PP Inquiry day 50: Nchaupe Peter Seabi
Committee on Section 194 Enquiry
01 February 2023
Chairperson: Mr Q Dyantyi (ANC)
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 Committee for Section 194 Inquiry into Public Protector (PP) Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office reaffirmed its decision to summon the former PP, Adv Thuli Madonsela, to appear before it. The Committee's reaffirmation of its decision followed a recent letter sent by Adv Madonsela, where she declined the request for her to appear before the Committee as a Witness.
The Committee Chairperson indicated that in the previous week the Committee agreed that Adv Madonsela could add value to the process as she had directly handled some of the investigations that have been placed before the Committee. Moreover, the Committee’s decision rested on a request made by Adv Mkhwebane, who had approached Adv Madonsela in November last year, for her to assist the Committee with its work.
In the previous week, Adv Mkhwebane’s legal team was yet to receive a response from Adv Madonsela. However, later in the week, Adv Madonsela responded. In her letter to the Committee, Adv Madonsela mentioned that much of the information sought by the Committee is in the hands of Public Protector South Africa (PPSA), and having left the institution more than six years ago, she was not well-suited to respond to many of the questions the Committee may have.
Thereafter, the Committee heard evidence from Mr Nchaupe Peter Seabi, a member of the public, who resides in Polokwane who testified about his assault in 2011 by PPSA staff member, Mr Sphelo Samuel. In his testimony before the Committee, Mr Samuel had said that he had been found guilty of assault but that he had lodged an appeal, which was not yet finalised.
Mr Seabi stated that when seeking assistance from PPSA in 2011 about the non-payment of his mother’s Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA), he was assaulted by Mr Samuel in his office. During the incident, Mr Samuel was said to have pushed Mr Seabi off the chair he was sitting on, during one of his visits to his office. After falling off the chair and hitting a structure nearby, Mr Samuel threatened to throw Mr Seabi from his balcony. Following the assault, Mr Seabi suffered an injury to his right shoulder, which still continues to afflict him 11 years later. During his quest to seek justice for the assault, he encountered Adv Madonsela, who he said did not assist him. However, he was pleased by the treatment and assistance received from Adv Mkhwebane, who had responded to his letters about the assault, and who thereafter formally dismissed Mr Samuel from his duties.
In defence of the suspended PP, Mr Seabi alleged that the current Acting Public Protector, Adv Kholeka Gcaleka, who has since reinstated Mr Samuel to his former position, is working with others to ensure that Adv Mkhwebane does not return to her position. He added that Adv Mkhwebane is a stumbling block for both Adv Gcaleka and Mr Samuel, in their agendas to keep their current positions.
While Members deeply sympathised with Mr Seabi’s testimony, some of them questioned its relevance to the charges being considered against Adv Mkhwebane. In response, the head of her legal defence team, Adv Dalindyebo Mpofu, SC, felt that Members who questioned the relevance of Mr Seabi’s testimony should just be ashamed of themselves. Nevertheless, the Chairperson indicated that the Committee would consider Mr Seabi’s evidence during its deliberations. He assured Mr Seabi that during Adv Madonsela’s testimony, the Committee would pose all the questions he asked, such as why she did not offer him assistance when he required it.
The Chairperson stated that the Committee would not be sitting the following week and would resume from 20 February.
[Draft PMG report]
The Chairperson: We are starting this meeting as a Committee meeting between now and 11:00 the latest. Hopefully it will be done before that. The Inquiry resumes at 11. What we felt we will be doing before we start the Inquiry with the next witness is that we would utilise the time so that we do not have an hour of not doing anything, we would utilise this time to attend to a matter or two that would have convened a separate meeting for…. so this does help us. There are two issues that we want to put to the attention of the Members. If you remember when we met on the 24th of January, in discussing the summons and the issuing of subpoenas, it was a Committee decision that we would have declined the request for subpoenas of Honourable (Hon) Pravin Gordhan, the acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka, the Hon Member Mazzone, and would have confirmed that there is no new case or new facts to request the President to be subpoenaed. We would have acceded in terms of that request and that list about two names that as a committee we agreed that it might be of value to have those witnesses come in front of the Committee and that would have been Bianca Mvuyana, currently in the PPSA’s (Public Protector South Africa) Office, as well as Professor Thuli Madonsela. At the time when we concluded that meeting, the legal advice team would have shared with us the fact that the correspondence between the Public protector legal team and Thuli Madonsela that what was lacking was a response of advocate Madonsela at that time. And the Committee in its wisdom felt that we would need to have Professor Madonsela come and share and that she might add value in relation to two areas, the Vrede Dairy and the CIEX matter – that would have been the emphasis, regardless of even that response. What we had received immediately thereafter after that Committee meeting would have been a correspondence that was sent to the Public Protector by Professor Madonsela, in which we were copied. That would have been sent to you. And in that correspondence, Professor Madonsela, and I will ask Ms Ebrahim to take us through that, would have indicated her own concerns and what she thought would have been relevant or not relevant. And so it does make sense that having taken our own decision, we will reflect on the latest correspondence she has sent, in order to confirm our position either way, as the Committee. That is really the main purpose for us to convene, so that we make that confirmation. I can also confirm that on your behalf, having decided that Mvuyana be subpoenaed – that has been actioned already. And then that is the main issue. The second issue, which will be very brief, which I will ask the legal advisor to share, we would have received complaints from the Public Protector about issues of non-payment between them, and PPSA. And in that regard, we are just trying to assist how that can be solved, so that nothing gets in the way of this Inquiry. I must say upfront, colleagues, that having done with Witness Sakoni and today attending to Witness Seabi, but at the end of the day, in our list we have of those confirmed witnesses, about five of them. And I am hoping that at the end between Ms Ebrahim and Mr Ngoma, that the actual scheduling of that happens because once that is done it helps all of us in our planning. We now know who we have as remaining witnesses. Let me pause there and ask Ms Ebrahim to take us through the correspondence in relation to Prof Madonsela and I will invite you for your own interventions and comments. Thank you, Ms Ebrahim?
Ms Fatima Ebrahim (Parliamentary Legal Advisor): Thank you, Chair. Good morning to yourself and to the Members. Chair, let me start with the easier of the two matters, the first being the one in relation to the complaint received yesterday from the Public Protector and it was written by herself indicating that her legal team had not been paid for services rendered to her during the Inquiry. It so happened that last week, I think in May, the Committee was copied into correspondence from the PPSA CEO (Chief Executive Officer) to Seanego attorneys, where they indicate that they are still conducting a process to verify those invoices. It would appear that the bulk of the invoices were submitted in December, and that there is also another batch that has not been paid. Of course, invoices should be paid within 30 days, so that was concerning. But our advice was that the Committee and the Chair could not get involved in the procurement or the payment of service providers. There is no legal mandate for that. But in terms of the fact that this issue will definitely impact on the Committee if the Public Protector does not have her legal team. We thought it fit that we at least alert the CEO and that we ask for an update as to what is causing the delay and what is the precise nature of this verification process that they have undertaken. So we have asked that they please respond by Monday. Tshepo will send out the letter from the CEO that the Chair was copied into as well as the letter that we received from the PP yesterday. Then, Chair, moving on to the second matter in respect of the subpoenaing of witnesses. The Committee, as the Chair has pointed out, resolved that we would call Prof Madonsela, Mr Rodney Matebogo, and Ms Bianca Mvuyana. Mr Mataboge was a request from the Committee that was not a request that came from the Public Protector. In fact, he had appeared on the Public Protector’s confirmed witness list. I have then made contact with both of them at the Chair’s request. Mr Mataboge indicated that if the Committee so requires, he will lend his assistance to the Committee. We are in the process of making those arrangements, while Mvuyana indicated that she would have to be summoned if she's going to appear. And as Chair has indicated, the letter has just been signed that will be dispatched to the secretary in order to issue that summons. At the time when we met last week, Members will recall that the written application from the PP indicated that they had not received a response from the former Public Protector. That response was then received late that afternoon, if I recall after 5pm, while after the Committee had already made its decision, and certainly it was very late, Chair. The Public Protector had made her request to the Former PP in November. And so a few months had passed, until we received that response in which we were copied. Chair, I am not going to read the entire letter because Members have been provided with a copy. But I will just stick to the salient parts. Because what the former PP has done is that she repeats what the request is to her. And what the current PP has asked is that the former PP appear before the Committee to give evidence on various matters, and I took the Committee through it last week but these included the vetting of staff members, at the PPSA donor funding to augment the budgetary constraints at the PPSA, the outsourcing of investigations to various law firms, consequence management at the PPSA during the tenure of Adv Madonsela, the impact that the Nkandla Judgement had on litigation costs,and you will recall, the reason for that would be that is that the Nkandla judgement was the judgement that definitively said that the Public Protector’s remedial action is binding, reasons for not completing certain key investigations including CIEX and Vrede, human resource management issues to do with the management of poor performance, the impact of inadequate resource allocation on what may seem to be incompetence in the office and then her previous public utterances regarding inter alia the allegations that Adv Mkhwebane had revealed confidential information in respect of the 7(9) notices issued to Minister Gordhan, and then lastly, the role of the executive authority. In other words, the role of the Public Protector within the PPSA. They had indicated that the list was not exhaustive and asked Prof Madonsela to please avail yourself voluntarily to assist the Committee. She then responded to say that she would be unable to assist and these are the reasons that she gave: “a, I do not see the rational connection of the majority of the above questions and the Section 194 Inquiry, which seems from judgments by court up to the Constitutional Court, regarding Adv Mkhwebane’s integrity flowing from court decisions about her honesty and professional competence flowing from court decisions regarding her comprehension of the PP’s constitutional mandate; b, the information you seek is with the Public Protector as an institution, having left the institution more than six years ago it is the institution that is best suited to respond to questions regarding its relationship with organs of state, in line with its constitutional position as an independent constitutional institution that is set up to hold other organs of state accountable, including the State Security Agency; c, I would have been in a position to help a week after leaving office if effotrs to work with applicable Public Protector team members to finalise a quality assured set of records in the week after leaving office on 14 October 2016, were not rebuffed by Adv Mkhwebane, who flatly forbade any contact between myself and the teams I would worked with when I requested her permission to do so. And with matters still fresh in my head, Adv Mkhwebane would have had an opportunity to ask me institutional management questions, not in mine or staff reports, had she not suddenly refused to meet me in the week following my leaving office, despite the two of us having agreed during our handover meeting at my office on 14th October 2016, that we would continue our meeting and briefing the following week. The following week, she suddenly insisted that as I was no longer in office, such was inappropriate to meet to augment my briefing with her and that