PP Inquiry day 46: Ms Caroline Zulu-Sokoni (postponed)

Committee on Section 194 Enquiry

05 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 Public Protector's legal team informed the Committee that both Mr Mr Mulao Lamula and the Public Protector of Zambia, Adv Caroline Zulu-Sokoni, would not be able to testify as planned. Adv Zulu-Sokoni explained that she had not yet received the required approval from the Zambian government to travel outside the country or to testify virtually. Adv Mpofu assured Members that Adv Zulu-Sokoni would be ready to give her testimony when the Committee resumes on 30 January 2023. Members agreed that Adv Zulu-Sokoni would be accommodated in the Committee’s current schedule. The Chairperson stated that the time lost would have to be made up without extending the allotted time for the Section 194 process.

Adv Mpofu indicated that if the court challenge about the Committee’s decision to reject the recusal application of the Chairperson and Mr Kevin Mileham is postponed from 14 December, it would most likely be heard in the week of 23 January 2023.

Meeting report

Chairperson: I would like to welcome you on this day 5 December 2022. Today is a meeting to hear evidence from our next witness, Ms Sokoni. Maybe before I go into that detail, just to welcome all of you Honourable Members. Welcome the Public Protector and her legal team, Evidence Leaders, members of the public, the media and our support team. I want to indicate the process we are going to follow. We are going to allow the Public Protector’s team, at some point, to give us an explanation. But I am going to have the witness sworn in; ask Adv Mpofu to explain the difficulty they have and have the witness add to that and explain; thereafter get Members to react to that situation noted through correspondence, which will be explained in the meeting. And I want to immediately ask Ms Fatima Ebrahim to do introduce the witness.

Adv Dali Mpofu: Chair? Chairperson?

Chairperson: Adv Mpofu?

Adv Mpofu: Yes, I think I am not against the procedure you are proposing but can you just stand down for five minutes so that we can talk to the witness because that is not what we had arranged with her? I think out of respect to her let us just find out if she is comfortable with being sworn in at this stage – just five minutes, Chair. We will do it offline. You do not even have to get off here.

Chairperson: We will give you that five minutes, Adv Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you, Chair.

Chairperson: Hon Members, we are just going to give three to five minutes to the Public Protector and her team but the witness will have to put things on record. There is no way she will put that on record without being sworn in.

Mr X Nqola (ANC): That is in order, Chair.

The meeting adjourned for five minutes.

Adv Mpofu: It is fine. Everything is in order.

Chairperson: Thank you. Thank you for that. Ms Ebrahim, please do the preliminaries?

Adv Caroline Zulu-Sokoni was duly sworn in by Ms Fathima Ebrahim.

Chairperson: Thank you, Ms Ebrahim. I now recognise Adv Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you, Chairperson. Good morning Chair. Good morning Hon Members and everyone. Good morning Hon Sokoni.

Adv Zulu-Sokoni: Good morning.

