, Mr Lamula?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: There's then been a further inquiry by them in July, where they ask you that “I be informed what progress has been made to the investigation of our complaint against SANParks [...]. I have noted the fashion style in which correspondence from your office has been in the past [...]”. That's obviously people who preceded you, correct?

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Adv Bawa: “[...] I am of the opinion that my request for a substantive progress report [would] be reasonable. The impression given by you is the PP is doing us a favour, we do not regard this as a favour but as a service paid by taxpayers money.” You respond, you say to him: "The investigation of your complaint is in progress. I will be drafting [a] provisional report beginning of August 2018. As soon as the draft report is finalised for approval by the Public Protector it will be made available to relevant parties. I will not commit on when the provisional report will be finalised and SANParks would be required to respond. There will be a provisional report and a section 7(9) notice." Go down. “You have a right to exercise any other available options that you feel may bring closure to the investigation of a complaint. I also have no record of you requesting a meeting with myself, all I remember is you requesting to know my position and rank implying that you doubt my expertise and knowledge to investigate your complaint.” Okay. You then get a response. They refer to you where you provide the contact details. They then ask you about if they will get a copy of the report in July…go up…with scrutiny before final findings are made. You then say to them: “My humble request is that if it's possible, may you allow the Public Protector to do its work without fear or favour or suggesting what must be done with the report of the Public Protector as the Public Protector Act is clear on what should be followed when conducting an investigation and who could be the recipients of the report of an investigation that was conducted".

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: They then asked you in September for feedback again. And on 17 September you then indicated that you've requested additional information and documentation from SANParks and you await their response. You will forward the issues that are considered for the investigation for his confirmation.

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Adv Bawa: That’s in September, correct?

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Adv Bawa: Right. They asked you if you've set a deadline for the response. And then say to them on 18 September, “I have provided you with the necessary progress on the complaint. Hope you will respect the process of this investigation without leading me on what must be done in conducting the investigation. Asking me if I have set deadlines for the information and when the information requested is in my version amounts to you supervision of my work. Of course when requesting information or documentation, due dates are set and follow ups and reminders are issued to institutions. I previously indicated that I will start working on the complaint in September. That's what I am doing currently and you should be aware that it’s not only your complaint that should be attended to or that is older. I am currently handling five of such matters and two are against SANParks. There is a task team established to oversee the investigation of complaints that are older than two years and I am accountable to that task team.” That is the task team dealing with the backlog.

Mr Lamula: No. No, that was the task team that was formed by the previous EM, Adv Stoffel, to check progress on matters that were old, and matters that were going to be old. It was a weekly task team that was assisting us in that regard.

Adv Bawa: There was a task register that went to that task team.

Mr Lamula: There was a task register…

Adv Bawa: On dealing with that that preceded the next backlog project. Then the next thing is they ask you to please indicate when you advise that you would start working on the complaint in September: “You may interpret my prompting to you in any way you prefer. You may also regard my anxiety as interfering/supervision. I am convinced that any reasonable person judging this will realise five years is a long time. You previously indicated that updates will be made available regularly. None have been forthcoming. Unfortunately, nothing of substance has been made available, only vague and impolite emails have been forwarded to me and Mr Essrich. I may also add that the gist of your correspondence does not indicate much if any appreciation regarding the follow ups.” Your response to that email was, “Thank you for your appreciation”. Is that correct?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: They then come back and say, please read the communication below. They ask you for a response on four questions: When did you advise that you would start working on the complaint in September; on giving regular updates that nothing of substance has been made available; and that's the gist of your correspondence; and they asked you for a response. What ultimately happens with this complaint, Mr Lamula?

Mr Lamula: It was closed.

Adv Bawa: It was closed?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: So did you ever meet with any of the complainants?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: And did they appeal this closing report?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: And how long after this was it closed?

Mr Lamula: Come again?

Adv Bawa: How long after this was it closed?

Mr Lamula: I can't remember when it was closed, but it was closed.

Adv Bawa: Just closed. Okay. And did you provide memoranda, explaining on deadlines? Or did your deadlines start from when you got the report in March 2018?

Mr Lamula: When I got the file, I had to draft a new…

Adv Bawa: Investigation plan.

Mr Lamula: Investigation plan based on the previous one. But in this matter, there was no investigation plan.

Adv Bawa: There was no.

Mr Lamula: Ja. So there were two matters that were combined into one, relating to SANParks as per the email correspondence. The one had an investigation plan, the other one had no investigation plan. I have to combine them into one file so that I can have an investigation in relation to the two of them.

Adv Bawa: Based on your investigation plan, you had contemplated that you would do this report in September.

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Chairperson: At that point, we'll take a ten-minute break for tea. Then we'll come back and conclude.


Chairperson: Over to you, Adv Bawa.

Adv Bawa: I want to pick it up from Deadlines which is in paragraph 15 of your affidavit. I don't think there's a dispute between us that the witnesses who came to give evidence did not say that there should be no deadlines. The issue in question was the achievability of deadlines imposed, or the reasonableness of deadlines imposed in respect of matters when it came to what the deadline was set at. Apart from what we accept to be the service level, let’s call them the service level deadlines that's contained in the policies. I think the deadlines were… the reasonableness of saying the section 7(9) is due on that day, or a draft is on that day. It was the question of how reasonable those deadlines were that was an issue; that was the debate before this Committee. There was also an understanding that, yes, investigators did make their own deadlines. Where I think you differ from them, is that they say, well, if we didn't make a deadline, and we were asked to revise our deadline, that wasn't necessarily accepted. For example, I say I need 30 days, the PP may very well respond and say you only get 15 days. What is your comment on that?

Mr Lamula: I have already submitted that deadlines were a bottom-up approach. Of course there would be instances when the Public Protector will set those deadlines when you have not met your own deadlines. I don't agree that deadlines were imposed; deadlines were suggested where you are informed that you can bring this matter on this particular date. And if you agree, then you agree. If you feel you're uncomfortable with that date, you can kind of propose a new date. So there was no imposition of deadlines. I'm talking particularly of myself. I was never – I never experienced a situation whereby a deadline was imposed on me. They were suggested, then I will accept or I will persuade her to say, but not this; this is too close. At times, you may set your own deadline that is very unrealistic, because it's too close, then it will be extended to say, no, you cannot achieve this thing within this period. We will give you extra days for you to achieve.

Adv Bawa: And when you're sitting in meetings would people propose deadlines and the PP say to them, that's too long and gave them alternative dates?

Mr Lamula: From my experience, yes. Not for other people but from my experiences when I suggested certain dates, sometimes they will say no, but that is too long. You have already done 12345. You should do it on this particular date. But those deadlines that are revised, they should be in line with your investigation plan. So if you're not adhering to an investigation plan, definitely there will be alterations.

Adv Bawa: Now I want to show you a report that was done and I'm going to take you to that report, which was attached to one of the EM’s affidavits. Page 4486. I’ll take you to the start of the report. This was a report that was compiled in 2020 on engagements with PPSA investigators, provincial representatives and executive managers. Right. It says: “The leadership of the institution made a decision to embark on a consultative process with investigative staff. The purpose of the engagement was to gather information concerning which are reasons for non-finalisation of methods within the prescribed timeframes, resulting in backlog projects to ensure finalisation of matters, shifting of deadlines, resulting in non-achievement of targets, any other matters which may be hindering within operations in the Office and proposed solutions thereof.” The discussion was led by the DPP, with assistance from the Acting CEO (ACEO) and the Chief of Staff. Were you aware of this consultation process?

Mr Lamula: I'm not aware of it.

Adv Bawa: Were you not consulted in the process?

Mr Lamula: It could come as an email where we were requested to give inputs.

Adv Bawa: It talks about the engagements: “The following meetings were held with Senior Investigators, Investigators and Assistant Investigators countrywide. The meetings with Provincial and Regional Offices were held via Lync.” Lync is a form of virtual platform. Is that correct?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: “Officials were requested to raise any hindrances that hamper the work performances to be efficient and effective and further present proposed solutions.” Then they say they consulted with head office investigators on 17 February 2020.

Adv Bawa: Were you – can you recall if you were part of that consultation?

Mr Lamula: I don't remember.

Adv Bawa: You don't remember? Right. Then, “At the MANCO meeting, senior managers and managers from support formed part of the discussions and raised their concerns.” Let me take you to page four. So what is contained in the tables of this report is feedback of the challenges, the solutions and the recommendations from the staff of the Office of the PP?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Right. Countrywide. And it's not just simply evidence that’s before this Committee by certain EMs, this was as a consultative process countrywide. You still cannot recall being part of this consultative process?

Mr Lamula: Look, there were various meetings that were held relating to work-related issues. It could be one of those, but I, as a consultative meeting, I don't – it could have happened, I could have been there. But I don't have recollection exactly on the date they were set.

Adv Bawa: So you don't necessarily dispute it, but you can't actually remember it precisely?

Mr Lamula: I can’t dispute that I was there or not, because I can't remember if I was.

Adv Bawa: I'm not sure, I don't think there's an attendance at the back of the report, but maybe we'll see. Page 4500. So we see there it starts with – some of the tech challenges raised, where they say, they talk about the deadlines, the turnaround times are very tight. They say that the targets are set very theoretically, and yet the turnaround time depends on the content of each file. You would agree that the turnaround time will depend on how easy or how hard an investigation actually is.

Mr Lamula: No, the turnaround time is based on the nature of the investigation.

Adv Bawa: That's what I mean. Sorry, you raised it far more articulately than what I did. The nature of the investigation.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Right.

Mr Lamula: The classification of that investigation, if it's a resolution, it's a service delivery, it’s a GGI normal or a GGI complex.