I should have done this earlier. This was despite it being in the public domain that I have been ambushed by the then President with legal action on the State Capture matter, which impacted my plans for a neat handover. Email correspondence to this effect should be available. In my case, I have been able to meet with both my immediate predecessors Adv Mushwana and Baqwa soon after assuming office, to fill in gaps where there were some.” She then said “I recommend that you find the administrative information about staffing, vetting and institutional relations from the Public Protector records, and staff members such as Neels van der Merwe, and Pona Mogaldi who had been based since the establishment of the Public Protector as an independent constitutional institution, under Adv Baqwain 1995. Former CEO’s may also be helpful. Regarding investigation related information, I suggest you rely on observations and findings that have been made by courts in cases such as the SARB (South African Reserve Bank) case. This has included determinations of the Constitutional Court, which is the apex court whose decision is final. In this regard, it must be borne in mind that nothing I or anyone can say can override court decisions, and an attempt to do so would have the same results as when Parliament tried to review the findings of the Public Protector Nkandla matter reported under the title ‘secure in comfort’. You will recall that in Economic Freedom Fighters versus speak of the National Assembly and Democratic Alliance versus speaker of the National Assembly, The Constitutional Court found that the National Assembly second guessing of the findings of the Public Protector, or stepping into the shoes of the Public Protector, and replacing her findings with its own was a violation of the rule of law” that can be found in paragraph 98 of a judgement. “Regarding preparing my statement in the event that I am subpoenaed, I would require an independent legal service provider procured by the Public Protector as an institution and to work with that institution to find relevant records and prepare any statement that is rationally connected to and accordingly relevant to this matter. This will require that the Public Protector pays for my transporter Pretoria and that time is allowed to find the relevant records.” Chair, I must first mention that it appears to be in accordance with what the Evidence Leaders have told us. Indeed, the evidence leaders made an attempt to meet with Adv Madonsela, I think they may have had two meetings with her and possibly one virtual meeting, but I stand to be corrected on that and they too were told that Adv Madonsela did not take did not take any records with her when she left the office. She did not have her email correspondence with her, and that she did not remember much of the detail of what had passed because of the time. She had pointed out there were certain persons within their office that they could seek the relevant information from. She had indicated that there were certain records that they could try and secure to assist them in their role. And in fact, they then proceeded to do that, as I understand that many of those records that she referred to could not be found. So the Evidence Leaders are fairly confident that everything that they eat on these particular matters related to the motion have been sourced by themselves and form part of the record and is available. And they did indicate that they didn't pursue the matter further because it was the understanding that they their role was limited to the motion and what was before the Committee was the actions and the conduct of the current Public Protector, the incumbent Public Protector and it was not their job to assist the Committee with a comparative exercise. Chair, I am not going to go through the legal framework that I discussed last week. It remains the same. Just to remind Members that the directives provide that only evidence relevant to determining the veracity of the grounds of incompetence or misconduct set out in the motion should be put before the Committee and evidence not so relevant, that may be placed before the Committee will be disregarded. So the Committee must use its constitutional powers to summons a person to provide information that would be necessary for determination of the veracity of the charges in the motion. I have explained it is an extraordinary step to summon someone and where less restrictive means can be used to get evidence that should always be the preference. In addition chair last week, I noted that the Committee must consider that its role is not to conduct oversight over any third persons with a matter that is specifically related to the current PP. And that is not to say that the actions of any other first person may not be subjected to oversight or should not have been subjected to oversight at an earlier time. But rather it is important that the Committee, however, decides on the way forward and ensures that it is focused on the evidence that it receives and the manner in which it is going to manage that evidence. Chair, the lines are however, are not black and white because certainly things that the predecessor may have done would impact an incumbent. So that is something that the Committee would have to manage, closely. Chair, in determining the parameters just to remind the Committee that the motion refers specifically to the former PP in relation to the CIEX and Vrede matters and the allegations there being that there was a broadening or narrowing of the scope of investigations, and that preliminary reports may have changed. The PP of course indicated far more areas in her correspondence to the former PP and in the application to this Committee, which I have taken you through that list. The Committee must also consider if it is going to proceed with this issue that Prof Madonsela raises about resources. She certainly cannot make that a condition on the current PP, to provide her with the resources that she seeks. It is the Committee that will summons her not the current PP and therefore she should not be involved in that request at all. And it should not be subject to that request. In that regard, Chair, the Powers Act only provides and is limited to support for the financial costs of travelling to Parliament where a witness has been subpoenaed or a witness voluntarily agrees to appear before us. So there is no right to legal support or legal representation in any way at all. That would be the role of the Committee merely to facilitate the former Public Protector’s attendance in Cape Town and to cover that cost. Chair, what the Committee could do is to provide all the records that it does have available to it. They have all been uploaded in an electronic format and some assistance could at least be given to narrow down those documents into specific areas that the Committee seeks the testimony of the former PP on. Chair, that is the advice in a nutshell. Once the Committee indicates what the way forward is, we will then formulate a summons as necessary, if that remains the view of the Committee but no steps have been taken in that regard and no contact has been made with Adv Madonsela following this later. Thank you.
The Chairperson: Okay. Thank you for that comprehensive representation on this matter being the second bite for the Committee. Before I invite you Members, just to indicate to you that just to remind you, you have taken a decision, as a Committee. Immediately thereafter there would have been new information or further information provided. I felt therefore as a Chair, that to continue with our approach of being rational and fair, that it was proper that we have this presentation. So as I invite you, the issues in front of you are from what has been presented in the letter by Professor Thuli Madonsela, are the critical issues that should make us rethink the Committee decision otherwise? But also, if we are of the view that we stick to our decision of requesting her to come, are we able to say these are the areas of focus that we would like when you come, to focus on, so that it is not over the place. I would want you to, as you make your contributions, to assist in terms of the way forward because this is your decision. This is a response to your decision as a Committee and therefore we are just in terms of fairness, and driving a rational process, we do not want to be seen as not attending to any facts put in front of us. Thank you. Let me now invite Members to contribute. I will start with Hon Nqola, followed by Hon Mileham. Any other hands that want to come and make a contribution. Hon Herron, Maneli. We have the four hands. No further hands? Let me take these four hands. Hon Nqola, over to you.
Mr X Nqola (ANC): Thank you very much, Chairperson. I think, Chair, let us start with the first part of the non-payment of the Public Protector. I think, Chair, it is an unfortunate situation that must not happen. And I think we must appreciate that the team actually, the Public Protector came to us and levelled, formally, a complaint because it would have been bad if they just did not come on the basis that Parliament did not pay them what is due to them. So, I think that Ms Fathima Ebrahim is further briefing the Committee on what steps they have taken in responding to the complaint. So I think let us allow that to take its course and formally apologise to the team and the Public Protector on behalf of Parliament and say we are actually making a follow up to that matter. I think that Parliament's legal team is equally making it the point that we are reminded that the issues of procurement and other things have nothing to do with this Committee. But of course, because this matter affects the day to day operations of this Committee, so we are attending to the complaint. Otherwise, we appreciate that, Chair. Chair, on the second thing, which relates to the subpoena of Witnesses. I think, Chair, to a certain extent what is raised by the former PP does make sense, was part of what we draw from the correspondences that she is not saying she does not want to come and testify to assist the Committee. But I think she is raising issues that may be a handicap in terms of what form of information she is submitting to the Committee. So I saw from the letter that was uploaded that there are a lot of things, donors, what what, law firms what what, and all those things. But I think that from what we have read from the independent panel report and the motion, the key issues that are raised is Adv Mkhwebane inheriting the CIEX report. What has transpired after the investigation that went from one Public Protector to the other. The issue of the report these reports are particularly tabled in detail in the misconduct charge, that there is an allegation of Adv Mkhwebane having misconducted herself in her performance of her duties in respect of the Vrede Dairy farm report, the same report that was inherited from Adv Thuli Madonsela. There are even further allegations that there was information that was altered from the other report to the other report, from the other Public Protector to the other Public Protector. So, we as this Committee, need to connect those dots, so that we are able to be held as this Committee, to specifically arrive into a decision that is actually fair and just because these are serious issues that have been levelled. I think you had, at some point, that you had a provisional report that was altered by the other Public Protector – those are the accusations that were publicly testified here in this Committee. So, I think, Chair, specifically those two issues relating to the report on CIEX, the report on Vrede Dairy Farm, because we have got a long serving staff in the PP that which has been there during the time of Adv Thuli Madonsela and some were there during the time of Adv Busisiwe Mkwhebane and some are still there even now. Some were there even before Adv Thuli Madonsela. So I think let us add that as a three specific thematic area which we expect Adv Thuli Madonsela to assist this Committee with. The issues, Chair, relating to how she is going to be assisting getting that information, I do not think it is something we can even come to discuss, whether PPSA is able to assist in respect of this, they must do so. So I think, Chair, that's my contribution. Thank you very much.
The Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Nqola. Hon Mileham?
Mr K Mileham (DA): Thank you, Chairperson. Chairperson, could I just get clarity on three issues please. The first relates to the legal representation of Adv Madonsela. And the question I asked is this, is she entitled to legal representation? Does she require legal representation? And what would be the purpose of legal representation in a committee of this nature? The second question relates to the scope of the witness or the scope of the evidence that the witness is going to present. And I take your point about whether or not we should be limited in terms of specific items, I tend to agree that we need to focus in on exactly what will be required. Otherwise, we are going to be here for a very, very extended period. And here is my question to you, Chair, can we limit the time that is allocated for specific elements of the Inquiry? My third question, I am not sure if I understood Ms Ebrahim correctly, that because the subpoena comes from the Committee Adv Madonsela will then be a Committee witness rather than a witness of Ad Mkhwebane. If that's the case, will the evidence be led by the Evidence Leaders? Or will it be led by Adv Mpofu? So I just like some clarity as to what process we are going to follow with the subpoenaed witnesses. Thank you, Chair.
The Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Mileham. I am tempted to ask you to clarify, but let me just proceed to other Members and then we will come back. Hon Herron?
Mr B Herrron (GOOD): Thank you, Chairperson. Chair, I was not at the meeting on the 24th of January…
The Chairperson: Hon Herron, just reposition yourself so we can hear you properly.
Mr Herron: Are you able to hear me now, Chair?
The Chairperson: That is much better. Please continue.
Mr Herron: I will try and speak loudly. Chair. I was not able to attend the meeting on the 24th of January when the decision was made as to who to subpoena and who not to. And I think we must make this decision in terms of the charges and the motion. And the reason I asked about Adv Cilliers, who I see that the Committee decided not to subpoena, was because there is some conflict in the evidence around whether Adv Cilliers was instructed to extend the scope of the investigation by Adv Madonsela. Charge 2 relating to the Vrede Dairy matter includes charges that Adv Mkhwebane narrowed the scope of the investigation and failed to… and also amended the report that Adv Madonsela had one of the draft reports that Adv Madonsela had prepared or was prepared under her instruction. Now there are two witnesses who can give evidence as to whether the investigation was narrowed. And that either Adv Cilliers or Adv Madonsela as I say, I do not understand why we did not decide to call Adv Cilliers, despite her unwillingness to testify, as we were informed previously, because she had direct involvement in the investigation of the Vrede dairy matter. But if she was instructed to include politicians, maybe the widening of the scope of the investigation, and her evidence, or her investigation didn't actually lead her there, then we need that evidence, either from Adv Cilliers or Adv Madonsela. So my point is that charge two requires some direct evidence on whether the scope was narrowed or not, by Adv Mkhwebane, and there are only two people who can give that evidence directly and that is either Adv Cilliers or Adv Madonsela. If we decide not to call Adv Madonsela, I would like us to reopen the discussion around Adv Cilliers. Thank you.
The Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Herron. Hon Maneli?
Mr B Maneli (ANC): Thank you, Chair. Greetings to Hon Members. Chair, I think I am covered in the main by Hon Nqola, but just to confirm that on the 24th meeting, we would have looked at the letter that was sent and read the concerns especially where you would have open-ended matters that there could be any other, so it is not limited to you getting a negative response because you would not know what to prepare. But as I said, with those matters now specified by Hon Nqola that should actually be the focus. And I agree that on the legal side, in terms of representation, it's the matter we may need to get further advice from. Chair, that will be my submission, in the sense that whilst generally you would have looked to witnesses that come before the Committee of which one of them will be the Public Protector, herself who got legal representation, you may need to get legal advice in the sense that Prof Madonsela comes as former Public Protector again, so this Public Protector links to that, whether it did start is something to consider or not, but I will still say she is the relevant person to come before the Committee. Thank you, Chair.
Th Chairperson: Okay. Thank you, Hon Maneli. Just before I summarise, Ms Ebrahim, there were quite specific issues that were raised – please respond to them.
Ms Ebrahim: Thank you, Chair. The questions are only from Hon Mileham but I think some of the other Members may have touched on some of those issues also. The first question, whether Adv Madonsela is entitled to legal representation? The answer would be no, she is not entitled to legal representation in this Committee. But I do not think that is what she is asking. She's asking for legal assistance to help her in order to prepare to appear before the committee. So in other words, to collate the documentation I suspect to assist her in compiling her statement and so on. The second one on the scope of evidence, Chair, that will be for you to speak to on how you intend to limit the time on the issues if she does appear. And then on the last one on who will be evidence be led by because I refer to as a Committee witness. I refer to her as a Committee witness in relation to the issue of the cost of the legal assistance that Adv Madonsela cannot put the current PP under terms to say that if I'm subpoenaed, you would need to arrange for me to have legal assistance and to pay for my trip to Pretoria to the office. So in that sense, I was saying that if a Committee makes this decision, it's for the Committee to decide what type of assistance we are going to lend to her, whether we are going to lend some internal capacity from our team – I said that we would certainly share all the records that we have and so on. In terms of leading her, that would be for the PP’s team to do because she appears on a witness list, and Chair that would be the same for Mr Matebogo as well as Ms Bianca Mvuyana, both of who appeared on the PP’s witness list. So it is not for the evidence leaders to now approach them and come with a statement and so on. Certainly, the Evidence Leaders in terms of the directives can ask questions as can the Members, but I think that it should be led by Adv Mpofu. I think that is it, Chair. And then on the issue of HonHerron on Ms Cilliers, if the Committee is of the view that it wants to reopen that discussion, that certainly we can take instructions in that regard. Thank you.
The Chairperson: Okay. Thank you, Ms Ebrhaim. You have just perhaps, by way of summarising, what I am hearing from you Members that having received this correspondence from Prof Madonsela, I think the general take of the Members, and I do not seem to get any contrasting view on it, is that as a Committee, we want to reaffirm our decision to have Prof Madonsela come to the Committee. Having listened to the issues, Members are narrowing down the areas of her testimony into about two or three areas that have been properly ventilated here. The issue of assistance is what needs to be attended to. And a few examples, I think Ms Ebrahim is giving in to allow her to be in a position to interact with this Committee quite productively and in the manner that we would expect that I think can be looked into and be attended to. And so this is reaffirmation of our decision. And beyond this, we will start with the processes of… because she is under the realm of subpoenas, we will start that process. Having looked, and we are attending to the issues raised in that correspondence, including the narrowing of the focus for this, which I think the Committee is happy about, that if there is a decision that we take attends to Hon Herrons concern, because at least, Mr Herron, we now have between Adv Cilliers and Prof Madonsela, that we are bringing Prof Madonsela to come. I will not repeat our discussion on Mr Cilliers when we met on the 24th, it became, in our view, a fruitless exercise to just bring him. So, it helps us that we would have Prof Madonsela coming to the Committee, with those issues being attended to. I think My Ebrahim has clarified Hon Mileham's issues, so by the end of today you have five witnesses remaining. It means four of those, you have not mentioned Mr Malunga because he would not have been on their list, therefore he would be our witness. Can you just clarify that?
Ms Ebrahim: Yes, Chair, I have completely forgotten about him. He has indicated that he would voluntarily attend, so there is no summonsing process that we are proceeding with here.
The Chairperson: And he is a Committee Witness, or the PP’s? Was he on the list?
Ms Ebrahm: So, Chair, he is unique in that he is a Committee Witness. He was not on the list
The Chairperson: So we expect the Evidence Leaders to work with him?
Ms Ebrahim: That is correct.
The Chairperson: Okay. Is that clear, colleagues? So I am just looking at the five remaining this… We are in the hands of the PP in relation to the four, that they will lead, as they have been doing and that the Evidence leaders are tasked with that. Remember last week we decided that we think the former deputy Public Protector, Mr. Kevin Malunga would add a little value to our work. And that would not have been part of the request of the PP. So I am mentioning it in that context. And then, Mr Mileham, on the issue of the Chair, giving time to the scope, I think once we have everything and the statements, we will be able to, because the directives empower the Chair, to do those kind of things. So I would be in a position to do that when we have every fact and detail in front of us, especially when the need arises. Those that are subpoenaed my understanding, Ms Ebrahim… do you have statements for them or you don't have affidavits for them? They're being subpoenaed. just clarify that?
Ms Ebrahim: Yes, Chair, that is correct, I have made it clear to all of those witnesses, however, that should they wish to submit an affidavit they may do so.
The Chairperson: Okay. Alright. So that is it Members. Just a comment on Hon Nqola, on the issue of non-payment. At this stage we will hold back on the apology, because what we are doing with the PPSA is to ask them to clarify. We have no conclusive way to say this. So we will hold back on that at this stage until we get a response. Otherwise, everything else that you put on the table is shared. Before I wrap up this item because I can see the team is already outside. I am going to invite Ms Sukers.
Ms M Sukers (ACDP): Chair, I just wanted to follow on what Hon Mileham said, and it goes back to what I raised previously, with these witnesses such as Adv Madonsela coming, the question that I have, is it forbidden to prefer us to provide legal representation when witnesses require that and then second, the protection of witnesses are very important, and especially given the circumstances and the range of issues that has been highlighted that the previous Public Protector needs to speak on, although I have heard Chair is going to limit or set the scope for for the questioning, should legal representation not be considered to protect witnesses, or to ensure the protection of witnesses?
The Chairperson: Okay, thank you. Any response there, Ms Ebrahim?
Ms Ebrahim: Chair, I do not think that the issue of legal representation within the committee arises in respect of witnesses, because they are not the subject matter of the Inquiry. And there can be no decisions by the Committee that would adversely affect those persons, different from say, for example, the State Capture Commission, where witnesses that presented evidence, they may then find themselves subject to criminal charges and so on later on. In terms of the assistance flow. Chair, that is certainly something that the Committee can consider. It will be no different than when we have the start of a new Parliament where we ask erstwhile people in various positions, to come to Committees and give some advice or their experiences and so, in fact Parliament often invites people back so it would be the same.
The Chairperson: Thank you. I hope that clarifies Hon Sukers. With that, Hon Members, we are just on time to get into our next session. So that little session of the Committee concludes at this point. So thank you very much. I see Hon Siwela you have your hand up?
Ms V Siwela (ANC): Yes, Chair, my hand was up but I am clarified by my colleagues. My concern was the issue of yesterday. I think Adv Madonsela is irrelevant to come and assist us but we do not want to see other people from other countries because I did not see…
The Chairperson: Thank you Hon Siwela, we are not there. Thank you Members. I think we can ask the team to come in. Maybe as we do that… Yeah, we can start with the Inquiry.
The meeting adjourned for 20 minutes.
The Chairperson: Switch on your camera.
Ms Linkie Kganyago (Sepedi Translator): Yes, I have.
The Chairperson: Good morning, can you hear me?
Ms Kganyago: Yes, I can clearly hear you.
The Chairperson: You are very loud and clear. Thank you very much. We are good to go. We are in your hands. So we will start just now. We are in a minute or two… 25 past, I want to start at that time.
Ms Kganyago: Okay.