Adv Mpofu: Chairperson, this is regarding a letter that we wrote to you yesterday, shortly after consulting with Hon Zulu-Sokoni. It transpired at that time which was about 15:30 yesterday – I think we then spoke to the Evidence Leaders as well – that Ms Sokoni would not be in a position to testify today, due to various issues, directly and indirectly that relate to what I referred to last week about her new status as a, shall we call it, judge-elect. We… In the last ten days she was appointed, or rather nominated, I suppose is the proper word because the appointment has not happened, as a judge in the Republic of Zambia. And that has created a few complications, which I explained to the Committee last week. In fact, you will remember, Chair, that according to our original plan she was not supposed to testify now in December. We would have called her when we come back, but we got concerned that we might lose her if her appointment to the bench was immediate. We rearranged our witness list so to speak, so that we could have her today, so if she is unable or not allowed to testify, then at least she would have done so. Unfortunately, it has not worked for various reasons, including the fact that she has not secured the necessary protocols and permissions from her country, which she would have needed anyway to testify outside of the country because she holds a particular position in that country. Those are internal issues in Zambia that we were not necessarily familiar with. But she wanted us to make it clear that does not mean that she is testifying for the government of Zambia. She is an independent witness, effectively testifying for the African Ombudsman and Mediators Association, otherwise known as AOMA, which is in the statements that you have as Members. The second reason is that she is also preparing to address her own Parliament regarding the procedures to do with her appointment. The third reason is that she would prefer to testify in person, and she will make arrangements and that also takes… has got its own approval processes, and that also has to do with issues of connectivity and other related issues. But anyway, that is her preference as a witness. The good news, Chair, in all of that, is that apparently the processes to do with her appointment will take longer than what we feared last week. So she is comfortable that come January, she will still be able to assist the Committee. And so for those reasons, Chair, we wanted to ask to request that her testimony be deferred to when we get back in January. That is as far as that is concerned. But on a related topic, when I was speaking to Ms Bawa yesterday, it looked like we had different dates as to when we are going to resume and if that can be clarified because we will need to secure that date with the witness, among other things. There were two dates, one was the 23rd, which is what I thought it was, but I understand that it might now be the 30th. Well, I have a preference of those two, but I do not have to express it for now. All I need is just certainty so that we can make the necessary arrangements. Chair, I just want to address that there are two other issues that I want to address but I do not want to mix them up – the others are quite small issues. But as far as the witness is concerned, that is the situation. And finally, Hon Zulu-Sokoni was kind enough to agree to attend today when we requested her to do so just so that she can confirm what I have… the summary that I have just given. But that is all I think she will be able to do today. We do not want to get her into a situation where she goes into the merits of any evidence before she gets the necessary approvals, which she is confident she is going to get anyway. Thank you.

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu. Just perhaps one question to you before I interact with her. I agree with you have raised upfront this issue as a possible difficulty at some point last week. But you were always playing around either Lamula or her at any point to come first but also she would have planned to come on Thursday then. Now I just want you to indicate that when you said she will be coming in on Thursday was there no such issue of this clearance at that point?

Adv Mpofu: Chair, I have no idea. I mean, I am telling you what has transpired. I do not know why you are cross-examining me. I am telling you that even at that point, the problem was…

Chairperson: I am not cross-examining you. Just work with me. I am not cross-examining you.

Adv Mpofu: Yeah… No, I am saying to you, whether it was Thursday, or Friday, or Sunday or whatever, we would have discovered the issue then, if there was an issue. I told you that last week that we were basically bulldozing the witness to try and… she was cooperating with us. That is why on Thursday, I think when we were not able to reach her. Fortunately, we had a plan B as you know, on Wednesday, which was Mr Lamula. And then we arranged with this witness that we would consult yesterday, in other words, to prepare her for today. And as soon as we became aware of these problems… That is what happens, you know, witnesses are human, so things happen, people have accidents, or whatever. So we were then told yesterday about these problems and as soon as we finished, immediately we informed you and the Evidence Leaders. There is nothing more than that we can do.

Chairperson: Okay. Thank you, Adv Mpofu. Ms Sokoni if I may just interact with you, just to help so that the Committee is on the same page as you. Can you kindly give us a proper picture, because Adv Mpofu is also a South African like us – he is here – firstly what are these requirements you need to undergo in your country for you to participate and at what point do these requirements kick in? When you were approached as a potential witness for this Inquiry, one would have thought that an indication of that nature would have been put upfront. You had done your sworn statement or affidavit. When you did that, did you know there is this requirement and approval that you need before you can come in front of this Committee?

Adv Zulu-Sokoni: Thank you so much, Chair. The approval is required whenever a government official has to travel out of the country. So when you apply for authority to travel abroad, you then inform the government the reason why you are leaving the jurisdiction. That is our procedure in this country. Yes. So now when I was informed that I was going to be appointed judge, it was so sudden, I think I was informed the week before last, you know. Then it became necessary to say, how are we going to approach this. I thought perhaps I was moving immediately, but then it was explained to me later, that it is quite a procedure with certain levels of approvals one has to go through. So when it was suggested to me that I testify virtually, I was advised by my officials at the office that even if I am not applying for leave to travel abroad, I would still have to inform government that I am going to address the South African Parliament prior to carrying out this assignment. So it is not an issue of permissions, but it is a courtesy I think to my government to let them know that this is what is going on.