Adv Bawa: But they say targets should be revised depending on how cases develop. Would you agree with that?

Mr Lamula: I do agree.

Adv Bawa: “There needs to be an understanding of what needs to be done before defining a target.” Would you agree with that?

Mr Lamula: Come again?

Adv Bawa: “There needs to be an understanding of what needs to be done before defining a target.”

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Right. Then they make certain suggestions on recommendations that must happen. In the second one, they talk about deadlines, turnaround times are very tight. Then they say, “Judge/assess the performance of the investigators on the realities (e.g. the caseload; when the file was received; the complexity of the matter etc.).” Would you agree with that?

Mr Lamula: I do agree on that. Like I said, the turnaround times are based on the nature and the classification of the matter. If we are saying now the 12th month for service delivery is a tight deadline, then we need to revise our service standards maybe to give it more time, but currently that is what it is.

Adv Bawa: Is the service delivery time not different from the turnaround time set in meetings? Because service delivery times are the final output.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: The turnaround time is the different processes you must deliver on. Wouldn't you agree with that?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: So when you talk about – you have to assess what you set as a target for the turnaround time, it must be based on the reality of what's before you at the moment, not necessarily your service delivery standards.

Mr Lamula: It could be correct, but like I'm saying, there are turnaround times that are not negotiable. Introducing yourself to the complainant is something that you have to do within a particular period, and logging issues with the complainant that you have to do within a particular period. Currently, in the approval of an investigation plan, it is currently within 15 days that an investigation plan has to be approved. So maybe it is in reference to those milestones. If they're tight, then they can be revised.

Adv Bawa: Yes, but Mr Lamula, I thought I also demonstrated that one of those set deadlines is you must be able to give a complainant feedback every six days or six weeks or something like that. If you're sitting with 60 files or 50 files, being able to give each complainant of those files that you're dealing, feedback after every six weeks. How real is that? How possible is that?

Mr Lamula: It is possible.

Adv Bawa: But do you, are you able to do that, Mr Lamula?

Mr Lamula: It is happening.

Adv Bawa: I pulled up one of your cases in which it was quite clear that you were not able to do that.

Mr Lamula: It is possible. Currently, in fact, before I was appointed as a provincial representative, I've changed the strategy on how I should be informing the complainants on the progress. If there is a difference on what you should be telling the complaint on the provisional reports, so to say but here we're talking about informing the complainant that your matter is still being processed, if you are waiting for a response from the department, or we are going to issue a subpoena. Currently, as I talk right now from Western Cape, every pay day is a report-back day. So they do it on the 25th to get our money, then they report back to the complainants to say this is the stage in which your investigation is. I don't dispute that I could have missed those deadlines. But as you learn, you become a better person. So I'm saying even if it is 100 files, if you stick to say every 30th day of the month, you have to inform complainants on the progress you can still do that. The challenge is, when you have got that number of files now you have to count six weeks for each file. That will be the challenge. That's why I revised that to say, it would be difficult for an investigator who has got 25 files, 30 files, to count six weeks for each file. So it will be like your reporting every one week. So I said, let's stick to one date. That’s why I’m saying for me, practically, it’s doable when we have to report to the complainant on the progress of the investigation.

Adv Bawa: But that's not what your service standard is. I think it's an innovative approach you’re suggesting. Let's get back to the document. It says: “Decisions taken by/with the PP at Dashboard need to consider what is already on the plates of investigators”. Do you agree with that?

Mr Lamula: Where are you reading?

Adv Bawa: The second bullet point on the middle column; look for the hand. Middle column.

Mr Lamula: Ja, I do agree on that. Because what is already on the plate of the investigators is your caseload. But it doesn't take away the fact that in every file that we have, we must have an investigation plan which has days on which we have to deliver whatever that is delivered.

Adv Bawa: Okay. They then say: “Managers give short notice on due dates. Insufficient time to ensure quality of work due to high workload.” Do you have a comment on that?

Mr Lamula: Ja. In the emails in the previous slides where you were highlighting my backlog matters, I've indicated that I have a deficiency in time prioritisation. So this can be addressed by time prioritisation. If you don't manage your time, definitely, even if you have ten files, if you don't manage your files properly, ten files can be a cumbersome process. So for me it's not giving short notice because those notices in the investigation plan, unless it is something that the Public Protector requires you to do something urgently. But under normal circumstances it is what we have done ourselves

Adv Bawa: Go down to page 4501. “Audi letters are not always justified and cause fear or intimidation.” Do you have a comment on that?

Mr Lamula: I have demonstrated on audi letters when Mr Mpofu was leading evidence. I have no fear for an audi letter. I indicated that I was issued with an audi and how I handled that audi letter.

Adv Bawa: So in your instance, you don't fear it and you don't feel intimidated, but you can’t dispute that some of your other colleagues do feel like that.

Mr Lamula: I'm talking for myself.

Adv Bawa: You’re talking for yourself.

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Adv Bawa: Right, let’s go to 4502. There is: “Lack of consultation: Investigators just receive top-down instructions.” Do you have a comment on that?

Mr Lamula: Ja, I have a comment on that. Like I said, our investigation is bottom-up. Of course, there will be top-down instructions on certain matters like where the PP has an interest, then you will be given a go-ahead to do something, because you are lagging behind. So it was not a daily bread, so to speak. It was a case by case scenario.

Adv Bawa: Okay, go down to page 4511. Again one of the challenges raised: “Complexity of matters impact on turnaround. Lack of cooperation from some departments and most municipalities. Often individuals do not respond to a subpoena or send a junior representative.” You will agree that those are some of the difficulties that affect the turnaround on your reports.

Mr Lamula: I don't agree with the first bullet. I dealt with a complex matter. The matter that you are referring to, the S. Nyambi, was very complex, in that there were seven files in that matter. So I have to separate those, the kinds of allegations that were there. So you cannot treat the same matters the same way, because there were seven allegations. Some were about NSFAS, some were about the chairperson of the Council, some were about irregular appointments, some were about procurement. Those allegations, they need a different approach. So I separated them, so that the other ones were dealt with within 12 months. The other one was dealt with in 24 months. The last part, which was more complex, is the one that was …

Adv Bawa: No, I, I –

Mr Lamula: …but I don't agree to say complex matters, the complexity of matters, impact on turnaround times. We know that complex matters will be finalised within 36 months.

Adv Bawa: But you yourself haven't finalised complex matters within 36 months.

Mr Lamula: I accept that. I never disputed that.

Adv Bawa: And no, no, no. But the point, and I'm not taking issue with it, is if those were easier matters, then you would have been finalising that long before the 36 months…

Mr Lamula: They were not easier matters.

Adv Bawa: Precisely.

Mr Lamula: Yes, they were not easier matters. I don't take away the fact that complex matters take long to be finalised. But it cannot be every matter that is complex takes time to be finalised. It will be on a case by case scenario. Some matters could be complex, and instead they are finalised within 24 months instead of 36 months.

Adv Bawa: Mr Lamula, we might be picking at straws here. All that has been suggested in the document is that the complexity of the matters impact on the turnaround times.

Mr Lamula: I do agree with that.

Adv Bawa: Right. So I think we are not actually arguing. Then if you go to the next…

Mr Lamula: The second bullet – there are systems in place to ensure you get your response. Lack of cooperation from departments or most municipalities. There is a subpoena system that you can put in place. So not all municipalities will refuse to cooperate with those individuals. But there is a subpoena system that needs to be activated. So we cannot be painting the issues the same. We had an issue where the Public Protector was saying, you must use the three-strike rule, where you issue an allegations letter, then a reminder, then ja… But it's one of those challenges that others were facing.

Adv Bawa: I don't think anybody's saying there isn’t. What they're doing there is they were just raising some of the challenges. Included in the recommendations column is that the three-strike rule be applied for purposes of non-cooperation. All that is raised is some of the difficulties that some of your colleagues have been... If we go to the next one: "The lack of capacity which results in not enough time to quality assure; not enough investigators and admin staff; delay in replacement/filling of vacancies". You may not be involved in that. Do you have a comment?

Mr Lamula: A lack of capacity that will compromise quality is an individual thing. I don't know if it’s lack of intellectual capacity or a lack of human resource capacity. But as I say, it's an individual thing. During my experience, when you have not done what is supposed to be done, you are sent back to redo it. But I can't take away that there are capacity challenges.

Adv Bawa: There are capacity challenges. For example, if you have to quality assure ten reports and you've got two days, you're going to have capacity challenges.

Mr Lamula: Yes, at least one of those reports that you have done should be quality.

Adv Bawa: Right. So if you go to page 4514… If we go to quality, right, it say: “Under pressure for quantity/to meet deadlines and therefore compromise on quality” and “Quality of documents is generally poor – unit heads and PRs to pay adequate attention to the quality of documents.”

Mr Lamula: My own observation is that with my work, I cannot compromise quality because of deadlines or pressure, because I'm just creating another backlog again.

Adv Bawa: So you disagree with your colleagues on this?

Mr Lamula: Ja, it's not… you cannot compromise quality because you're working under pressure or you're wanting to meet deadlines.

Adv Bawa: This malicious compliance that you raised earlier on? Have you explained that to the Committee?

Mr Lamula: Yes, that is what I'm saying; you cannot compromise on quality just because you want to meet a deadline. That's why there are structures that were put in place to ensure that there is quality of work.

Adv Bawa: And in your view… Sorry, I don’t want to talk around you. Finish, Mr Lamula.

Mr Lamula: And if you don't meet the standard that is required, your document is sent back to be redone.

Adv Bawa: And if you are chasing unreasonable deadlines, out the fear or intimidation, of receiving an audi letter, you will be more prone to want to do malicious compliance. Could you comment on that proposition?

Mr Lamula: Not through my experience.