The Chairperson: Just keep it like that. It is a very good position. Thank you very much. Maybe with that, let me welcome members in the meeting Honourable Members here at M46 and on the virtual platform to welcome the Public Protector and legal team, Adv Mpofu both welcome our Evidence Leaders, advocates Mayosi and Bawa, members of the media with us, the entire support staff and members of the public. It is now exactly 11:05. We are now starting our Inquiry with a new witness which will be introduced shortly. So I want to welcome all of you and thank you my Kganyago for in this short notice, availing yourself to be of service to the inquiry. Ms Kganyago is going to be our interpreter when we are interacting with the Witness. On that point, I will immediately go straight and ask Ms Fathima Ebrahim to do the preliminaries when introducing the witness. And I guess that is where the interpretation will start. Over to you, Ms Ebrahim.
Mr Seabi was duly sworn in by Ms Ebrahim.
The Chairperson: Thank you, Ms Ebrahim and Mr Seabi, with the assistance of Ms Kganyago. We now are ready to start the actual interaction with the witness. And at this point I am going to invite Adv Mpofu to interact with the witness. You can keep your mic on, yours stays on. Thank you. Over to you, Adv Mpofu.
Adv Dali Mpofu: Thank you very much, Chair. Chair, I think there is going to be a few challenges with the interpretation but I think let us see how we can get it right; not with the interpreter but just with the set up because I think it is the first time we are doing it like this. Even myself, it is the first time I have the interpreter being in a different room to the person who is speaking but I think we will try and survive. Maybe, Chair, before I start with the Witness, I just want to indicate I am not sure about the duration… I think we will have a better sense around lunch time because als the interpretation adds to the time, so it is not as easy to estimate as the previous times but also I hope I will be to indicate – already I am busy trying to change my travelling arrangements because I think it has occurred to us after this that some of the documents that were supplied this morning by our learned friends kind of put a new dimension to things. We have now been given something called a notice of reinstatement which has been loaded up. I do not know if the Members have seen that. I do not know what time it is loaded but it was loaded this morning. So hopefully the Members have seen it. But basically, just to indicate, Chair, this is some, I do not know whether to call it an attempt or a but… an effort to reinstate Mr Samuel’s so-called appeal. You will remember, when he testified there was a debate about the appeal, which he claimed suspended his sentence, which is just legal nonsense. But it looks like eventually he has done something about it in December. That is after we submitted Mr Seabi’s name as a witness. So it may or may not be a coincidence, but I doubt that it is and the reason why that is important will become clear. Okay, well, I think Ms Mayosi has the wrong information. My team tells me that the document was sent this morning, as I said, and not yesterday afternoon. But it does not matter. The point is it has given us a new dimension, so we had to consult on it. In fact, we would have wanted more time – we have not had time to canvas this with the Witness properly because it does not matter whose fault it is, we only received it this morning in the middle of our consultation. But what I had said to the Witness is that we will just use the breaks, like at lunch time, maybe we will deal with this so that we do not waste the time of the Committee. But, Chair, it looks like there is more to this than meets the eye. And it might well be that this is the most important witness in this whole Inquiry because I think we will be able to link the so-called charges to the incident that he's going to describe here and what we suspect was there was a collusion between Mr Samuel and Ms Mazzone to to cook up this so-called charge sheet. But all will be revealed. Good morning, Mr Seabi.
Mr Seabi: Good morning.
Adv Mpofu: How are you today?
Mr Seabi: All is well.
Adv Mpofu: Thank you. Alright. Mr Seabi, I think we just want to apologise to you for making you, at your age, to travel. I understand you only got to your hotel around midnight last night.
Mr Seabi: I am very much happy about this issue.
Adv Mpofu: Of being here? Yes… I just wanted to start with an apology, unlike the apology of Mr Nqola that was withdrawn by the Chair. Alright. You are 80 years old?
Mr Seabi: Yes, that is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: I want to look like you when I am 80.
Mr Seabi: If you take care of yourself.
Adv Mpofu: Thank you. And you live in Seshego, Polokwane in the Limpopo province, correct?
Mr Seabi: That is correct.
Adv Mpofu: Chair, I am going to ask leading questions until the point where we get to the real issues or if there is an objection. Alright. Then the statement that you made to this Committee was done in Polokwane with members of our legal team, also in the presence of your legal team, correct?
Mr Seabi: That is correct.
Adv Mpofu: And when we were consulting we picked up that some of the dates are not correctly captured but we will correct those as we go along. I am saying this because some of these dates were verified with your legal team when you appeared in court and so on but the other dates came from your own memory, correct?
Mr Seabi: I have already stated that I am 80 years old, and my mind is ageing also.
Adv Mpofu: Alright. But the most important thing I think will not be, as I say, if there are dates that we have to correct, we will correct but what you are definitely sure about is the sequence of events and sometimes the year or the month. But you can confirm that the events happened in the sequence that is stated in the statement and also that is going to be covered in your testimony correct?
Mr Seabi: I will try my level best to give you the correct information.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, thank you. And the gist of your evidence really is not so much about those technicalities, but it is about your experiences. And what has led to all the events that have led to you to be seated to where you are correct?
Mr Seabi: I am happy today that I will receive answers that I never got.
Adv Mpofu: Well, I would not hold my breath if I were you. But your story is linked to that, what you call, that quest or hunger to get answers. Chair, I am addressing the Witness but also the Chair to say that your story a sad story of how our people get treated by various agencies in our system and I just wanted to inform the Chair that while we listen to your specific story, I think we should also have an eye to that because it's a very heart wrenching account of what has happened to you in the past 12 years.
Mr Seabi: That's the case.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, Just to mention a few of those agencies randomly that you have had encounters with around about 2010. The first one would have been the Commissioner of Compensation of occupational injuries and diseases. That office correct?
Mr Seabi: Yes, those are the first people who really did not treat me well.
Adv Mpofu: Then from there your journey took you to the Office of the Public Protector in Limpopo, correct?
Mr Seabi: That is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: Then your journey took you to the Legal Aid board?
Mr Seabi: I went to the Public Protector’s Office, where I was assaulted. Then I turned to the Legal Aid office.
Adv Mpofu: Then legal aid managed to make an appointment for you with Mr Samuel, correct?
Mr Seabi: That is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: The person who assisted you to fix that appointment at Legal Aid is Mr Tsebe, the person mentioned at paragraph three of your statement, correct?
Mr Seabi: Yes, that is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. And the appointment date was the date you were allegedly, well not allegedly anymore, assaulted in the Offices of the Public Protector? We will get into the details, I am just mentioning the incidents now.
Mr Seabi: That is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: And then after the assault, that journey then took you to South African Police Services?
Mr Seabi: That is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. When you had problems with what followed then you had to go to the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority), on your own, in Pretoria to complain about the progress in your case, or the lack thereof, correct?
Mr Seabi: That is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: And then after months or years of that campaign you were sent back to the NPA in Limpopo, correct?
Mr Seabi: That is correct.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. After that you had an encounter with the criminal court in Limpopo?
Mr Seabi: That is correct.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. After Mr Samuel was found guilty and sentenced you then started a new journey around about 2018 of trying to get compensated, civil damages. So you now had a new encounter with the civil courts, where you were suing Mr Samuel and the Public Protector’s Office, correct?
Mr Seabi: That is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: And until today, only last week or rather the Office of the Public Protector raised all sorts of technicalities in respect of your compensation. And only last week did you get a judgement dismissing those technicalities? In other words, your civil case in reality is only going to start now. So that might be another number of years for you to get justice. Correct?
Mr Seabi: It is very painful but it is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. And when we had our discussion to prepare for this case I think you also to bring it more closer to the issues that are pertinent to this particular inquiry the two things that you observed one of them was that Adv Mkhwebane in that whole chain was the person who took up your cause by trying to do disciplinary processes against Mr Samuel and that obviously formed part of the reasons why Mr Samuel must have collaborated with the people who brought Adv Mkhwebane. Do you remember that discussion?
Mr Seabi: Yes, that is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: And more importantly, in those institutions you encountered to get here, one of the painful moments was the encounter you had with the former Public Protector, Adv Madonsela, correct?
Mr Seabi: This is very painful because the person who assaulted was working with her instead of protecting me he protected the official. That issue really hurt me a lot. That is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. She protected the official by doing something or by not doing something? How did she protect the official?
Mr Seabi: Instead of protecting an old man like myself, with her being a Public Protector, instead he protected the official and even rewarded him with a promotion of transferring that person to a better place.
Adv Mpofu: Alright. Okay, we will go back into those details when we give the blow by blow account of your journey as I say of 11 or 12 years but just to make one more of these general comments, is it also your testimony that throughout this you found that many people who had promised to help you there were many empty promises that were made by these officials that were mentioned here even by journalists and other people that were you tried to cry for help correct?
Mr Seabi: The Public Protector told me she would see me after she was done with the journalist but after that she simply ran away and never came back to me.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. Which Public Protector are you referring to?
Mr Seabi: The one who came before Adv Mkhwebane – I just forgot the name.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. The one that came before Adv Mkhwebane is Adv Madonsela.
Mr Seabi: That is right. That is the one.
Adv Mpofu: Alright. Okay, thank you very much. Now, thank you to the Chair and my colleagues for allowing me to paint that picture. Now let us try and get into the details. Again, for the sake of progress, and Ms Bawa and Ms Mayosi will stop me if I am getting into the contentious stuff, I will just read out some of the paragraphs to get them into the record. I need you to confirm, I will stop at certain points so that you can confirm, Mr Seabi. Now, you say that the incident regarding your being physically assaulted by Mr Samuel happened in 2011 when you visited the Public Protector Office in Polokwane to launch a complaint on behalf of your elderly mother, and you say you are 80 years old, that would mean that in 2011 you were almost 70. If my calculations are correct you were 69, correct?
Mr Seabi: Yes, that is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. Just briefly, the complaint you wanted to raise had to do with the fact that she had contracted asbestosis which we all know in South Africa, results from the history of asbestos roofs and that kind of thing. The most important issue is that by the time you were going to the Public Protector’s office you had issues because you had been frustrated by the people at the compensation offices, correct?
Mr Seabi: That is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. And the old lady had also worked at a mine and that is also where, as we know, that disease also comes from our history of unsafe mining working conditions. So you were trying to follow up issues of her compensation?