Chairperson: Thank you. Now, are you able, even after this meeting, to share with us where that is? At what stage is that kind of a request you have made and pending approval? And have you done that in writing to the government of Zambia or the authorities that are affected in that regard?

Adv Zulu-Sokoni: The letter has been written and it takes about I think three weeks for the Secretary of the Cabinet to give that approval. They usually ask you to give them 21 days, I think, prior.

Chairperson: Okay. Alright. Thank you. Are there any other Members who want to get some clarity from Ms Sokoni? Just whilst I wait for Members' hands, Ms Sokoni, you met with us already, at least we know this face.

Adv Zulu-Sokoni: Yes, Chair.

Chairperson: You were with us in Cape Town, I think for about two to three days. You would have been just a curious observer and not necessarily participating. So what was the nature of approval for that kind of an event?

Adv Zulu-Sokoni: I still needed to…

Adv Mpofu: No, no, Chairperson… Chair, honestly? What are you doing now? Are you now disrespecting a judge of another country? Why are you cross-examining Ms Sokoni? She is not here… Either you accept her explanation or you do not. If you do not, you can do whatever you think is necessary but you cannot subject her to this kind of humiliation.

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu. I appreciate that and I want to request you do not interfere with my chairing of this meeting.

Adv Mpofu: No, but do not also disrespect my witness.

Chairperson: Please do not speak whilst I am on the platform, Adv Mpofu. I am now interacting with Ms Sokoni and I have asked a very simple and direct question. I want you to…

Adv Mpofu: No, Chairperson. Ms Sokoni is my witness and it is my duty to protect her. She is doing us a favour by assisting this Parliament. She is not here to be put into a Spanish Inquisition by you.

Chairperson: Adv Mpofu, I am going to ask you stand down on what you are doing.

Adv Mpofu: No, but Chair… What if the witness says then ‘If this is what I have to go through, I am not going to assist you?’ You are putting her through a Spanish Inquisition, for what?

Chairperson: She is an adult to respond for herself.

Adv Mpofu: No, she is not. Well, maybe she does not know how you are.

Chairperson: Adv Mpofu, I am going to ask you to stop doing that.

Adv Mpofu: No, you are out of order, man.

Chairperson: Ms Sokoni, I have asked you this question?

Adv Zulu-Sokoni: Yes, through the Chair. Thank you very much for that question. That is the procedure when all government officials are travelling. I remember at one time when I was a very young advocate, I actually went on holiday. I left the country – even when you are going on holiday – I went to the United Kingdom and I came back. And then I was scolded. I was told even when you are going out on holiday, when you are a government official you must get authority to travel abroad – it is just our procedures in this country.

Chairperson: Thank you, Ms Sokoni. Hon Nqola. Hon Maneli.

Mr Nqola: Thank you very much, Chairperson. And let us indeed welcome the Public Protector from Zambia. And actually appreciate that she agreed to assist the Committee in terms of the work that we are undergoing. I think, Chair, the questions of clarity that you were seeking from Ms Sokoni were relevant for us to plan moving forward, so that we understand correctly what she needs to undergo in terms of the process and how much time will be fair for her to be able to come back and testify to the Committee. Lastly, Chair I think there is not much that we can do except try to allocate her testimony in our programme for the next day. We have lost another day, Chair, so let us rather work with the current programme that we have. I want to propose, Chair, to the Committee that let us allocate Ms Sokoni in the days that we still have without having to change the programme. That is my proposal, Chair, to the Committee. Thank you very much.

Chairperson: Thank you, Xola Nqola. Hon Maneli?