Adv Bawa: Are you aware that there was a concern raised by the Chief of Staff in 2020 already, where he pointed out to the investigators that there were instances of malicious compliance occurring where a product of low quality was being delivered in the context of deadlines.

Mr Lamula: I'm not aware of that. It could have happened but I've no input on that.

Adv Bawa: Right. You then raise the issue of backlogs, paragraph 22. When you say the Public Protector took over, she inherited a huge backlog, what was your understanding of the backlog that was inherited?

Mr Lamula: I don't have the figures. What I know is that even when I joined, there were already matters that were in backlog.

Adv Bawa: Do you accept, Mr Lamula, that the number of cases that the Office gets in every year… so let me give you an example. If you're getting 50 000 new cases in a year, and you have a 5 000 backlog, you would have a harder time to get rid of the backlog than if you got in 10 000 cases for the year had a backlog of 5 000.

Mr Lamula: That is your view.

Adv Bawa: Well, is that not your view, Mr Lamula, that if your case workload is less, then you would have an easier time getting rid of a backlog?

Mr Lamula: I have indicated that some of the backlogs could have been prevented had people stuck to the deadlines. If you don't stick to the deadline, you are creating another backlog. So if you've got 5 000 matters that are backlogged, and you've got 50 000 new matters, you need to…

Chairperson: Try and get closer to the mic.

Mr Lamula: You need to try and strike a balance between the backlog and the matters that are new.

Adv Bawa: Your balance is easier to strike, the less cases you have. Is that not so, Mr Lamula?

Mr Lamula: But we don't control how many matters we receive.

Adv Bawa: No, we're not talking about you controlling it. I'm suggesting… let’s take an easy example. If this Committee had to listen to ten witnesses, that job would be harder than if they had to listen to five witnesses. Would you agree? Or let’s say the job would take longer.

Mr Lamula: No, not necessarily, depending on what is being discussed.

Adv Bawa: Fair enough. Then let me put it this way. If you're sitting with 20 GGI complex matters. And you get in another 10 GGI complex matters.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Right. So now you’re sitting with 30 GGI complex matters in one given year, and the next year, you have 70 GGI complex matters. Which year would be easier, and which year would be harder?

Mr Lamula: All those cases have differential due dates in which they have to be finalised. So the first batch of 20 will be easier, because you will be chasing, it will be easy to deal with because their due date will be nearer. The other one that is 70: Supposing that you received them in one day; it will be difficult, but if you don't receive them in one day as staggered, it won't be that difficult, because each one of them will have its own due date. But if you receive them in one day, 20 matters, then it will be a challenge for you to accomplish, because all of them are due in the same period. But if they are received on different dates, then it should not be an issue to say, I can't achieve them, all of them, because they are born on different dates and they mature on different dates.

Adv Bawa: I'm not talking necessarily about achieving service standards. I'm talking about clearing cases. I'm suggesting to you that the more cases you have… let's assume you've got the same staff of 100 people. If 100 people have to clear 50 000 cases, it is an easier job for that 100 people to clear 10 000 cases, as opposed to 100 000 cases.

Mr Lamula: Ja, that's correct.

Adv Bawa: That's the proposition I'm putting to you.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: And if that 100 people sets was 10 000 cases, right? They have each got a backlog of 5 000, then those sitting with 10 000 cases have an easier job than those sitting with 100 000 cases.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: That's a proposition. You agree with that?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: So if you come to paragraph 23, of your affidavit, right? Why do you say that Adv Mkhwebane had made unprecedented progress on the backlog?

Mr Lamula: It has already been demonstrated in my previous matter [SANParks] which was lodged in the Office of the Public Protector in 2013. And nothing was done. So during that period when I joined the Public Protector's Office, there were already matters that were a backlog. With her intervention with this Dashboard and Full Bench, the backlog was reduced, as well as the matters that were due to be in the backlog. They were prevented to become a backlog. So it was not only the backlog that was dealt with, even matters that needed to be finalised before they become a backlog. Like I said it was sort of a hybrid process whereby while you are focusing on the backlog, you also try to ensure that these other ones that are not in a backlog are dealt with. So it's public knowledge, even in our annual reports, that the backlogs that we used to have, have been reduced.

Adv Bawa: I'm not disputing that the number of backlogs have reduced with you; don't get me wrong. I'm asking you, why do you regard it to be unprecedented; is it just a numbers game that you're looking at? That last year, we had 5 000 backlog cases, and this year, we have 1 000 backlog cases.

Mr Lamula: Yes, issues of numbers.

Adv Bawa: It's a numbers game. Because it does seem that the workload of the Public Protector's Office in its entirety, has been reducing, as the years go on.

Mr Lamula: I don't have figures on that.

Adv Bawa: In paragraph 24 you indicate that you assume that your experience at Home Affairs placed you in a better position on how to manage a backlog. That's an assumption you make. Right?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: That's based on your experience on how she dealt with passports and IDs in the year you worked with her.

Mr Lamula: Correct

Adv Bawa: Right. Would you agree that the nature of the matters at the Public Protector's Office is entirely different, in the sense that when you're dealing with Home Affairs, you’re dealing with processing of an ID, or the processing of a passport, whereas at the PP Office, you're dealing with an investigation of a complaint.

Mr Lamula: Not really. When a person, for example, applies, comes here, say as an asylum seeker, and they apply for refugee status, the refugee status determination officer (RSDO) needs to do research, which is an investigation, conduct a Country of Origin Information and all that stuff, even a check from other systems, if this person has not applied for other permits. So I would equate that process to the service delivery-related investigation of the Public Protector. So it's not like your process-based… well there were process-based issues, but when it comes to the actual issuance of documentation, there is research that has to be done, that the responsible RSDO has to do; it can take four weeks, it can take three months, depending on the Country of Origin Information that needs to be used for the RSDO to make a decision. So it's not entirely an issue of saying that they are different, remember investigation and determination research is a research. So I will equate to your delivery matters that we have to finalise within 12 months.

Adv Bawa: Yeah, okay we equating it to the service delivery category that the PP Office gets. That service delivery category in the PP Office has a much lower turnaround time.

Mr Lamula: Yes, 12 months.

Adv Bawa: 12 months, and most of your backlog matters fall into the GGI category.

Mr Lamula: Ja, even the service delivery matters are there that I have already exceeded 12 months.

Adv Bawa: Yes

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Adv Bawa: It's not necessarily your service delivery matters that causes your backlog, you might have been the odd one.

Mr Lamula: It's a mix.

Adv Bawa: It's a mix. But the evidence was that the majority of the matters are the more complex GGI matters

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: That's entirely different from the backlogs. If we look at the backlogs at the PP Office, versus the backlogs at Home Affairs, they are of a different nature.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: The Home Affairs office is determined by the volume of applications that you get that cause the processing thereof to take longer. Would you agree with that?

Mr Lamula: The same way in the Public Protector's Office, it is determined by the nature of complaints that are received, and the number of complaints that are received.

Adv Bawa: Yes, for the Public Protector's Office, it’s both the nature and the number.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: For the Home Affairs office, it's predominantly the number.

Mr Lamula: Yes, the number and even the nature of people that are coming there, like I say, depend on the country information of that particular person.

Adv Bawa: That's why I’d initially put to you that the number of new complaints that come into the PP Office is material to how you have capacity to deal with your backlog. Because if your number is less, then you have more capacity to deal with the backlog.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Sorry, I thought you disagreed with me over that. You also, for the most part at Home Affairs, you have set working hours, unless you work overtime.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Right. So most Home Affairs, you have – for lack of a better word – civil service working hours that prevail?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Then, you wouldn't have knowledge if the… we've shown one example of it, where the executive managers or the CEO takes action against their subordinates. You wouldn't know if that was an instruction from the PP, or they did it after their…

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: You then come to this issue of a disciplinary matter and you made the statement, “We have evidence that she never sits in disciplinary matters.” What does that mean?

Mr Lamula: For the disciplinary measures that I have knowledge of, she was not in those disciplinary processes.

Adv Bawa: There is, however, a mechanism if you are unhappy about the grievance that you appeal that to the Public Protector. That is the level at which she does get involved in the disciplinary matter.

Mr Lamula: Correct. There's no unlawfulness when she's the appeal authority in disciplinary matters.

Adv Bawa: When she’s the appeal authority.

Mr Lamula: When she sits in the initial disciplinary processes then it is unlawful. But when she acts in capacities that police authority, then she's within the peripheries of law.

Adv Bawa: Then I want to take you to the issue in paragraph 43. Ja. If you go down a little bit, the second last sentence you say: “I suppose her work ethic with reference to her previous employment is what Parliament took into account.” You're making an assumption, isn't that so?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: You then say “She enjoys working at the coalface rather than sitting in the office and receiving reports.” How did you acquire that knowledge?

Mr Lamula: From the experience that I had with her when we were in Home Affairs she was involved. Even when I joined the Public Protector’s Office, she was involved, whereby in the Dashboard meetings, she will also want to get an update from an investigator relating to a particular case.

Adv Bawa: And you say she clearly enjoyed interacting with investigators – you based that on your interaction with her.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Then you say having been an investigator herself, she knew what was expected of investigators. Did you have a conversation with her or was that based on an assumption that because she was an investigator, she knew what to expect?

Mr Lamula: It could be an assumption, and my own experience as an investigator.

Adv Bawa: That is based on your own experiences as an investigator. Explained that to me?

Mr Lamula: I mean, it could be an assumption on her part, and myself as an investigator to say when you're an investigator, this is what is expected of you. And when you do malicious compliance, this is what you do. So it could be an issue that she's aware of, as she was an investigator before.