Mr Seabi: That is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: And you said you had been trying to get these people at the compensation offices but you had no luck because either were not taking your phone calls or just giving you the runaround. In other words, you wanted the Public Protector’s Office to assist you with this entire project of trying to get compensation?
Mr Seabi: That is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: And you went to the Public Protector because you could not afford to do this through lawyers as you would have if you had money you would not have been able to afford that. That's what the Office of the Public Protector is there for, isn't it?
Mr Seabi: That is the whole truth.
Adv Mpofu: At paragraph five before we get to the main issues, you say that “my file was first handled by Miss Matlou”, was that a person who worked at the Public Protector’s office in Polokwane?
Mr Seabi: That is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. Then you said “Months passed without hearing anything from the PPSA. I then visited the office on a number of times until my file was escalated to Mr Samuel who promised to assist me.” We will start the story there but first can you just confirm that part?
Mr Seabi: That is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: Can you maybe explain to the Chair or to the Committee how Mr Samuel made all these promises and what gave you hope that you are now going to get proper assistance?
Mr Seabi: Mr Samuel is a soft spoken person. Mr Samuel seems to be very understanding when you talk to him but he will do things that hurt you. He took my file from Ms Matlou, which she had for many months. I told him to maybe choose someone better who could deal with the issues in my file. Soft-Spoken as he is, Mr Samuel said he would not give the file to anyone else and would deal with it himself. He told me that I must look where he is going to place that file, which was below the counter, so that every time when he comes in he will see it and work on it. He also supplied me with his personal cell phone number. He then told me I must phone him straight and not go through the reception. I phoned Mr Samuel several times and I went to his office several times. When I arrived he would provide me with several stories like he was attending meetings and so on. I then realised that I was not dealing with the right person here.
The Chairperson: Just before… He emphatically said who he is dealing with, so mention that name. Mention it in English because that is what is being said.
Ms Kganyago: He (Mr Seabi) said that he (Mr Samuel) was a scoundrel.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, Thank you, Chair. Because the part that is being recorded, unfortunately in our country it is the English part and not the Sepedi part. So, you are saying Mr Seabi that here you are dealing with a Tsotsi (criminal/crook), correct?
Mr Seabi: That is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: Just to recap what you are saying. So he said to you ‘look, Seabi, I am putting this file here next to my desk so that I can see it everyday and on the floor’, and then every time you came, the file, he would put it back and then pick it up and give you what you call the stories, correct?
Mr Seabi: That is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: So this went on. You are coming in, he is making promises, what you call stories, and then you realise you are dealing with a Tsotsi here. And then what happened next?
Mr Seabi: That is the day I went to the Legal Aid Board to go and find some legal assistance because I realised that O would not get anything from that person. When I arrived there, I spoke to Mr Tsebe and he realised that I am from the Public Protector’s Office, which is a bigger one. He told me that he had to phone them that he is taking over the case, and the individual he phoned was Mr Samuel. Mr Samuel denied his request as he had been working on the case. They made an appointment together and said that I should return in November 2011, which I did. I went back to the Public Protector’s Office and waited in the waiting room. The person responsible for files knew me very well and he told me that he would tell Mr Samuel that I had arrived.
Adv Mpofu: Okay. Alright. Let us just pause there because this is one of the issues. I know it was not translated but you said 14 November or December and that is one of the dates that might cause confusion in the statement. You gave the date to us as 14 November but in the other documents it is referred to as 14 December, So, again, nothing really tends onto that. But you are sure that this was towards the end of 2011?
Mr Seabi: It was definitely November 2011. I am slightly confused about the date but it seems to me that it was the 14th.
Adv Mpofu: That is fine, Mr Seabi because as I say that difference or anything is not significant. Anyway, your evidence is that Mr Tsebe arranged for an appointment on that date, the 14th of November, let us use that date that is in the statement, and then on the date you went to Public Protector as arranged. Is that correct?
Mr Seabi: That is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: Okay. So, now you are sitting at the Office of the Public Protector with the appointment Mr Samuel has agreed to with Mr Tsebe. According to your statement a certain Ernest came to you. Can you take it from there? And I will let you tell your own story.
Mr Seabi: That is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, can you take it from there? What happened between you and Ernest?
Mr Seabi: Ernest said that Mr Seabi now that you have arrived let me go to Mr Samuel’s office to notify him because your file is not with us but him. Ernest left to Mr Samuel’s office but he went there for a long time and never returned. I sat there for a long time, I would say 45 minutes. Thereafter, I heard the female receptionist calling my name, and I confirmed that it was I. She told me that Mr Sameul said he could not see you and you have to do an appointment. I told her that I did make an appointment with him, so you cannot tell me that I did not. You did not have a diary so I said I would go to him to set an appointment. Afterwards I went straight to Mr Samuel’s office. When I entered the door, I saw him speaking over the phone.
Adv Mpofu: Sorry. Just so the story flows for the Members. Is it correct that where you were at reception was on the ground floor and when you say you went to Mr Samuel’s office it was on another floor I think the first floor?
Mr Seabi: It is true that the reception was on the ground floor while Mr Samuel’s office was on the first floor.
Adv Mpofu: Right. Before I interrupted you, you were saying that when you arrived he was on the phone. Can you take it from there?
Mr Seabi: Yes, Mr Samuel was on the phone. I entered the office, greeted him and sat down, waiting for him to complete the conversation over the phone. Then he ended his conversation on the phone. After that, Mr Samuel turned to me and asked me who told me to enter my office. He raised his phone and said ‘can you not see that I am busy. I do not have time to speak with you.’ I said to him, 'Mr Samuel, we made an appointment for me to see you today.’ He then told me to get out of his office. I then told him ‘I am not going anywhere until you tell me where the money for my mother is.’ Then I saw Mr Samuel for he is. He stood up from his chair very quickly and came around the table straight to me. When he came around I was slightly confused because I thought he would go outside the door to call the security. When he came close to my stool he then grabbed the armrest of the chair. From there he threw the chair, but I stood up very quickly. I was taken by surprise. I really cannot lie, I do not know what happened, whether he lifted me or pushed me, but I staggered towards the door, which was about maybe 4m and is a sliding door.
Adv Mpofu: Alright. I think there is a slight problem with the interpretation. Can I assist my learned friends? What you just said is that you cannot say whether he pushed you or threw you, you cannot say because it happened so fast. But all you know is that he bent you against a structure and you say that structure is…?
Mr Seabi: About four metres.
Adv Mpofu: It is about four metres, and in the middle of the structure there is a sliding door. Is that correct?
Mr Seabi: Yes.
Adv Mpofu: Right. Now that structure, I am assuming, is a partition or a wall or whatever it is. Alright. Just describe in your words how your body interacted with that structure, or where it hit you…whatever?
Mr Seabi: What I can tell you is that I do not know if he lifted me through magic. I hit the door with my left arm.
Adv Mpofu: No, shoulder. Chair, the problem as I say is that normally if the interpretation is in the room, for example when the Witness points she will know now there is a bit of a problem. At least there are other people here who understand the language. So when I make these corrections it is only at that level. Alright, Ma. Can you maybe just translate the last part – how he says he hit the structure?
Mr Seabi: I do not know whether he threw me towards it or pushed me but what I remember is that I hit the structure with my right shoulder.
Adv Mpofu: Right. And what happened to the structure?
Mr Seabi: The whole structure fell and there was a little blood there. Mr Samuel then picked me up with the intention of throwing me over the balcony. When I noticed that, God helped me. I grabbed him with my left hand and pulled him towards me, as the other was injured. And then we stood there. This is where we started pushing each other, and I told myself that if we are going to the balcony, we are going together. People in the office then came to separate the two of us. It was then I saw Ernest amongst the people who separated us, who I had last seen when he said he would speak to Mr Samuel. From there I went back to the car where I left my four year old grandchild and we went to the police station. At the police station they took a statement. Thereafter, they were ready to go and arrest Mr Samuel, who then arrived shortly afterwards to the station, having written a statement. There was an officer who attended to me and another to Mr Samuel. They called each other and went towards Mr Samuel. Afterwards they told us that we are adults and cannot fight one another, rather we should talk and forgive one another, and cancel the cases. Mr Samuel was ready to cancel the case as he had no problem. I disagreed with dropping the case. It was then that the police officers pressed me to drop the case otherwise they would arrest me. I told them it was fine. When they realised I was adamant in cancelling the case, they noted that Mr Samuel left. Having noted that I was with my child, they asked me what about the child? I told them that this is not an issue and I will phone his grandmother to pick up the child, which then happened. I then sat there and from there the police continued to pressurise me to cancel the case. When they realised that they were not winning, they released me at about 16:00 and said I should come back tomorrow. They told me that the court will be in session tomorrow. When I arrived at the court, names of people were called and after that I went straight to the persecutor to find out if my name was there. They then told me that my file was with the Chief Prosecutor. They showed me the office and when I arrived there, there were either two or three prosecutors who told me to sit down. Following that, they told me that Mr Samuel had the whole office as witnesses and we do not have any case we can take to court.
Adv Mpofu: Thank you. Sorry, just to interrupt, I think the part that was not translated was where they said Mr Samel has all these witnesses and you are alone. Please translate that.
Mr Seabi: They were trying to show me that I am alone and that Mr Samuel was supported by the whole office. Which meant that there was no case, as such they told me they would strike it off the role. I left there saddened. There was no office in Polokwane that I could go to, to gain justice. That compelled me to seek higher offices and I realised that they were in Pretoria. I was compelled to go to Pretoria. In Pretoria when they saw my documents, they said the case should be referred to the NPA. I then went to Silverton. When I arrived at Silverton they informed me that this was not their case and the people in Pretoria should have handled it but they assured me that they would take it back there. I am not sure what timeframe they gave me, but I think it was about fourteen days. Then they said if the Pretoria people did not communicate with me within those days, I could phone Silverton. The Pretoria individuals responded and referred me to one of the Chief Prosecutors, I think he was a white person. He was the one who reinstated the case, and it went to court for the first time. I was present at the court and Mr Samuel was not. As such they issued a warrant of arrest.
Adv Mpofu: Ms, are you tired?
Ms Kganyago: Very.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, I can see. Chair, I think we are going to have a double issue of tiredness.