Mr B Maneli (ANC): Thank you, Hon Chair. I think I have been covered in some of the points raised, that we may need to look at our programme and still create space if that engagement would continue. I am using "if" because when you make an application for approval, it depends on the circumstances at that time, whether this would be positive or not positive. Therefore it takes me then to the question – we are dealing with an official of government but the witness expertise needed was about an institution separate from government. In the case of disapproval would AOMA second another person to do that? I think it is important because the programme has to continue and we need to plan for these eventualities in case you get a negative outcome. I respect that when the authorities receive an application, it is not automatic but they exercise discretion based on circumstances at the time.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Maneli. Just before I summarise, I see your hand, Adv Mpofu?

Adv Mpofu: Thank you, Chair. No, I just wanted to respond to Hon Maneli’s point; he raises a very valid issue. Sorry, I forgot to mention that even before these current problems when we heard about the appointment as a judge, because we thought it was immediate at that stage, which is why we mentioned it to the Committee. We did send some feelers, Hon Maneli, that if indeed Hon Zulu-Sokoni was completely unable to assist us, would we have an alternative person. Obviously we preferred her. I can just assure the Committee that if that would happen – because you never know; you can't control what happens – if she becomes totally unable to help, despite her assurances to us, that the process will take longer than anticipated, then indeed we will get an alternative person from the organisation. Thank you.

Chairperson: Alright. Thank you. Just so I take everything into account. You wanted to raise other related issues?

Adv Mpofu: Yes… No, no. There were just two quick issues. One has to do with the date. I think I already raised that. Also just apropos what Hon Nqola and Maneli have raised, yeah, we are not asking for the adjustment of any programme. We would… the only thing we want is for this witness to be deferred but obviously it will fit into whatever programme is there. That is why, Chair, I was asking about the… I know it is a moving target and living document and so on but as we speak now, what is the resumption date? I think that becomes important for all of us generally, but also in relation to this witness.

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu. Quickly, Mr Ngoma, before I come in do you want to give the date as shared in the programme? I think that's 30 January. Can you indicate that?

Committee Secretary Mr Thembinkosi Ngoma: Morning Chairperson. Morning Members, Adv Mpofu, and the team, as well as the Public Protector of Zambia. Chairperson, the resumption date is 30 January next year. Thank you very much, Chair.

Chairperson: Thank you.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you. Sorry, Chair, can I speak?

Chairperson: Go ahead.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you, Chair. Okay, thank you for that. No, for some reason the date we had in the programme that was last sent to us was the 23rd. We are comfortable with this current date for another reason, because there is likely to be some litigation in the week of the 23rd so that it does not interfere with this Committee. So that is fine. Thank you. For now, I wanted it for the purposes of scheduling the witness. If there is any problem, we will interact with you, Chair, but as matters stand we will try to have her on the first date of resumption.

Chairperson: Thank you.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you, Chair. The other issue I wanted to raise was just to apologise for last Friday, it turned out that there was a mishap with our diaries and that appearance was not last Friday – the one we thought – but is this coming Friday. I am just doing it for transparency but it is a long story how that that mix-up happened, but I just wanted to put it on the record, Chair. There was another issue… Okay, no, if I have forgotten it, it means it was not that important. But if it is a burning issue, then we will do it by correspondence; but I thought that there was another issue that I wanted to raise with you.

Chairperson: Thank you.

Adv Mpofu: Yeah, no, it is fine, Chair. Yeah, maybe just for information, the recusal application in court, which was scheduled for 13 and 14 December, might not take place on those days but I am in touch with your advocate and the DA’s advocate about it. If there is anything that concerns the Committee we will write you an email or something, but it will possibly happen before the resumption anyway. Thanks, Chair… but I do think that is the issue I have forgotten. Thank you.

Chairperson: Thank you. Thembinkosi?

Mr Ngoma: Thank you, Chair. I know maybe it is a minor issue, but it needs to be clarified as it impacts the work of the secretariat. The last programme, Adv Mpofu, that was shared with Nafeesa (Patel) on 14 November, indicates 30 January as the resumption next year. I just wanted to clarify that. Thank you very much.