Adv Bawa: It's, I think, Mr van der Merwe testified that when Adv Mkhwebane got appointed because she had been in the office previously. I'm not sure those were his exact words, but it was “one of our own coming back to our office.”

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Is that sort of what you had in mind?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Right. You don't have any actual knowledge of her investigation experience.

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: Then we come to the issue with Mr Madiba. I didn't quite catch you. I must apologise. You relayed a conversation you had with somebody about the impact of Mr Madiba’s removal from his position, because of what he said to you. Who was that conversation with?

Mr Lamula: Come again?

Adv Bawa: When you said, well, you understood the impact if Mr Madiba was no longer an employee, he wouldn't have medical aid. Was it based on a conversation you had with somebody or was it your own reasoning?

Mr Lamula: It was a combination of the two. I had a conversation with a junior investigator. Also, I took counsel from my own mom regarding that.

Adv Bawa: Others are wise; it's good to take counsel from them. The supposition that the disciplinary action taken against Mr Madiba was based on his health – how did you come to that conclusion?

Mr Lamula: He was… it's obvious to say he was sick. I assumed that the Public Protector could have considered his health status because he was in and out of hospital. I did discuss this thing with the former CEO, who also raised the same issue saying this man is sick. Maybe he's not even aware that what he called you is that serious. So it was based on my own knowledge of him and the discussion that I had with that junior employee and the counsel that I took from my mom. I did discuss it with my mom to say, in any way, this person is sick.

Adv Bawa: It wasn't the case that no steps were taken against him, isn't that so?

Adv Bright Shabalala: Sorry, Chair.

Chairperson: Through you.

Adv Shabalala: I'm sorry. I'm not interfering. But if Nazreen can be mindful of the time management, we have to be out of here by five.

Adv Bawa: Gee. Hayibo. Adv Shabalala, like I said to the witnesses today, as we do with Adv Mpofu, you can also call me SC. It’s fine. I don't mind. Alright, if we go to 183. Mr Madiba was issued with a written warning. Correct? Do you recall that?

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Adv Bawa: He was given a written warning in terms of the disciplinary code and it was provided to him. He's not here to talk for himself. But there's a comment on the written warning that I thought it appropriate to share, which was his comment. Right. He was given a written warning for being disrespectful towards you, Mr Lamula, or demonstrating abusive and insolent behaviour towards you. On 19 March 2018 you had written an email to him and he had responded, “I am not in the habit of feeding cockroaches, and I will not start now.” That was the offensive comment to which you referred.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: He had an opportunity to appeal to the Public Protector, which he didn't do. He wrote a comment on the written warning. He signed it and accepted it. “It must however be made clear that at no stage I say anyone is a cockroach. I accept it he may have felt discomfort and for that I'm sorry.” Do you accept that that's what Mr Madiba wrote and signed on his written warning.

Mr Lamula: I’m seeing it for the first time. But we did talk, me and him, and he did say sorry. But this letter I'm seeing for the first time.

Adv Bawa: Mr Lamula, you are unhappy about the fact that he had been given only a written warning and you appealed that to the Public Protector.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: She then received a report from your executive manager at the time. I'm going to shoot through to page three. A response was given to you that said, “Please be informed that I've considered your grievance, found it to be substantiated and decided the following: That he must apologise; the letter will not be 5 000 words as you sought and will not be published to PPSA staff as the email regarding his utterances was also not published to other people; that Mr Madiba must be trained on management skills and anger management; that Mr Madiba be issued a written warning; that you will be given counselling to assist you to heal from the shock; and that your reporting line changes from Mr Madiba”. You thereafter report to Ms Sekele, correct?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Right. You then appealed as you were entitled to appeal.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: There is then a report which had been prepared by Mr Stoffel Fourie at the time. I don't want to go through the whole report – Adv Shabalala has a plane to catch – but I'm going to take you to the recommendation in the report. The report is on page 18. He recommended that you be referred to Ms Sekele, that she reviews your leave taken, because at the end of the day the start of the dispute between you and Mr Madiba was about the manner in which you took the leave, correct?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: That and that the human resource management division ensure that the electronic leave system is adjusted according to the reporting lines in GGI. Have you seen this before, Mr Lamula?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: So the outcome was effectively according to the recommendation of Mr Fourie at the time. I'm not going to necessarily flight that. You then received a letter from the Public Protector, which says your grievance escalation request dated 27 June 2018 bears reference. “Kindly be informed that I have noted your request, considered all facts presented to me, I have assessed the grievance and found that the communication by Mr Madiba towards you cannot be condoned. I confirm the written warning issued to him.” So your appeal was refused in essence. Correct?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Without necessarily taking you through it but I will give this to the PP’s team. None of the issues raised to the Public Protector pertained to Mr Madiba’s health.

Mr Lamula: They are not there.

Adv Bawa: You wouldn't know that. So I'm saying to you that the steps taken were in line with the recommendation made by the executive managers what the outcome is as far as the steps against Mr Madiba.

Mr Lamula: After I appealed, I had a discussion with the CEO relating to this matter. Maybe that's why my appeal became academic, because I did have a discussion with the CEO and I did meet Mr Madiba, and he did apologise. For me, by the time it reached the Public Protector, we were almost done with our reconciliation.

Adv Bawa: You see, Mr Lamula, you stated to us in this affidavit in paragraph 50.3: “The Public Protector after considering Mr Madiba’s health status, and his breadwinner status, negotiated an amicable solution through the Office of the CEO.”

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: I'm pointing out to you that nowhere did it indicate in the documentation that that was a consideration in the outcome that was there. In your affidavit you're assuming that was the case?

Mr Lamula: Correct. Like I said, I had a discussion with the CEO, which I assume he could have relayed the message to the Public Protector. So I can’t dispute that; there was no record on that.

Adv Bawa: Yes, but you see, anybody who's reading this affidavit is going to get an entirely different impression. You actually don't have any knowledge to state that this was the basis upon which the Public Protector had taken the decision.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: This is an affidavit before this Committee, which could very well have left the Committee with a very wrong impression. Would you agree?

Mr Lamula: Like I said I assumed that.

Adv Bawa: Would you agree, having gone through your affidavit, that there were quite a few instances in which you agreed with me that it was based on assumptions you had made?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Bawa: Thank you. I've got no further questions.

Chairperson: All right. Thank you.

Adv Bawa: Oh, sorry. Sorry. I have to deal with the motion. Just give me two more questions.

Chairperson: How much time do you need for that?

Adv Bawa: Two minutes.

Chairperson: Okay. Let's see.

Adv Bawa: Mr Lamula, have you had an opportunity to see the motion that's before this Committee?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: You haven't?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: Have you had any involvement or made any inputs, be it at Dashboard meetings or elsewhere, into the following reports? The CIEX report?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: The Vrede Dairy report?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: The CR 17 / Bosasa report?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: The report dealing with the Financial Services Commission?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: The GEMS report.

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: Am I missing something? Have I got them, Mr Shabalala?

Adv Shabalala: There’s the Gordhan…

Adv Bawa: The Gordhan matters, the Pillay… the alleged rogue unit matter?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: The Pillay pension fund matter?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: And you have no personal knowledge of any person being intimidated, harassed or victimised by the Public Protector?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: Do you have any knowledge of anybody being victimised, harassed or intimidated by the erstwhile CEO, Mr Mahlangu?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Bawa: I have one question following on that. Would you be concerned – and you've explained the advantages of having peer review on your reports and going through and having a debate with your colleagues on the reports, going through, in your view, Dashboard, Full Bench and Quality Assurance? Would you be concerned if the Public Protector's Office was issuing reports without that process being followed?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Thank you.

Chairperson: Okay. Thank you, Adv Bawa. I’m now going to invite Members, if they have any questions, to interact with Mr Lamula. Okay. Let me start to note. Hon Mileham will be the first. That’s the only hand I have on the virtual. Followed by Hon Dlakude, Hon Gondwe, Hon Skosana, Hon Maneli. Those are the hands that I have. Hon Siwela. Those are the hands I have. Hopefully Adv Shabalala will make it. Thank you. Let's go to it, Hon Mileham.

Questions by Members to Mr Lamula
Mr K Mileham (DA): Thank you, Chairperson. Good afternoon, colleagues and to the various people here. Chairperson, can you hear me?

Chairperson: Yes, I can hear you.

Mr Mileham: Thank you. Mr Lamula, you have a very impressive CV and your qualifications. I just want to confirm them. You have a BProc, an LLB, two LLMs, and you're currently working on your LLD. Is that correct?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Mr Mileham: And you've had extensive legal experience.

Mr Lamula: Investigation experience.

Mr Mileham: Investigation. So you haven't practised law, but you've had a lot of experience in terms of working with legal matters and legal cases and the like?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Mr Mileham: Okay. So I'm going to ask your opinion, as someone who has, as I said, a lot of legal qualifications. As a senior official in the Office of the Public Protector, you're aware of a number of judgments from various courts in which the legal knowledge and processes followed by the Office of the Public Protector have been called into question. Are you not?

Mr Lamula: I’m aware.

Mr Mileham: So I'm going to only refer to two: The one being the court judgments in the CIEX matter and the second being the Gauteng High Court judgement in the Vrede Dairy matter. If I may, you’ve already said you didn't have any involvement in the quality control process over those cases, is that correct?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Mr Mileham: Okay. So, if I look at, for example, the CIEX matter, Justice Mogoeng said the Public Protector “got the law completely wrong by acting as if it were open to her to direct Parliament to amend the Constitution.” He also said “the Public Protector’s remedial action was a known or predictable non-starter in legal circles. The remedial action was bound to be set aside with ease”, and he goes on like that. In the Vrede Dairy matter, Judge Tolmay says “there does not seem to be a logical and legitimate explanation for the narrowing of the scope of the investigation. Her decision to limit the scope of the investigation so dramatically was irrational as it stopped all the crucial aspects regarding the complaints. The steps taken by her seem wholly inadequate. The Public Protector made no effort at all to engage with the intended beneficiaries.” Further on, “the failure of the Public Protector 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.” Then, “the Public Protector's most blatant failure was not to properly investigate the circumstances surrounding the beneficiaries of the project.” These are just some of the aspects that I've pulled out of those two judgments. How do you feel about the way the courts have characterised the Public Protector?