Adv Mpofu: Alright. Can I just wrap up this part? I will see what I can do. I will try and speak to the Chair to give us a five minute break. But can I just wrap this up quickly so that we then start at the point of the warrant of arrest? Just two small facts, Chair, one is at paragraph 11, that date there we would like to make a correction. I just wanted Mr Seabi to first testify about it himself. When he says the following day he went to court and on the statement it says 15 November 2014 but that is obviously still 2011. So if you can just correct that. And just another small issue, I think just to put everything in perspective, Mr Seabi, you say that after the assault, you went down, and there was a four year old I think grandchild of yours who was in the car. Is that correct?
Mr Seabi: That is correct.
Adv Mpofu: And as I said before we take the break, just as I said, for perspective, that child who was four how old is she now, Sir?
Mr Seabi: The child is 16 years old and is in grade 11.
Adv Mpofu: Thank you. On that note, I think the Chair will give us…
The Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu. We are going to pause there for lunch, actually. I normally give you an hour's lunch. We will be back at 13:45.
The meeting adjourned for a short lunch break.
The Chairperson: Ms Kganyago, welcome back. Can you hear us?
Ms Kganyago: Yes, I am ready.
The Chairperson: Thank you. We now resume. The time now is 13:47. I am going to handover to Adv Mpofu. We Will resume now up until 15:30 to 16:00. So we will just assess that situation.
Adv Mpofu: Thank you so much, Chair. I am also trying to do some shortcuts here. Before lunch we were at the stage where you were saying that Mr Samuel failed to appear at the criminal court and a warrant for his arrest was issued. Can we take it from there?
Mr Seabi: That is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: Alright, again if my colleagues do not object I will just try to lead you through some of the historical stuff. If we cut…. You say that you were allocated a court date. The first time was 2014, correct?
Mr Seabi: That is true.
Adv Mpofu: And there were many trials and tribulations in-between. At some stage you suspected that MS Goleng, the prosecutor, was collaborating with Mr Samuel because she told you that the docket was lost, correct?
Mr Seabi: This matter is the truth and I have not fabricated it. The prosecutor, Golang, the file was lost in her office. When I was supposed to present J88 she refused. She said that the J88 was incorrect and would disturb my case. I then asked why she was defending Mr Samuel.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. Okay, for those of us who do not know, the J88 is the police form where they normally record injuries. Can we just put it up? The one that you said Ms Golang said would mess up your case. Is that the J88 Ms Goleng said you must not include as part of your docket?
Mr Seabi: Yes, that is the one.
Adv Mpofu: Alright. We can see that it has your name. Is that your date of birth there, 23 August 1942?
Mr Seabi: It has all my particulars.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, let us go down a bit. And under Section B, which is where they normally put the summary. It says “patient was assaulted by a known person on the right shoulder; he was apparently pushed and hit the door.” And then under injuries it says “there was tenderness on the right shoulder with reduced range of movement. There was swelling on the shoulder. X-ray showed no fracture or dislocation of the shoulder. Emotional status in pain”. Then at 8, the conclusion, “there was evidence of injury on the right shoulder probably due to blunt trauma.” And it shows the indication of the shoulder. Alright. Now, eventually did this J88 find itself into the docket?
Mr Seabi: It was included as I went to the High Court. When I arrived at the High Court, they then took it and they asked me what the matter was, and I said I did not know why the person refused to include the document. Then he picked up the phone and phoned the prosecutors in the court. Then he demanded to know what the matter was and the person answered saying he did not know anything about it.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, I want to cut the story short again. After the matter started in 2014, you saying that it took about three years of several postponements because the public prosecutor would always say Mr Samuel was ill on several occasions. That is on paragraph 15. Can you confirm that?
Mr Seabi: He did this many times until the magistrate warned him. The magistrate told him he must make arrangements with the doctor involved and that there would be no more postponements.
Adv Mpofu: Alright. Now, again let us just jump to the… Maybe before that let us go to paragraph 16. You say that at some stage you raised this matter… Firstly you wrote this letter to the previous Public Protector, Ms Madonsela. Did you receive any response? Sorry, maybe ask Mr Seabi to clarify this himself. When he says he wrote to Ms Madonsela was this a letter or the time when he wrote at the meeting?
Mr Seabi: That day we went to meet the Public Protector Ms Thuli Madonsela, I wrote a letter. I wrote those letters and was excited I was going to meet the right person but later on I was left very sad. The reason being I was one of the first to arrive there during the roadshow. Mr Samuel was the programme director. If ever you want to speak you would have to write a note and give it to him. What happened was that Mr Samuel had the notes in his hands, calling everyone one by one. When he arrived at my name he took it and put it behind, so that the person behind me would pass. then he would call that person to present himself or herself. Then I jumped and called the name of Ms Madonsela and told her that the man who is holding the papers is the one who assaulted, hence he did not want me to speak. I want to inform you that his man assaulted me. Then Ms Madonsela’s security surrounded me and told me I must calm down and that the Public Protector will give me a chance to speak. One of the ladies with Ms Madonsela tried to calm me down and said she would attend to me after speaking to the journalist. That never happened. After that they rushed into their vehicles as they were going to Thabazimbi. That is how things unfolded that day, and I went back home disappointed.
Adv Mpofu: Chair, I think it is important, Just at that point, let me just come to…. We will just read out paragraph 16 as it is just to put it on the record. You say “I then wrote to the previous Public Protector Ms Madonsela. She visited the Royal Hotel in Polokwane for a roadshow and was consulting members of the public. I also went there and upon arrival I found that Mr Samuel was the programme director. He would call people in to see the PP and there was a list but deliberately skipped my name. I became agitated and spoke in a loud voice that Mr Samuel is the culprit and I want to complain to the PP about him. Ms Madonsela just looked at me and also ignored me. She heard me when I said I needed to launch a complaint against Mr Samuel. I shouted out loud and everyone could hear. She then said she would see me after her interaction with journalists. After engaging with them she left in a hurry saying that she was rushing to Thabazimbi without attending to me.” Can you confirm that this is a summary of the evidence that you have just given now?
Mr Seabi: That is the whole truth.
Adv Mpofu: Okay. you were saying that you were disappointed and sad. Why were you disappointed and sad with Ms Madonsela?
Mr Seabi: I am someone who reads newspapers and watches TV. In most cases I would find Adv Madonsela being praised left and right. When I went there I was hopeful she would like to hear my side of the story. Unfortunately things did not go that way. She showed me her true colours. Chairman, you know sometimes you are hopeful because a certain person is praised for helping people, but afterwards you left disappointed because you do not receive the same treatment. I found out that she was protecting the official more than me.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, well it is true that Ms Madonsela is well-known for protecting the Gogo (Grandmother) Dlamini, but I suppose in this case you were the Mkhulu (Grandfather) Dlamini. After that disappointment was there anything else you could do in the Public Protector… In other words, what I want to say is that on that day did Samuel get away with it or was there something you could do?
Mr Seabi: That day there was nothing I could have done because when they ended the show they simply entered their cars and left.
Adv Mpofu: Did you ever hear anything from Ms Madonsela afterwards, maybe saying ‘Oh well that day I was rushing to Thabazimbi but there was this old man who was telling me about being assaulted.’ Was there any follow up done by her?
Mr Seabi: There was nothing.
Adv Mpofu: You can finish, Mr Seabi. Okay it looks like everybody is waiting. Mr Seabi, Ms Kganyago is waiting for you to finish your sentence. You were saying that Ms Madonsela never contacted you and you were starting to say something else?
Mr Seabi: Ms Madonsela never came back to me. I went home very sad and humiliated. Ms Madonsela showed me her true colours.
Adv Mpofu: Okay. Alright, let us go back to Mr Samuel. Before I tell you about his version. At paragraph 17 you say that “On 6 October 2017, the matter went finally on trial” we are back to the criminal trial of Mr Samuel “Mr Samuel close to two or three witnesses. I had no witnesses. The magistrate found that Mr Samuel contradicted himself during his testimony. Mr Samuel was found guilty and sentenced to two months imprisonment or payment of a fine of 2000 half of which was suspended on condition that Mr Samuel was not found guilty of the same offence. Mr Samuel paid R1000.” Is that how you remember what happened and do you want to add anything?
Mr Seabi: The issue here is that I was not fighting with Mr Samuel. That was the gist of the matter. The main issue here is that I want to find justice. That is exactly what I am doing today.
Adv Mpofu: And the next paragraph says Mr Samuel lodged an appeal, but later abandoned and never prosecuted. There is currently no pending appeal. The criminal conviction stands. You know that, Mr Samuel, as you say, launched an appeal shortly after… Well, I think the true version is that he made an application for leave to appeal. But the point is that according to you, there was no follow up on those proceedings, correct?
Mr Seabi: That is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: Right. So, that is where the real issue is because what I am building up to in the next few questions is how Mr Samuel misled this Committee. When we tried to demonstrate that under cross-examination we were called names. But as far as you are concerned when Mr. Sammon was testifying here, and you may not know when, it was around July/August last year, was there any appeal that you were aware of?
Mr Seabi: What surprised about Mr Samuel and how the law is run, was that Mr Samuel was found guilty as charged. There were so many things happening after watching him on TV. I heard he was suspended from work then he returned. Mr Samuel went to the CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) and he won the case. What made me wonder was that the court found Mr Samuel guilty while the CCMA discharged, and he went back to work and received an amount of R1.4 million. That was astonishing. Maybe you can provide me with the answer when I leave here. How is it possible that one court found him guilty while the other one acquited him. I need an answer.
Adv Mpofu: I think the Chairperson maybe has an answer for you, I do not. But the issue is that Mr Samuel, at least on our version, when the Public Protector gives evidence, she will demonstrate that Mr Samuel to this Committee to tell nothing but just lies including the fact that he was saying that he had an appeal that was going at the time he was testifying and also he even wanted to convince this Committee that even if he had the appeal it meant that it suspended his criminal conviction. Like you, that was the first time I heard that there was such a thing in criminal law, but that is what he wanted the committee to believe. Anyway, the point is this. Mr Samuel, apart from that, I will now tell you his version of what he told this Committee of what happened between you and him and I would like you to comment. And the background to this Chair, just to map it out to the Members because it was a few months ago. Mr Samuel’s version was that the Public Protector firstly, was trying to get rid of him because he was a whistleblower. Secondly he could not understand why the public protector would under the sun want to take disciplinary action against him when she became aware of this assault because according to him it had happened nine years before that was another lie but let's leave that for now.