Adv Mpofu: Okay. No, fair enough, maybe it is my fault. [Remember, the one I sent to the Chair…]

Chairperson: Adv Mpofu, you are still on the platform. I know it is convenient to respond to Thembinkosi…

Adv Mpofu: Sorry, Chair.

Chairperson: Go ahead.

Adv Mpofu: No, no, Chair. I am responding to you. I was saying, remember last week, I even said to you that your programme omitted to include the, what you call it, the legal arguments, so it means mine was updated – that is fine. The problem is mine. I had it as the 23rd. I even adjusted my holiday plans. So I am happy if I have got an extra week. Thank you.

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu. Before I excuse Ms Sokoni just to indicate on this issue, firstly, the programme that Mr Ngoma is referring to was sent to the presiding officers and the authority of this institution. That programme has an end date that we have been given until when we proceed with this Inquiry. So we are going to do everything to ensure that when we miss witnesses, we reallocate, because we have been very clear that there is no extension that is going to be given on what has been outlined. We are going to have to do all our best to ensure if there is a gap, something missing, that gets to be attended to in that way. I think Hon Nqola, you are correct, and therefore this point I am making, that we will, depending on, as Hon Maneli is saying, allocating the witness back onto the programme in the manner I am explaining. We have quite a pointed programme with defined milestones in that. We have been given that kind of clarity as to the work we need to do now to go to that conclusion. Before I excuse the witness, I see the hand of Hon Omphile, and then Adv Mpofu and then Adv Bawa.

Ms O Maotwe (EFF): Thank you very much, Chair. So, mine is on the programme. I do know that I heard you saying Thembinkosi has sent us the revised programme, which I believe he did. If you can just ask him to resend it again. I have been looking at my emails. I did talk to him, by the way, I think it was last week to say ‘please send it to me.’ Maybe he forgot. If you can ask him to resend us the programme. Thank you, Chair.

Chairperson: We will do so, Hon Maotwe, especially after today. It makes sense, people are going away, they know and they plan accordingly. That is in order. Thank you. Adv Mpofu?

Adv Mpofu: Yes. Thank you, Chair. Two things: one is – I am just flagging this as a possibility – as I said, we are in touch with your advocate in the recusal matter and the advocate of the DA. The last time I spoke to them, there was there was a possibility, if this matter does not happen now, of it being in some time in February. I am just saying that once that is tightened, given what you are saying… once there is an agreement, we will send it to you so that you can see what you can do about that in terms of adjusting the programme or making up for it, or whatever, within the programme without necessarily having to extend it. If it happens, my preference is that the case should be had in the week of the 23 January so that it does not interfere with this programme. But if that does not succeed, we will write to you, Chair, and indicate and then… just so that we do not tell you the last minute or when we come back in January for your planning. I will know in the next 24 hours once I have spoken to your team and ours. The other issue was, you say they have told you that you cannot go beyond a particular date – who is they?

Chairperson: We account here, Adv Mpofu, so this process is not a standalone process, it is a parliamentary process. There are standing arrangements, there are deadlines.

Adv Mpofu: Unreasonable deadlines. Thank you, Chair.

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu. Adv Bawa?

Adv Mpofu: You are muted, Nazreen.

Adv Nazreen Bawa: Chair, good morning. I understand the deadlines and appreciate it. Adv Mpofu, maybe we should have a meeting after this because as matters now stand we are not in possession of any statements to commence with any witnesses beyond the current one when the New Year begins. We do not know what the plan is either going forward in respect of that. It does warrant another backroom and I have had a conversation with Adv Mpofu. It is best we get that sorted out today because it does affect us in preparation as well.

Chairperson: Okay, thank you. Can the two of you or the two teams interact on that issue and then I will get the feedback. Thank you. Ms Sokoni?

Adv Zulu-Sokoni: Chair?

Chairperson: Ms Sokoni?

Adv Zulu-Sokoni: Chair, I can hear you.

Chairperson: Okay, thank you. As I understand it, you are still the ombudsperson or Public Protector and you will only be a judge when you are sworn in. Am I right?

Adv Zulu-Sokoni: I beg your pardon, Chair?