Mr Lamula: I have no opinion on that. That is the judgement of the courts. I have not reflected on the judgments of the courts in my affidavit.

Mr Mileham: No, I am aware of that. But as you said you are eminently qualified legally. So I'm asking for an opinion. But okay. Do you agree that those judgments talk directly to the legal competence of Adv Mkhwebane?

Mr Lamula: It's the judgement; it is not in my affidavit.

Mr Mileham: I'm asking if you agree that those judgments talk to the legal competence of Adv Mkhwebane.

Mr Lamula: I'm confirming that that is in the judgement of the courts. I can't dispute that that is in the judgement of the courts.

Mr Mileham: Okay.

Mr Lamula: It’s not in my affidavit.

Mr Mileham: Alright. You suggested earlier that if the Public Protector was found to be incompetent, the blame should be placed on people like yourself who support her, who should support. Is that correct?

Mr Lamula: Correct. Yes, we should share the blame. We should share the blame because we are appointed to assist the Public Protector.

Mr Mileham: But Mr Lamula please help me here – as someone who's doing a doctorate in constitutional law – isn't it true that the Public Protector is a constitutional appointee, whereas the rest of you are not? That it is the Public Protector who signs off on every single report, who decides what legal cases to pursue, etc. Ultimately, it's the Public Protector, the person, who is responsible for the issuing of those reports?

Mr Lamula: You are correct. I've indicated that I’m appointed to assist the Public Protector.

Mr Mileham: If that's the case and there is a problem with the legal basis on a number of issues, somebody needs to be held accountable for it. That person should be the Public Protector, the person of the Public Protector, should it not?

Mr Lamula: That's what the law says.

Mr Mileham: Okay, thank you very much, Chairperson, I have nothing further.

Chairperson: Thank you Hon Mileham. I now recognise Hon Dlakude.

Ms D Dlakude (ANC): Thank you very much, Hon Chairperson. Good afternoon colleagues, the PP and her team, the evidence leaders, and Mr Lamula. Mr Lamula, when did you join the PPSA?

Mr Lamula: In June 2017.

Ms Dlakude: June 2017. Okay, thank you very much. In paragraph 7, you say that some of the evidence has grossly misrepresented the true situation at the PP Office?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Ms Dlakude: Referring to the evidence that we got from some of your colleagues?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Ms Dlakude: Can you please elaborate further on this matter? Why would you say they misrepresented?

Mr Lamula: I will just say they misrepresented. I have indicated that the issue of deadlines being imposed is incorrect because deadlines were not imposed; some of them were statutory deadlines. Some of them are in the investigation plans. So I dispute the fact that the Public Protector imposes deadlines. I said deadlines were suggested. So I don't agree with the notion that deadlines were imposed on employees. I don't agree that I've witnessed the Public Protector victimising or harassing anyone.

Ms Dlakude: Can you differentiate for me the Dashboard meetings vis a vis the quality assurance of reports.

Mr Lamula: The Quality Assurance meeting consisted of senior managers, and is chaired by the CEO, where we bring in our reports or section 7(9) or discretionary notices then they are discussed. In the Quality Assurance meeting, there is no discussion of your case files, there are no files that are discussed as to whether you have complied with the service standards and things like that. But in the Dashboard, I'm referring to what I have experience, it's hybrid, it could be cases that are discussed in the Dashboard, it could be file updates in which the Public Protector will want to know by when the product is going to be delivered. And what are the hurdles. So that Dashboard is the PP’s Dashboard and is chaired by the PP. Then the branch dashboard meeting is chaired by the head of that particular branch.

Ms Dlakude: Okay. Some of your colleagues who appeared before this Committee said the PP was always in a rush to release report. She bypassed that process of the reports being quality assured. Are you in agreement with this?

Mr Lamula: Not as far as I know unless it is a matter that is being reported consistently, but I'm not aware of it. That could have happened with other reports, but not as far as I know. Or it could have happened before I joined the institution.

Ms Dlakude: Okay, in paragraph 8 – I'm just trying to save time – I'm not reading it.

Mr Lamula: Okay.

Ms Dlakude: Some of your colleagues when they appeared before this Committee, they said they were given unreasonable deadlines. They worked under pressure. They were forced to work even if they were not well. What is your take on this?

Mr Lamula: I have already demonstrated on the issue of deadlines for those who were required to work even though they are not well, I have no opinion on that. I don't know of such a situation.

Ms Dlakude: Hon Chairperson, I skipped the CIEX matters and all the other matters in the motion, because he already responded to the Evidence Leader Adv Bawa. Thank you very much.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Dlakude. Hon Gondwe.

Dr M Gondwe (DA): Thank you very much. Dumela, Mr Lamula [Sepedi 6:38:38-6:38:40]

Mr Lamula: [Sepedi 6:38:38-6:38:40]

Dr Gondwe: You just confirmed in your evidence-in-chief that you've not had sight of the motion that led to the establishment of this Committee. You also confirmed that you were not involved in any of the investigations that gave rise to the court cases which formed the basis of the motion, such as the Vrede matter, the CIEX matters, and the matters pertaining to Mr Gordhan and Mr Pillay. Then please confirm to this Committee what the relevance of your evidence is, given that you've not had sight of this motion, and you were not involved in any of the investigations that are cited in the motion.

Mr Lamula: The relevance of this evidence is that I'm giving information freely to the Committee, related to my own experience in the Public Protector's Office, what I've done and what I should not have done, and the issues that relate to the backlog. I'm bringing something that is different from what was presented. I'm also bringing information on how I interacted with the Public Protector before she joined the Public Protector's Office. So it is relevant to the character of the Public Protector; it is relevant to the extent I have worked with her; it's relevant as an investigator how much we were involved in investigation of matters.

Dr Gondwe: Okay, you stated in your evidence-in-chief that what is happening now with this inquiry presents a scary situation for future Public Protectors – that they could possibly also be impeached. What do you mean by this? Don't you think that Parliament should be able to hold Chapter Nine institutions such as the Office of the Public Protector accountable? What we're doing here, Mr Lamula, to use your words is not "pap and vleis". We didn't just wake up and gather in this room, and then decide to hold her accountable. So what did you mean by that?

Mr Lamula: That is my view in any situation where someone has to go through a process. It's a scary process, no one wants to be taken through a process of this nature. What I was saying is that there are processes that can send a chilling effect to other people to say, eish, I thought this is not going to happen. You'll agree with me that this is the very first impeachment process that is happening now. So I was coming from that context.

Dr Gondwe: You stated in paragraph 20 of your affidavit that you have occasionally failed to meet your deadlines. Do you recall the number of times that you failed to meet your deadlines, and the reasons for failing to meet these deadlines? Please also confirm if you were issued audi letters, on all those occasions that you failed to meet your deadlines.

Mr Lamula: Evidence has been led on three matters that I have missed the deadlines that were supposed to have been finalised in a particular period, and I could not do it. I have already even demonstrated that when I miss deadlines, and certainly…

Dr Gondwe: So you're saying that you've only missed deadlines on those three instances?

Mr Lamula: No, I’m coming there to say… okay, maybe I should put it in this way. I can't recall how many times I have missed the deadlines. Evidence has been led to show that I've also missed deadlines. Then in certain instances, I'll request an extension.

Dr Gondwe: So what were the reasons for your missing the deadlines? Did you receive audi letters in each of those instances that you missed the deadline?

Mr Lamula: One of the reasons that I can advance that was in evidence is that I had poor time prioritisation and failure to plan my work properly. And failure to stick to the turnaround times and failure to have a proper investigation plan. I have already indicated that I was issued an audi. I was not issued with many; I was issued one audi.

Dr Gondwe: So you know, on all those occasions, you've only been issued with one audi letter.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Dr Gondwe: All right. Now speaking of that audi letter, you stated in paragraph 34 that your immediate supervisor issued you with an audi letter less than a month after you had assumed your current position.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Dr Gondwe: You also stated in your evidence-in-chief that you accepted the audi, and you did not see the audi as being a tool for punishment or intimidation.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Dr Gondwe: So if you did not view the audi in such a light, then why did you complain when you received it? Does the fact that you complained when you received the audi letter, not point to the fact that there are circumstances where these audi letters would not be justified? We have heard evidence in this Committee that people were issued with audi letters, even when they had plausible reasons for not meeting a deadline.

Mr Lamula: Correct. I protested because it was not called for to be issued that audi. The targets that were set, were set before I took office. That's why I said I did accept the audi. I did protest; I wrote back to say, but this audi, I was not here when these things were set. So it doesn't take away the fact that the audi was issued. If I accepted the audi I was accepting that I failed on something that was set while I was not there. Then it was going to project a false picture. The targets were set while I was not in office. I took office, then a month later I was issued an audi. I was reflecting on that because an audi gives you an opportunity to make a reflection to the person who's issuing it to you.

Dr Gondwe: So you didn't want to accept the audi and then reflect on it? You also said that the audi could build a person up. You didn't think that this audi would build you up; you didn't think to accept it?

Mr Lamula: No, it was not going to build me. It has no relation to my previous work.