Mr Seabi: I am here with my friend and we always discussed that the new Public Protector Ms Mkhwebane suspended Mr Samuel, would he really like her? No, he would never like the Public Protector. Mr Samuel would do whatever possible to ensure that Mr Samuel does not return to work. That is Mr Samuel. You can think about this, would Mr Samuel ever allow Ms Mkhwebane to continue in her job, and he would do whatever it takes to do away with her. That is the ghost of the matter here.
Adv Mpofu: I think Ms, he used the word suspend. He used the word(s) ‘o mo khobile’ (she dismissed him). Can you explain the difference?
Ms Kganyago: Wait, wait, I do not understand?
Adv Mpofu: Alright, maybe I will do it through the Witness. Yes, at least one of the Members is helping. I think you used the word suspend, when the Witness said ‘o mo khobile’, which meant she dismissed him.
Ms Kganyago: Yes, I said the word dismissed.
Adv Mpofu: Oh, okay. That is fine. I think it was just a mistake. Alright, so let me just try and capture this. So what you are saying is that because the Public Protector had dismissed Mr Samuel, as you say, obviously he now knows that if she is back at work then he will lose his job? You are saying it was his plan to make sure she is out of the way as that is the only way he could go back to work: is that a fair summary of what you just said?
Mr Seabi: When we talk about this we came to the conclusion that Mr Smauel was brought back to work because of the current Public Protector. The now Public Protector does not care about Mr Samuel’s conviction. I think this is a collaboration between the acting Public Protector and Mr Samuel. I am not sure whether she is a he or she. I do not know if he or she knows that Mr Samuel has a case when she reinstated him. I am wondering how she hired him.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, well, just for your assistance, I am sure my learned colleagues do not mind me giving this evidence under this information that you are saying that whoever is in the place now that is the acting Public Protector, well just for your information it is a lady so it's not he or she it's a she but the point you are making is that whoever is in that office you do not understand how they could bring back Mr Samuel, correct?
Mr Seabi: We can say that maybe she was fortunate to be given the position, as she does not know how to hire people.
Adv Mpofu: Alright. Okay let us come back to the real gist of the… I think some of these things cannot be translated, Chair, but when he gave that account his last words were “that is Mr Samuel”, it sounds like a simple statement but it says a lot. Now, I want you to just deal… Let me tell you what Mr Samuel told this Committee and you will tell me if it is true or false. Remember when you started you were told that if you give false evidence you would go to jail by Ms Ebrahim?
Mr Seabi: I remember that very clearly.
Adv Mpofu: Well, Mr Samuel was also told the same thing. This is what he says. If you can go to Bundle K, Item 10, page 1284. Okay, I will read out… Adv Bawa, that is one of the advocates here who is assisting the Committee. She says to Mr Samuel “And you say that one of the charges dealt with a Limpopo assault that was described in the initial affidavit. What is the date of that assault that occurred? Do you recall?” and Mr Samuel says “Yes, I do. It was the 14th of December 2011.” And there again, that issue of whether just November or December, it does not. It is not of significance for now. Let us assume his date is the correct one for now. Then you say so, rather, Adv Bawa says “So you were being charged in 2020 for an assault that was alleged to have occurred nine years prior thereto?” I do not know where Ms Bawa got the nine years, but I suspect that it was from Mr Samuel. As far as you are concerned Mr Samuel was charged, or rather convicted in 2017, correct?
Mr Seabi: That is the case.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. And therefore let us assume that Ms Bawa was then referring to the charging at work – the disciplinary process not the criminal charges. That is when the 2020 would make sense here. Okay, in any event, Mr Samuel says that “That is correct” and maybe without belabouring it, tell the Committee briefly the circumstances of what occurred in 2011. So that would be a reference to the incident itself. Are you still following, Mr Seabi?
Ms Kganyago: Sorry, which year are you referring to?
Adv Mpofu: 2011. No, I was not asking him to say what happened in 2011. I am saying that the transcript of Mr Samuel’s evidence is what I am reading. Tell the Committee briefly of the circumstances of what occurred in 2011.
Mr Seabi: What surprised me is that Ms Bawa says Mr Samuel was charged in 2020 yet he was charged in 2017.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. No, Adv Bawa, as I tried to explain, she is here, by the way, she can speak for herself but I think it is better if I am her lawyer for the purposes of this. When she was talking about being charged we all agreed that Mr Samuel was charged in 2014, that was me and Ms Bawa. We also agreed that he was criminally sentenced in 2017. He was given an option of a fine and all the evidence you have given. What Ms Bawa was referring to was that when Mr Samuel said that he was now being charged, the things he was blaming Adv Mkhwebane, charged now in a disciplinary process at work, that all that happened in 2020. That is why Adv Bawa said it was for something that had happened nine years before, namely 2011. Do you understand?
Mr Seabi: I do understand now.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, thank you. I will collect the cheque from Adv Bawa later for my services. Here is the real issue leading up to this. Mr Samuel then says “at the invitation of Adv Bawa, on the day in question,” that is now the day of your appointment, “it was early in the morning just after eight hours sitting in my office on the first floor of the building. We are, at the time, in Polokwane, where I was provincial representative at the time. And I then got a call from our receptionist internally to advise me that the complainant, Mr Seabi was at the reception and he demanded to see me because I was busy with head office. I was on the line talking to one of the officials in the HR (Human Resources) explaining the reports that I had submitted”. Okay, let's just pause there. He says that he got the call from the receptionist to say that he was there. What is your comment about that?
Mr Seabi: Not everything but I will explain. Ernest was the first one who saw me and then he went to Mr Samuel to inform him of my arrival. It was not through the phone, Ernest went to inform him physically, after realising that I have arrived he told Ernest not to come back to me. The receptionist, after some time, said Mr Samuel was unable to see me today. Mr Samuel phoned the receptionist and not the other way round.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. Okay, let me try and summarise what you have just said, just again, to make it easier because it comes in bits and pieces. So you are saying what is wrong with that part is the following: that what actually happened is that Ernest told you that he was going to inform Samuel that you are there? Then after waiting for a long period, Samuel phoned the receptionist to say, tell Mr Seabi that I cannot see him – you are saying that is the true sequence of events? Let me explain. Mr Seabi, what the Chair is trying to explain is that you are free to respond in the language of your choice but if you understand and are able to respond directly, we do not have to go through Ms Kganyago, like if it is a yes or no, as it will save us time. The Chair will not say ‘Oh you have to speak English and let us stop the interpretation.’ Do you understand?
Mr Seabi: Yes.
Adv Mpofu: Particularly when I am doing what I am doing now, which is just to summarise what is being said. You can just confirm and then we can move on. Alright, you confirmed the summary I just gave, correct?
Mr Seabi: Yes. The problem is that sometimes I run short of words.
Adv Mpofu: It is fine, you can continue with Sepedi but if it is a yes or no, you can respond in English. For the record, do you confirm the summary that I just made that it was not the receptionist but Mr Samuel, who did, for the reasons you just explained?
Mr Seabi: The problem was that I had trouble understanding why Mr Samuel said he phoned. The reception phoned him, and Ernest went to him.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, thank you. Then he says “The next thing was Mr Seabi passed me to my office and he initially opposite, you know, myself, but I could see he was agitated and angry. So when I finished my call, I then told him that I cannot see him on that day because I am busy with reports. I can, I actually suggested to him that I can see him later in the afternoon around two or the following day instead.” Did that happen? I think it is freezing. It can help us, Chair, she is frozen.
The Chairperson: Let us take a pause there for a few minutes and wait for her to come back.
The meeting adjourned for a short break.
The Chairperson: Ms Kganyago, are you there?
Adv Mpofu: Ms?
Ms Kganyago: Yes, I am here.
Adv Mpofu: Thanks, Chair. I was…
The Chairperson: For connectivity please close your video, Ms Kganyago.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, it is load shedding. Alright. Ms Kganyago, have you come right? It is frozen again.
The Chairperson: Just a pause again, Adv Mpofu, it is frozen again.
Adv Mpofu: Are you still with us Ms Kganyago? Hello? I think she is trying to speak.
Ms Kganyago: I can hear you.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, but we cannot hear you.
The Chairperson: Can you talk to us?... Okay, we will try other means, quickly.
The meeting adjourned temporarily.
The Chairperson: You can unmute.
Ms Mookaneng Matlala (Sepedi Translator): Good day, Chair.
The Chairperson: Can you hear us Ms Matlala?
Ms Matlala: Yes, I can, Chair.
The Chairperson: Is it Mookaneng?
Ms Matlala: Correct.
The Chairperson: Wow, okay. Thank you for assisting. We will wait for Mr Seabi to take his seat. Thank you for being an SOS for the Inquiry. We have a challenge that our interpreter had load shedding and network problems. So we would want you to continue where she left in terms of the translation. Thank you, you are welcome to this Section 194 Inquiry.
Ms Matlala: Thank you, Chair. On my side, load shedding will start at 18:00.
The Chairperson: That is fine, let us see how far we go. Thank you. I will handover to Adv Mpofu.
Adv Mpofu: Good afternoon, Ma’am.
Ms Matlala: Good afternoon, advocate.
Adv Mpofu: Thank you for helping us. Okay, just to bring you up to speed, I was just reading out a section of the evidence of another witness who testified here and I am trying to assist or get Mr Seabi to assist us to see whether that is the truth or not the truth, and so on. So I read it in small stages, and then we will go back to him to confirm. Do you understand?
Ms Matlala: Alright sir.
Adv Mpofu: Mr Seabi, we had just finished the first section of Mr Seabi’s evidence to this Committee, especially the part about whether the receptionist called Mr Samuel or Mr Samuel called the receptionist. Did you hear that part?
Mr Seabi: Yes, we were still there.
Adv Mpofu: Now, we have settled the question of the phone call exchange?
Mr Seabi: Yes, that is the case.