Chairperson: As things stand, you are still in your old position as ombudsperson?

Adv Zulu-Sokoni: Yes, I am – very much so.

Chairperson: You will only be a judge once sworn in?

Adv Zulu-Sokoni: Yes, Chair.

Chairperson: Okay. Good luck for you. We will then meet when that possibility realises itself with all of the issues that have been raised. I wanted to say thank you to you. And now you are excused.

Adv Zulu-Sokoni: Thank you so much, Chair.

Chairperson: Thank you.

Ms Maotwe: And Merry Christmas to you, Hon Sokoni. Chairperson, you must be nice to the Public Protector. It is December, Chairperson.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Sokoni. You are now officially excused.

Adv Zulu-Sokoni: Thank you so much.

Adv Mpofu: Chair?

Chairperson: Hon Members, we can excuse also… I think that the hand you are raising, you want to be excused. I do want to excuse you and the Evidence Leaders, so that we deal with our business as a Committee.

Adv Mpofu. No… Okay. Yes… No, thank you for excusing us. I remembered the thing that I wanted to mention, it was that the… it is connected to what Adv Bawa was raising about statements and so on, which we will deal with in the background. But it was in respect of this particular witness, related to our consultation yesterday, we will also for the information of the Members, file a supplementary statement, a short one, two or three pages. But it will be obviously on time before the seven-day period before she comes in, might even be earlier than that. I just wanted to raise that, which I had wanted her to confirm. But she is now gone. But it is just for the record, Chair.

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu, to Evidence Leaders.

Ms Maotwe: Chair?

Chairperson: Yes, Hon Maotwe?

Ms Maotwe: Thank you very much. I wanted to ask Adv Bawa – listening to her asking for the statements from the witnesses that are going to appear after 30 December. That is like two months in advance, was that courtesy also applied to the Public Protector during her time with Adv Bawa's witnesses? Was Adv Mkhwebane given two months to have the statements of the witnesses? Thank you.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Maotwe. I am not going to let you respond, Adv Bawa. I have already indicated that the two teams are going to interact on that issue. Thank you. I want to excuse both Adv Mpofu and Adv Bawa and Adv Mayosi, so that we proceed with the agenda.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you, Chairperson. We also wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas with your team and Hon Members and good luck with your parliamentary activities.

Ms Maotwe: Chair? Chairperson? Chair, before you log off the two advocates. Chair, you are not the spokesperson of Adv Bawa. Actually, as I was speaking I was looking at her, she was ready to respond to my question. Why are you not allowing her to respond?

Chairperson: Hon Maotwe.

Ms Maotwe: Are you now appointed the spokesperson of Adv Bawa?

Chairperson: Hon Maotwe.

Ms Maotwe: What she is asking for is something that she should have done for Adv Mkhwebane.

Chairperson: Hon Maotwe.

Ms Maotwe: No, it is wrong what you are doing and you must be told that you are wrong.

Chairperson: Please do not do what you are doing, Hon Maotwe.

Ms Maotwe: Chair, I must call you to order when you are out of order, Chair.

Chairperson: Thembinkosi, can you kindly mute Hon Maotwe as she is disrupting the Chairperson.

Ms Maotwe: Do not mute me. Chair, I am not going to be muted. You are not going to mute me.

Chairperson: Adv Bawa and Adv Mayosi, you are excused.

Ms Maotwe: I am saying to you, why are you not allowing her to respond?

Chairperson: Hon Maotwe, I am not going to repeat this again to you.

Ms Maotwe: No, Chair. You are unfair and it must be registered that today you are now the spokesperson of Adv Bawa because you are refusing to give her a chance to respond.

Chairperson: Hon Maotwe, I am saying this for the last time, I hope you will not repeat.

Ms Maotwe: I do not care. You can say it a hundred times, Chair. I am saying…

Chairperson: Sergeant in Arms, please remove Hon Maotwe from the meeting.

Ms Maotwe: You can remove me, but it must be recorded that you are a spokesperson of Bawa, Chairperson. You are unfair.