Dr Gondwe: Would you agree with me that at times there are circumstances beyond one's control? That one cannot possibly foresee what would impact on one's ability to communicate a failure to meet a deadline in advance? You state in your affidavit that you feel that if someone is unable to meet a deadline, they should communicate that. So my question to you is would you agree with me that sometimes there are circumstances that you could have not have foreseen, right, that you could have not predicted, that will prevent you from meeting a deadline? Would you agree?

Mr Lamula: Correct. I have demonstrated that there are such instances where a person is on study leave, maternity leave…

Dr Gondwe: You cannot really plan in advance to say that in four weeks, I'm going to notify my supervisor that I'm not going to meet a deadline. We have heard evidence to that effect. One of the witnesses that came here had a bereavement, the other one had a sick child, and they didn't meet the deadline and they were threatened. They told us they were threatened for…

Mr Lamula: I don't dispute that.

Dr Gondwe: Okay. In paragraph 27, read with paragraph 28 of your affidavit, you state that the PP cannot be expected to know everything that is happening in the Office and she is not part of conducting investigations. Are you suggesting that she should not be held accountable for things that happen in her Office in instances where investigative reports are taken on review and courts make a negative finding about those reports. Is she not after all the accounting officer of the Office of the Public Protector? Does she not sign off on all investigative reports?

Mr Lamula: I've responded to that saying as the head of the institution, she is accountable. And we as the members of the Public Protector assist her in responding to that.

Dr Gondwe: Okay.

Mr Lamula: You cannot shift accountability, but we have to assist her to do her job. That's what I said.

Dr Gondwe: Alright. In paragraph 35, you state that you cannot recall an instance where the Public Protector herself has issued an audi letter. But are you able to recall instances where she has requested executive managers to issue audi letters? I'm asking this because we heard evidence from witnesses who were all – are still – executive managers. They recalled instances where the Public Protector directed them to issue audi the letters to certain employees.

Mr Lamula: I have stated that she will say, managers you must manage. You must do consequence management. I've not mentioned that she directed people to issue audi letters.

Dr Gondwe: Thank you very much, Chairperson. I'm done.

Chairperson: Thank you Hon Gondwe. Hon Skosana.

Mr G Skosana (ANC): Thank you very much. And good afternoon to everyone. And also good afternoon to Mr Lamula.

Mr Lamula: [vernacular 6:48:12]

Mr Skosana: How are you?

Mr Lamula: [vernacular 6:48:13-6:48:16]

Chairperson: You are still in the inquiry, both of you.

Mr Skosana: Yes.

Chairperson: Go ahead.

Mr Skosana: Yeah, I think Mr Lamula you have a good story to tell about the journey of your life, from being a security guard to where you are today. In terms of the position that you're occupying, and also your academic achievements, I think it's really impressive and inspiring. Maybe when you retire, you should consider writing a motivational book that will assist other young people – that you can rise from that position to this particular position is really quite inspiring.

Mr Lamula: Maybe the Committee will have to clap hands for me for that.

Mr Skosana: I don't know if he's allowed the clapping of hands in this Committee. So I've got three questions for you, Mr Lamula. Ms Thejane gave evidence that Dashboard meetings sometimes take two to three days. According to her, that had a negative impact on PPSA work because executive managers and other senior investigators were spending more time in meetings than doing their work. What is your view on that?

Mr Lamula: That is her view. What I know is that there was a calendar in which you know when the Dashboard meeting is going to take place. It was not something that was just organised haphazardly, or at the click of a pen. There were instances where Dashboard could not even last a day. So for those three days, maybe it is because of the complexity of the matters being discussed there. You will recall that it is not only head office here, we're talking even provinces. She could be correct to say they took three days, but not all of them took that long.

Mr Skosana: In paragraph 39 of your affidavit, you say: "The quality of work cannot be compromised by whatever pressure in fact, the Office of the Public Protector is pressure-orientated. My mindset has been that I produce quality for a deadline".

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Mr Skosana: So my question is do you think the other colleagues or former colleagues of yours, who complained about the workload and the pressure of meeting deadlines did so because they are not used to working under pressure?

Mr Lamula: I'm not sure of their background. I wouldn't want to comment on that. What I can say is that I've already indicated that if you have got the right attitude, then you will do what is expected of you. You can imagine if doctors are to complain about pressure, then the next thing is cutting your ear or they cut your mouth just because of pressure. Then how are you going to feel about that? So I understand their plight. But I'm saying service delivery institutions, there is always pressure. I'm not saying that they are weak or whatever. I talk about myself. Maybe there should be some training of some sort. The other thing is that I did not only work for Public Protector; I worked for other institutions before. Maybe that gives me a thick skin to say that service delivery related issues are pressure-orientated.

Mr Skosana: Okay, ja. My last question is on audi letters. Some of your colleagues or former colleagues gave evidence here that audi letters were abused. In other words, they were issued even when it was not necessary. As a result that had a negative impact on staff morale. However, others gave evidence that the audi letters were only issued when it was necessary. So what is your view or your experience about the audi letters?

Mr Lamula: With my experience, because I did get an audi letter, I wouldn't say it was necessary, or it was unnecessary. I don't know what was the view of the manager. But there are instances where audi letters are necessary to get to the bottom of the matter if other means have failed. With what I know, I don't have a recollection of where audi letters were abused, or used to intimidate anyone because you will be issued an audi and are given an opportunity to respond. That's what it is, you're not issued an audi to stifle your freedom of expression; it is an extension of freedom of expression, and of freedom of response. So if you receive an audi and take offence, then unfortunately that is what the audi is not all about. Even the hardcore criminal is given an audi; the right to be heard. Even if someone had a bad intent, by responding to that audi, they can also see you in a different light.

Mr Skosana. Okay. Thanks, Chair.

Mr Lamula: Thank you.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Skosana. Hon Maneli?

Mr B Maneli (ANC): Greetings to the Public Protector and the legal team. Greetings to Hon Members, as well as to Mr Lamula.

Mr Lamula: [vernacular 6:54:54-6:54:57]

Mr Maneli: I want to be sure I understood. Maybe just for purposes of record. Isn't your evidence here that other than reading the media and listening to a few of the witnesses, that personally you have not interacted with the motion which contains the charges before this Committee? Neither was it the case that you were presented with the motion as you were preparing to give evidence here. I wanted to be sure I got that clear.

Mr Lamula: Okay. I confirmed that I've not read or studied the motion. But during consultation with Adv Mpofu, I was taken through what the charges against the Public Protector, and what this Committee does entail at the end of the day.

Mr Maneli: Okay. I just wanted be sure, Chair, that I understood it in that way. Maybe just to go back to a point you raised, which I thought was a positive, encouraging environment at Home Affairs. I want to be sure, Chair, through you, that I've taken notes correctly that you had management support. There would also be in some situations additional stuff that gets taken to push the backlogs.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Mr Maneli: That will be there. Of course that works together with a positive attitude by those that are involved. Would you say then that that environment would encourage the performance you had in that space?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Mr Maneli: Looking at the evidence that has been led before this Committee, there were situations that the PPSA finances – due to measures taken for cost containment – would have affected even what you said very importantly about the photo where you went out to see the implementation of the remedial action.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Mr Maneli: Evidence was led that such constraints led to a situation where investigators cannot go out; you work more from a desktop point of view.

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Mr Maneli: Would you say without the necessary support as you described it at Home Affairs, that you'd expect that there would be similar performance in an environment where resources are quite constrained? It will depend not only on the complexity and the time, but also the resources that were allocated to it. Being aware of the PPSA constraints that led to investigators not being able to go out like you've shown on the photo, do you think in that environment you could still have a similar performance to that of Home Affairs?

Mr Lamula: I'm aware of the cost containment in the Public Protector that can have an impact on investigation service delivery. However, I have to qualify it in that you'd have to do more with what you have. With the little that you have, you can produce more, and that has been demonstrated. But cost factor is an issue. During all these years that I was working for Home Affairs, there was no suggestion in any forum that we could consider working overtime. That was out. Of course, there were instances where we received help from trainee investigators from the SETA that we could utilise for other purposes. But I do agree that costs had a very big impact on the turnaround on service delivery that the Public Protector should have finalised.

Mr Maneli: Maybe if we can just go back again to Dashboard meetings; I know this area has been covered. Just for us to understand the authority in which you speak in your affidavit. Will it be correct to say you are sharing your personal experiences, and therefore cannot speak with authority to dismiss or accept anything else that would have been raised about Dashboard meetings when the investigators were not really the participants. You can only share in as far as your personal experiences in that regard?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Mr Maneli: I felt it's important that we understand what you are saying is generally based on your personal experiences – but with no authority to dismiss others who feel otherwise, especially in meetings where you yourself were not present.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Mr Maneli: Thank you. My last point, as I said I'm trying to keep to the time. I think this is an important question, because in the way you've raised it, it reminded me of one witness that completed yesterday. This is a matter that is before the Public Protector’s Office; if it is a closed report because that report is now challenged about clean audits. In the way you presented it such that it looks at everything. Therefore you’d have the clean audit on… I don't want to use financial and non-financial, but you said governance and all that.

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Mr Manei: Thank you. And my last point, as I said, I'm trying to keep the time. I think for me, this is an important question, because in the way you've raised it, it reminded me of one witness that completed yesterday. And this is a matter that is before the Public Protector’s Office; whether it is a closed report, because that report is now challenged, about clean audits. In the way you presented it, such that it looks at everything else. And therefore you’d have the clean audit. I don't want to use financial and non-financial, but you said governance and all that.

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Mr Maneli: There was a witness yesterday who was challenging the Auditor-General opinion in giving a clean audit to another institution. He believes that a policy that is unconstitutional exists there. Maybe it will be helpful because I think the public is following our discussions as they usually do. Isn't it the understanding that the Auditor-General will not audit everything. Rather there will be a sampling of those matters before the Auditor-General in terms of standards, and you are given a clean audit in that regard. Therefore this may not mean that there is no other issue that may be found, which is outside the scope of that sampling.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Mr Maneli: I just wanted us to have a similar understanding of that because once it's generalised, it's like everything else is fine and that's what that clean audit would represent. Therefore the complaint that may be raised later would not make sense, like it has happened with the National Arts Council (NAC) matter that has been placed before us here. Can I also say that in agreeing with that part about sampling, it therefore does not mean that there may be nothing else that could be found to have been done wrong in the PPSA outside the clean audit as an audit focuses on the samples put before the Auditor-General? That's the last question, Chair. Thank you.

Mr Lamula: I don't want to be drawn into a dispute on the processes of the Auditor-General. I think that will be an issue that the Auditor-General can respond to on how they say it is a clean audit. What I can confirm is that the Public Protector has three consecutive clean audits. If the first one was a fluke, then she was going to miss the second one and the third one. So I wouldn't want to be drawn into determining if the sampling is correct or not. What we know is that if the Auditor-General, who has the authority to pronounce on your financial and non-financial status, says you have a clean audit, that is what it is.

Mr Maneli: May I just follow up because I think then it's missed on that score, because I wanted us to have at least a similar understanding. It's not the questioning of the clean audit that I'm dealing with but it is to establish the principle that that clean audit is based on the scope of the sample that the Auditor-General was looking at. Therefore, anything that you may raise outside of that sample would not really speak to the Auditor-General, on the basis that the Auditor-General looked at what was before the Auditor-General. I'm not questioning the clean audits. No. But this principle is important because there was a complaint just yesterday about something else out of such a report. We have to praise indeed when there are clean audits, right, but I want an understanding that we're talking to a sampling; not as though the Auditor-General looked at everything else. So that was it, Chair, not to question; let’s agree on that.

Chairperson: Mr Lamula?

Mr Lamula: I don't want to be drawn into that. I reserve my comment on that because I said I'm an investigator; I'm not an auditor.

Chairperson: Okay. Thank you. Hon Siwela. The last hand will be Hon Sukers.

Ms V Siwela (ANC): Thank you. Good afternoon, Mr Lamula.

Mr Lamula: [Zulu 7:07:01]

Ms Siwela: [Zulu 7:07:03]

Mr Lamula: [Zulu 7:07:05]

Ms Siwela: [Zulu 7:07:06]

Mr Lamula: [Zulu: 7:07:07-7:07:08]

Ms Siwela: [Zulu: 7:07:08-7:07:12]

Mr Lamula: [Zulu: 7:07:12-7:07:13]

Ms Siwela: [Zulu: 7:07:14-7:07:18-7:07:24] So I'm checking if there is a link between this backlog of cases and the lack of resources, or simply the lack of commitment of employees in the Office? Can you say something on that one?

Mr Lamula: It is known that cost containment means the Public Protector's Office could not recruit as much as they can, so it has a direct impact on the backlog. I wouldn't want to say people have got a negative attitude. I'm talking on my own to say I always display a positive attitude. For other people. I don't know what their attitude looks like.

Ms Siwela: [Zulu 7:08:11-7:08:22] Dashboard meetings, the PP was interested in dates only, not considering the complexity of the matter. Do you think it was reasonable to set dates without considering the complexity of the cases?

Mr Lamula: I will say the dates were not set by the Public Protector. They are set through the investigation plan. Of course, there will be those matters where the Public Protector has got a direct interest, bearing the nature of the complaint, where she’ll be working with the investigator directly wanting to know. So again, the deadlines were not imposed. I repeat again, they were not imposed. They were suggested and they were discussed. So I don't remember an instance… maybe to other investigators, an instance when the Public Protector will say I want this thing tomorrow without justifiable reasons. I have seen evidence that someone was requested to do something the following day. I don't know what the circumstances were, but I will still insist that deadlines were not imposed. They were a bottom-up approach in terms of the investigation plan. Thank you.

Ms Siwela: [Zulu 7:09:38-7:09:40] These were my questions.

Chairperson: I guess you’re both saying you're done. Thank you, Hon Siwela. Hon Sukers?

Ms M Sukers (ACDP): Thank you, Chair. I need to participate in a debate in the House and my time is running out, so I'm going to dash through the questions. Thank you, Mr Lamula for coming before the Committee. I want to ask you regarding the Dashboard. I'm going to use a business as a model. A dashboard in business is a visual display of all the data. While it can be used in all kinds of different ways, the intention primarily is to provide information at a glance, such as your KPIs. It is based on a car's dashboard. I'm sure you would agree that on a car dashboard, we don't want to just see the speed and kilometres travelled, but also the fuel, engine temperature and the warning lights. If you ignore any of these, you may land up stuck on a road somewhere or you might crash. So things like staff turnover, sick leave and overdue leave can show that the engine of an organisation is in trouble. Would you agree?

Mr Lamula: That's your opinion.

Ms Sukers: You think it's my opinion? Okay, I'm going to ask you the question, were these…

Mr Lamula: It's not in my evidence.

Ms Sukers: I'm asking you in terms of a dashboard. If you want to look at an organisation and you want to assess if it is successful and performing at capacity. Would you agree that there are a number of things you need to look at, such as your staff capacity; if staff is taking a lot of sick leave; if staff morale is low? Would you agree that if you don't check those things, it's possible that an organisation can run into trouble?

Mr Lamula: That is your understanding. But the understanding of my Dashboard in relation to the Public Protector, issues of staff morale / sick leave were not part of the Dashboard. Of course, they could be part of the Dashboard when someone has missed a deadline, where they have to motivate why they've missed the deadline. But it was not the agenda for the Dashboard to say how many people are sick or if they've got staff morale.

Ms Sukers: Ja. No, you’re actually answering my question. So those things didn't form part of your matrix in your Dashboard?

Mr Lamula: No.

Ms Sukers: Okay. Then my second question. Adv Mpofu mentioned the balanced scorecard approach to management. Did PPSA use a balanced scorecard? And if so, describe its use in the PPSA. If you didn't use a balanced scorecard, what management approach was used in the organisation?

Mr Lamula: Can you explain what you mean by balanced scorecard?

Ms Sukers: A balanced scorecard… is where you track results, you track key performance indicators, for instance. You track performance.

Mr Lamula: Yes, it is. There was that system; there is that system in the Public Protector. Like I said, it was not only the Dashboard. There was also file inspection, where you check the performance of investigators. The Dashboard is one of them, the file inspection is one of those systems. Ja

Ms Sukers: Unfortunately, I need to return to the House. Mr Lamula, I would have loved to ask you more questions. Thank you for your time. Thank you, Chair.

Mr Lamula: Thank you.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Sukers. That would have been the last hand from the Members. Adv Shabalala, you have a choice to leave now, or I give you more time. I am generous with time; I can give more time if you have any questions that you want to ask.

Adv Shabalala: Thank you Chair. Let me quickly round off my re-examination because of time.

Chairperson: Did you say re-examination? Oh, okay. Go ahead.

Adv Shabalala: Yes. Mr Lamula. Good afternoon.

Mr Lamula: Welcome.

Adv Shabalala: I've looked at your colourful CV. It's quite impressive. I must say that you are a lawyer in your own right.

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Adv Shabalala: You know, really professional wordsmiths. I mean that they are skilled users of words.

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Adv Shabalala: Effective communication is at the heart of what lawyers do for a living.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Shabalala: Yes. I followed your evidence-in-chief.

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Adv Shabalala: When you were led by my leader, Dali Mpofu, you testified that you regard yourself as a member of the staff of the Office of the Public Protector.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Shabalala: Mpofu alluded to the fact that the description or definition of the terminology derives from the Public Protector Act?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Shabalala: To clarify that – because there is a distinction, I'll tell you why. There's a distinction between a member and an employee.

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Adv Shabalala: An employee is someone who wakes up to go to work, maybe not all the time, who receives a cheque, or receives a salary. But the way I understand your evidence is that as a member, you are there to assist the Public Protector to fulfil her constitutional mandate. Can you then clarify?

Mr Lamula: Ja. This Committee consists of members of a particular organisation, they will die for that organisation. With the Public Protector Act, there is no mention of an employee or a worker; we are referred to as staff members. For me, when you refer to me as a staff member, I regard that I'm one of the selected few who were meticulously selected to assist the Public Protector. My role there is not driven by salary benefits, it is driven by the nature of the office that I'm attached to. Unlike when I'm an employee, I'll just behave just like any other employee. That's why I said, it takes sacrifice to ensure that the people we're serving can benefit from the Office of the Public Protector. So a member is more than an employee. As a member, when things go down, they also affect you one way or the other. When this office is facing difficulties, as a member, I also feel the pain and those difficulties. If someone says, this office is 'deurmekaar' that person is referring to me one way or the other as a member. But if I'm an employee, I will say no, you're not referring to me, you're referring to the leader of the office. So I regard myself as a distinct member of the Public Protector. I can give you an example, from those who are Christians. When Jesus started his ministry, he selected only three disciples. Those are the first chosen ones, and so they were a member of the inner circle of Jesus. I consider myself as a member of the Public Protector, because it's there in the Act; a member has to behave like a member, and a member has to sacrifice for the benefit of the organisation, not for Adv Mkhwebane. Thank you.

Adv Shabalala: Is it your evidence that if she succeeds, you will have assisted her to succeed?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Shabalala: On the other hand, if she fails, you must also shoulder some responsibility for her failure?

Mr Lamula: Correct. That's why I'm here.

Adv Shabalala: Yes. Can I quickly take you through the Dashboard meetings.

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Adv Shabalala: Let me start with… Your evidence is that you started attending the Dashboard meetings in 2020.