Chairperson: Please remove Hon Maotwe from the meeting. Please remove her. Thank you. Let us now proceed, Hon Members. Mr Ngoma would have sent to all of you… I have long excused you Adv Mpofu. We are now getting into a Committee discussion.

Adv Mpofu: Well, if the Evidence Leaders are still here, I will stay here… I am joking. Okay, bye bye. Have a nice Christmas. Good luck tomorrow.

Committee business

Chairperson: Hon Members, once we received this correspondence about the witness not being able to do what she needed to do, we then asked the Committee Secretariat, as Hon Nqola raised before, that we need to use whatever space we get to attend to our outstanding minutes. That is the only item we are going to attend now to use the time at least, even if it is for an hour. I think Mr Ngoma would have sent that to you. I am going to ask him to start rolling out those for any corrections if there are, page by page, and approval or endorsement of those minutes.

Mr Ngoma: Thank you, Chairperson. It is quite a number of sets of minutes.

It was noted that minutes prior to 27 July 2022 minutes had already been adopted. The minutes as circulated to Members were each screened page by page. No corrections were noted by Members other than attendance. All Committee meetings between 27 July and 30 November were each adopted:

05 Dec 2022      PP Inquiry day 46: Ms Caroline Zulu-Sokoni
01 Dec 2022      PP Inquiry day 45: Mr Muloa Lamula
30 Nov 2022      PP Inquiry day 44: Freddie Nyathela
29 Nov 2022      PP Inquiry day 43: Freddie Nyathela
28 Nov 2022      PP Inquiry day 42: Application for removal of Evidence Leaders
11 Nov 2022      PP Inquiry day 41: Neels van der Merwe
10 Nov 2022      PP Inquiry day 40: Neels van der Merwe
09 Nov 2022      PP Inquiry day 39: Nelisiwe Thejane
02 Nov 2022      PP Inquiry day 38: Neels van der Merwe
01 Nov 2022      PP Inquiry day 37: Legal team report-back; van der Merwe
28 Oct 2022      PP Inquiry day 36: Public Protector legal team withdrawal
27 Oct 2022      PP Inquiry day 35: Public Protector Adjournment Application
20 Oct 2022      PP Inquiry day 34: Evidence Leader Recusal Application
17 Oct 2022      PP Inquiry day 33: Recusal Application response & legal opinion
23 Sep 2022      PP Inquiry day 32: Recusal Application: Committee discussion
21 Sep 2022      PP Inquiry day 31: Recusal Application
13 Sep 2022      PP Inquiry day 30: Nelisiwe Thejane
10 Sep 2022      PP Inquiry day 29: Nthoriseng Motsitsi; Nelisiwe Thejane
09 Sep 2022      PP Inquiry day 28: Muntu Sithole & Nthoriseng Motsitsi
08 Sep 2022      PP Inquiry day 27: Muntu Sithole
26 Aug 2022      PP Inquiry day 26: Muntu Sithole
25 Aug 2022      PP Inquiry day 25: Ponatshego Mogaladi
24 Aug 2022      PP Inquiry day 24: Ponatshego Mogaladi
23 Aug 2022      PP Inquiry day 23: Reginald Ndou
22 Aug 2022      PP Inquiry day 22: Basani Baloyi
18 Aug 2022      PP Inquiry day 21: Reginald Ndou
17 Aug 2022      PP Inquiry day 20: Gumbi Tyelela
16 Aug 2022      PP Inquiry day 19: Hearings reflections; legal opinion
11 Aug 2022      PP Inquiry day 18: Adv Nditsheni Raedani
10 Aug 2022      PP Inquiry day 17: Adv Livhuwani Tshiwalule
05 Aug 2022      PP Inquiry day 16: Visvanathan Pillay
04 Aug 2022      PP Inquiry day 15: Baldwin Neshunzhi
03 Aug 2022      PP Inquiry day 14: Futana Tebele
02 Aug 2022      PP Inquiry day 13: Vussy Mahlangu
01 Aug 2022      PP Inquiry day 12: Sphelo Samuel
29 Jul 2022       PP Inquiry day 11: Sphelo Samuel & Hassen Ebrahim
28 Jul 2022       PP Inquiry day 10: Sphelo Samuel
27 Jul 2022       PP Inquiry day 09: Sphelo Samuel

The Committee Secretary said the minutes will be posted on the Committee page on the Parliamentary website.