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Adv Shabalala: So you can only testify on the Dashboard activities only for events that happen after or during 2020.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Shabalala: But of what happened prior to that, you have no knowledge?

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Shabalala: Yes. So is it your evidence that at that level, the Dashboard meeting level, you also dealt with the merits of the reports, and the quality of the reports. Is this your evidence?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Shabalala: I understand that there were also meetings like your Quality Assurance…

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Shabalala: …as well as your Full Bench meeting.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Shabalala: But you don't deal with those in your affidavit, isn't it?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Shabalala: But did you serve in any of these other meetings?

Mr Lamula: Yes. When reports are… Look, the Quality Assurance process came up later. The reports, before they go to Full Bench, they go through Quality Assurance, then they are discussed at Full Bench. Quality Assurance is chaired by the COO. The Full Bench is chaired by the Public Protector, or the Deputy Public Protector, if she's available. So reports will go through that process. Then there'll be the PP’s Dashboard, where there could be those matters that the Public Protector has got an interest in, and she will say for this and this and this, I want an update. But that does not take away the fact that you will be reporting your other progresses on the report. So I sat in Quality Assurance, when I have a matter there. Currently I sit in the Quality Assurance by virtue of my appointment as a Provincial Representative for all quality assurance matters.

Adv Shabalala: Can we quickly deal with the composition of each meeting? Let's deal first with the Dashboard meeting. Who sits in this meeting?

Mr Lamula: The branch dashboard meetings are chaired by the executive manager and every investigator is in that dashboard. Then the Public Protector's Dashboard, there is even a COO Dashboard, where you also have investigators in there. The Public Protector's Dashboard is all senior managers, as well as the investigators who have cases that need to be attended to in that particular forum. So you don't just walk in there uninvited. The meeting link will be sent to those people who have matters that need to be discussed in that forum.

Adv Shabalala: But is it your evidence that senior management sits in this meeting?

Mr Lamula: It's a must.

Adv Shabalala: Yes. And it's your evidence that in these meetings you also deal with the quality of the reports?

Mr Lamula: Correct. Like I said, there are reports that the Public Protector has an interest in even before they go through the quality assurance process. It can be brought in to be discussed and sent back.

Adv Shabalala: Anyway, it's part of the chain of quality control.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Shabalala: Can you give me your honest opinion: If anything goes wrong, what do you think; should these senior managers who sit in these meetings also shoulder or take responsibility?

Mr Lamula: Ja, the lane of consequences should not deviate or take an off-ramp; all those people who are in those meetings should be held accountable. Ja. The senior managers who should have prevented that thing from going through, they should be held accountable including the investigator who would have been the drafter. Everyone was held accountable and responsible for that.

Adv Shabalala: Are you aware that one of the charges the Public Protector is facing is that of incompetence, including the poor quality of the reports. Based on this chain of quality control and the involvement of senior management, what do you make of these charges against the Public Protector?

Mr Lamula: If the Public Protector is found to be incompetent, it is us the members who have been appointed to assist who contributed to that incompetence. She cannot be found incompetent alone, because it is us who are the ground people who have to do that work. Of course, she’s accountable. But the nitty-gritty of investigation is management and it is investigators. She can’t be expected to know everything.

Adv Shabalala: I’m aware of the fact that constitutionally she accounts to Parliament.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Adv Shabalala: But to a certain extent, are you saying that management has to take responsibility and…

Mr Lamula: Correct, including myself.

Adv Shabalala: Yes, Ms Bawa?

Adv Bawa: Adv Shabalala, it’s re-examination not leading the witness, as Adv Shabalala is now doing and suggesting answers, and leading stuff that doesn't even emanate.

Adv Shabalala: But it's one of the questions that came, I think it was asked by Hon Member Mileham.

Adv Bawa: Sorry, Adv Shabalala. I’m not having an issue if it emanates from the questions.

Adv Shabalala: Yes.

Adv Bawa: But you're leading the witness with an answer. That's what I'm suggesting.

Adv Shabalala: I'll try and trim it… Okay. What do you make of the fact that senior management also sit in the Dashboard meetings, insofar as the issue of responsibility is concerned?

Mr Lamula: They sit there because they have to sit there to account for their work and their role. Senior managers have to assist the Public Protector, so they have to sit there and account for the work that has been done.

Adv Shabalala: So it is evidence that to a certain extent, they should share the blame?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Shabalala: Let me quickly deal with… Just bear with me. On the issue of the deadlines, it is now common cause, or the evidence has been led that deadlines are imposed either by the statutes regulations. Sometimes they are self-imposed. Is that your evidence?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Shabalala: Can we then quickly deal with the issue of the investigation plan? Can you then explain as to how the deadlines work as per the investigation plans?

Mr Lamula: I'll take a simple matter of a service delivery matter that has to be finalised within 12 months. So when you plan your investigation, you have to consider that this matter from the date which I received it, to the time when this matter is finalised, these are the steps that I need to take. These are the milestones and the dates by which I have to do 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. At times, you may find that before even that long period you have projected, the institution has responded, and maybe at the sixth month, you are done with the investigation. But your investigation plan still covers that whole period. So when you receive a file, you have to indicate that on this particular date, or between this date and this date, I have to introduce myself to the complainant. Then, secondly, from between this date and this date, I have to log, what we call logging issues with the complainant. Then between this date and this date, I have to finalise the investigation plan itself and have it approved. Then between this date and this date, I now issue an allegations letter to the institution, and you will be expecting a response – in terms of our own process, the longest period is 30 days. So you have to factor in the 30 days; you also have to factor in the institution may request an extension. In terms of our rules, the extension is seven days, so it means you have to give 37 days. You also have to factor in that it may not respond, resulting in a subpoena. A subpoena needs to be responded to within 10 days. You have to factor all those things in your investigation plan. Suppose you've factored up to the point of a subpoena, then we're talking about 40 to 50 days. But suppose the institution responds within 10 days so that whole period that you factored in becomes a bonus. You can just use it to conduct other investigations or finalise the matter, depending on what is your finding. You have to factor in PPSA internal processes of an allegation letter, depending on who is being investigated, if it's going to be signed by the Public Protector or by the executive manager or the chief investigator. Those things need to be factored into the investigation plan. You also have to factor in if you issue a section 7(9) notice, the institution is required to respond within 10 days. If they respond within that period, then it's a bonus. If they don't respond, or ask for an extension, you have to factor that in and until the end product, if the matter is going to Quality Assurance, a Full Bench, or if the Public Protector will have an interest in the matter, where you have to make periodical reports to her, up to the end when the report is finalised and issued. All those need to have dates by which you have to do those. So all those dates are imposed by yourself. They're not imposed by the seniors. Some of them, because they're based on service standards, you have to comply with those dates. In the same process, you have to factor in say every six weeks, you have to update the complainant on the progress of the investigation. The investigation diary has to reflect that on this date and that date, I'll be updating the complainant on progress in the investigation. Should you have study leave or you're going on maternity leave, you also have to factor it in. It has to be a living document.

Adv Shabalala: Does the Public Protector get involved at all?

Mr Lamula: No.

Adv Shabalala: At no stage does she…

Mr Lamula: No. The only time she will be involved is to ask you what your investigation diary is saying. She does not get involved in drafting that and she does not get involved in signing it off.

Adv Shabalala: Well, if there's failure to meet the deadlines, who enforces compliance?

Mr Lamula: It should be the supervisor.

Adv Shabalala: Let me quickly round off because of time. I just wanted to canvas a few issues here. At the beginning of your testimony, when you were led by my leader, Adv Mpofu, you made it clear that your testimony is limited to issues of misconduct?

Mr Lamula: Ja.

Adv Shabalala: You're not here to deal with the judgments and offering opinions on the judgements.

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Adv Shabalala: Thanks, I have no further questions to ask.

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Shabalala. It's now 5.17pm. I thought you said you wanted to get out of here by 5pm, when you interjected. Mr Lamula, I want to come back to you so that I give you the opportunity to make your final remarks and address. But maybe just one issue that you can help clarify me on, so that I leave here with a proper understanding. It is my understanding that you said to Hon Maneli, namely that in the preparation of your evidence, you were taken through the motion.

Mr Lamula: Yes.

Chairperson: Is that my understanding? Okay, then I'm fine. Then also can you confirm: As Adv Bawa would have raised that you would not have been exposed or understand the issues of CIEX, Vrede Dairy, the GEMS, the Gordhan matter or SARS, the Pillay pension. Is that my understanding?

Mr Lamula: Correct.

Chairperson: Alright. Thank you. Do you have any final remarks and comments you want to make? We have reached the end of our time with you and the last person who is going to speak here is going to be you.

Mr Lamula: Not the… Thank you. I don't have much to say except that I request that you clap hands for me for my achievement.

Chairperson: Okay, which achievement, the fact that you are here today, or?

Mr Lamula: Everything.

Chairperson: Okay.

Mr Lamula: Ja, no, I'm here to assist the Committee to come to a probable conclusion. I don't regard the Public Protector as incompetent. I am of the view that she is competent. She is still competent, and she will continue to be competent. And ja, the Public Protector is our Public Protector. I don't want to stretch it to senior [vernacular 7:37:34-35]. I will end there. Thank you.

Chairperson: Okay. On behalf of this section 194 inquiry, let me take this opportunity to thank you for availing yourself when you were approached by the Public Protector team before today and today for you to have participated and made these contributions in this inquiry. We hope that your contributions are going to be of assistance to the Committee as you've just indicated. Thank you very much, we appreciate that. You are now officially excused. Hon Members and colleagues, that's also where we're going to end today. We will not be sitting tomorrow and we’ll resume on Monday. Thank you.

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