Mr Ngoma: Chair, then we have only the minutes of Thursday 1 December and today’s minutes that will be adopted in the first meeting of the Committee in 2023. They have not been circulated yet and that is why we are unable to adopt them today. We will only have those two sets to do in the New Year. Chairperson, I understand that sometimes it becomes very difficult for us to consider minutes, as we always planned to do when discussing the programme, but I would like to request that in the New Year we adopt every week the set of minutes of the previous week so that we avoid going through a similar exercise. Chairperson, lastly, I would like to thank the Members and yourself for all the support you have provided me since you started this journey in July 2021, it is really appreciated. The support I received from each and every Member and support staff of this Committee. Of course, this is something that has never taken place in the country, so there would be some glitches, but as the Secretariat, we always try our utmost best to avoid those. And if in any event something we did not foresee happens, we always work to ensure it does not happen again. On behalf of the Secretariat, I would like to wish each Member a happy Christmas a prosperous new year until we meet again next year. I remain available Hon Members as you know on my cell phone, on my Whatsapp and on my email. As I committed at the beginning of this process, I am still making that commitment of being available on a 24-hour basis. Chairperson, thank you very much.

Chairperson: Thank you, Mr Ngoma. Hon Members, this is the last meeting of this Inquiry for the year. I thought it will be just for a few minutes to allow you to raise any general comments or remarks that you want to place, including how we improve the programme in January as we conclude. If Members want to make any comments I will allow that. Are we fine, Members? Nobody wants to make any comment.

Ms Tlhape: I am fine from my side, Chair.

Chairperson: Yes, Hon Tlhape?

Ms Tlhape: I was saying that I am fine from my side, that is why I am quiet.

Chairperson: Thank you.

Dr Lotriet: Chairperson, it is Hon Lotriet.

Chairperson: Thank you.

Dr Lotriet: I would also just from our side thank all the staff members, the legal staff, the administrative staff – all the support staff. I think they have done exceptionally well, kept us up to date and thank you very much for the dedication and commitment. Thank you.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Lotriet. Any other Member? Hon Dlakude?

Ms Dlakude: Thank you very much, Hon Chairperson. Good afternoon colleagues. Let me take this opportunity, Hon Chair, to thank you for leading us, for being a good leader and chairperson of this committee. You tried your best to steer it to the right direction, even though sometimes it seems like other people wanted the train to the derail, but you kept it on track on track. Thank you very much, Hon Chair. And to our colleagues, for your best behaviour, thank you very much. And the support staff of this Committee, we appreciate the good work that you have been doing. We thank you very much, even though you've been working under difficult circumstances, but we really appreciate your good work. I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Please do not do something that I would enjoy. Thanks, Hon Chair… Anything I would not do, please do not do. Thanks.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Dlakude. Your comments are welcome. Did I leave anybody out, before we close?

Ms Tshablala: Besides to say, long live the Chair. Thank you, Chairperson.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Tshabalala. Thank you Members, to all of you. We are taking a break and we hope to come back re-energised and finish off our work, so that we do not proceed or extend beyond the time that we emphasised earlier. Please go and re-energise and come back recharged for us to conclude this very important task. Thank you very much. We will see you in this space in 2023, in terms of this Inquiry. Thank you to all of you… members of the public who followed us from day one and every day took a particular interest and very keen interest. Your participation would have broken all records of attendance and interaction with Committees of Parliament; that is how serious you take this matter as members of public. Members of the media, our support team, the Evidence Leaders and the entire support staff in all your various roles. We are not there yet, so keep your focus as we start in January. Thank you, Hon Members. The meeting is adjourned.


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