Adv Mpofu: Good. Now, the next part of Mr Seabi’s evidence goes like this… Sorry, I made a mistake. The next part of Mr Samuel’s evidence goes like this. I am quoting now. He says “And the next thing was that Mr Seabi passed me to my office and he initially sat opposite myself but I could see he was agitated and angry.” Was Mr Samuel telling the truth here, Mr Seabi?
Mr Seabi: How could he tell that I was agitated?
Adv Mpofu: And then he says “so when I finished my call, I then told him that I cannot see him on that day because I am busy with reports. I actually suggested to him that I can see him later in the afternoon around two or the following day. And instead he just stood up and, you know, accusing me of making him of making a stupid (sic) of him and he came for me and grabbed me by my collar”. Is that a true version, Mr Seabi?
Mr Seabi: He is lying, Chair.
Adv Mpofu: And then he says “I tried to push him away” meaning you, he was pushing you away, “you know, to let go of me, that was then when, you know, the struggle ensued”. Did that happen?
Mr Seabi: I cannot even respond to these lies. The first thing he says is that I grabbed him by his clothes? He was the one who took my chair and threw it away. I cannot agree with what he is saying.
Adv Mpofu: Right, I think that is clear. Then he says “I actually managed to push to, you know, just outside the door and there was another door with a sliding door a glass door which, you know, he tripped on that and we both fell because he was still holding onto me.” That is the version of Mr Samuel to this Committee, under oath.
Mr Seabi: How can you push someone outside when the door is closed? You can tell that this is a lie.
Adv Mpofu: And then he says “because of the commotion the other officials within the office came out to investigate and then they separated us and, you know, took him downstairs”.
Mr Seabi: Is that the truth that he is telling?
Adv Mpofu: Alright. So, in summary, did Mr Samuel tell the Committee the truth or not?
Mr Seabi: What Mr Samuel told the Committee is not the truth. The only truth that he told is when the people I told you about came and separated us.
Adv Mpofu: Okay. So you are saying in that whole version the only thing that is true is the part where people came and separated the two of you?
Mr Seabi: That is the truth.
Adv Mpofu: Do you notice that he says nothing about the structure or the partition that you spoke about which fell completely off because of the impact on your shoulder against it?
Mr Seabi: He is hiding the fact that the structure fell. The only thing he is talking about is the sliding door.
Adv Mpofu: Right. According to you that was the most important thing that happened in that incident was the heavy impact of your body against the structure, so hard that it fell down?
Mr Seabi: That is the case.
Adv Mpofu: And can you just tell the Committee just how hard and heavy that impact might have been just by using the amount of pain or injury that you sustained? And what steps you had to take medically and otherwise from that time even up to now?
Mr Seabi: I was very injured and it took me approximately one year and six months to heal. I even had to go to therapists to assist.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. Now right now was you are sitting, is your shoulder completely healed – eleven years later?
Mr Seabi: Because the incident occurred in my 60s, it has been difficult for me to heal. I still get excruciating pain when I lift heavy things.
Adv Mpofu: Is it so that you even described to me that even yesterday when you were at the airport, you were not able to carry your luggage using that arm?
Mr Seai: That is exactly what I am describing.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, and therefore even those of us sitting here who may not be medical doctors, I think we can imagine how heavy that impact might have been if you still feel it eleven or twelve years later. And if you did not try to defend yourself as you said, including holding onto Mr Samuel, what do you think would have happened to you?
Mr Seabi: Mr Samuel really wanted to injure me. We were on the fourth floor and he wanted to throw me down to the first floor. I wonder what would have happened to me now. I would have been crippled or would have died.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. Okay, I think we got the floors a bit mixed up. Do I understand that the balcony you were describing is outside of Mr Samuel’s office. You said he wanted to throw you outside of the balcony, is it the one outside his office?
Mr Seabi: The balcony is outside of his office.
Adv Mpofu: And we established earlier that his office is on the first floor, correct?
Mr Seabi: Yes, it is on the first floor.
Adv Mpofu: Right. So, just to cut this short. If he had succeeded to throw you over the balcony, you would have fallen on the ground floor, somewhere, correct?
Mr Seabi: As I said I would have been a cripple or died because his aim was to throw me down from the balcony.
Adv Mpofu: Alright. Thank you very much. Why is it that, as you described earlier to the Committee, when the police were threatening you to say that there is no case here or you must talk and all that and he has many witnesses, you are alone? And even the prosecutors were doing the same, why were you so adamant that you did not want to drop this case?
Mr Seabi: I promised my mother that I would never let the issue with Mr Samuel ever go. I promised her I would follow it up and understand what happened with her money.
Adv Mpofu: I think the Witness is a bit emotional. Can we take a five minute break, Chair?
Mr Seabi: I am sorry, you reminded me of the promise that I made to my mother and yet I have still not found a solution. I do not know where my mother’s money went.
Adv Mpofu: Okay. We will take five minutes Mr Seabi.
The Chairperson: Please take your water, Mr Seabi. We completely understand your situation. Adv Mpofu is asking for a five minute break and we will do that.
The meeting took a five minute adjournment.
The Chairperson: Welcome back colleagues. Thank you, Adv Mpofu for that break. Over to you, Adv Mpofu. Ms Matlala are you back?
Ms Matlala: Yes, I am here, Chair. Thanks.
Adv Mpofu: I am just going to jump to something else. We will come back to these struggles. Alright let me start by just telling you what the version of the Public Protector is going to be regarding the accusations that were made against her by Mr Samuell regarding your matter, Mr Seabi. It is something that you touched on about why Mr Samuel did all these things that he has done including lying to this Committee. The Public Protector is going to say that the same time she, this Public Protector, became aware of this matter was around the time when you initiated the civil damages proceedings against the Office of the Public Protector and Mr Samuel. Now we have already established that he was sentenced around October 2017. And can you confirm that you initiated the civil claims or damages claims sometime in 2018?
Mr Seabi: What I know is that the Public Protector started to realise that now. All along she was not aware as I had written letters to her which she did not respond to. So, when I look at the matter, that is when I heard news about the assault. She disciplined this person at work after doing so, this person went to the CCMA, which found him to be right. I was surprised about what was happening. Adv Mkhwebane is the right person because she took the initiative to discipline this person who was troubling me. Unlike the previous Public Protector, Ms Madonsela, who never tried anything to assist, and saw it fit to protect her worker. The Acting Public Protector is doing what she is doing because she wants the Public Protector position. Furthermore, Mr Samuel does not want to leave his job and when you look at the greater scheme of things, these two are friends. As such, both of them will fight against Adv Mkhwebane. That is how I see it.
Adv Mpofu: thank you. So again, just to summarise, you have already told us about the incident between yourself and the former Public Protector. But you now are saying that the relationship between Mr Samuel and the Acting Public Protector is one of, I suppose, collaboration because they both want to keep their current jobs?
Mr Seabi: That is how I see things, Chair.
Adv Mpofu: Now, the Public Protector, just to take it back to whatever it is, will say indeed, as you are saying, when she received those papers from the lawyers about the civil claim, she was shocked and horrified that it could even be possible that a member of the public could be assaulted in one of the offices of the Public Protector’s Office. And then she immediately asked everyone to get to the bottom of that whole thing. And then as you correctly pointed out, it culminated in the disciplinary action and then Mr Samuel took the outcome to the CCMA and succeeded on some technicalities. We do not need to get into all the issues with Mr Samuel that we dealt with.
Mr Seabi: That is how I am illustrating this, Chair. The Public Protector, Ms Busiswe Mkhwebane, after realising what was happening, she followed this matter up according to the scope of her work. I did write a letter and she did not respond, I suspect that it was her officials who kept it from her. The Public Protector did not know because as I am saying Mr Samuel is a smooth talker. There were journalists in Polokwane who promised to assist me but after speaking with Mr Samuel, nothing happened. Even with the assault case, I told them about it but they overlooked it.
Adv Mpofu: Well, thank you. If you call him a smooth talker or smooth operator this is what he said to this Committee about… Despite what I have just told you as to how the Public Protector discovered the matter and acted on it, Mr Samuel came here and tired to play to the narrative that Adv Mkhwebane has got some strange relationship with the State Security Agency because he knew that the people who are smooth talking believe in that nonsense. By saying that he was surprised that the Public Protector got to know about his case and trying to link that to the narrative that she must have received that from the State Security Agency. What the Public Protector will say when she testified that Mr Samuel does not even himself believe that. But he knew that it was a marriage of convenience with those people who shared his agenda to get rid of Adv Mkhwebane.
Mr Seabi: As I mentioned before, these two people are fighting for their jobs but there is this stumbling block, which is Adv Mkhwebane.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, thank you. If I can just refer the Committee back again as I said because some of these things happened a few months back. I will take you to bundle D, Item 8, which was Mr Samuel’s statement. Page 2106. This must have then happened when Adv Mkhwebane became aware of the matter from the letter of demand or whatever process. I am just going to read it out. You can summarise at the end, it is more directed towards the Committee, just to remind them of this evidence here. Okay, it says “for example, at what I think was a strategic planning session during 2017, the PP made opening remarks during which went to town on what she claimed to know about various persons present. In my regard, she expressly referenced the Limpopo altercation in respect of Mr Ndou. She spoke about allegations of misconduct against him and she raised various other aspects about others present. When we took a break from the session, we expressed our shock to each other as to how openly the PP sought to embarrass and intimidate us.” Then here is the punchline “I knew, as did everyone else, that PP had a background in the State Security Agency, which made me suspicious that she could have had access to personal and confidential information about anyone from conversations with others who had similar concerns. The information she disclosed at the meeting described in the preceding paragraphs, for example, was not the sort of information that would have been included in a handover memorandum prepared by Adv Madonsela. My impression was that the PP wanted to undermine the hard work done by the OPP (Office of the Public Protector) before her incumbency. And to do so she was intent on getting rid of individuals with institutional memory. During the PP’s tenure, there had been a high departure rate of senior staff as this was because of the unpleasant working environment and the lack of trust in the workplace” and so on and so on. That summary, as I say, is where Mr Samuel was playing to the so-called ‘spy narrative’, which suggested that Adv Mkhwebane got to know about his case from the State Security Agency as opposed to just the legal letters that came from your lawyers, Mr Seabi. Let me try and capture it like this, Chair. The evidence of Mr Samuel, some of which I have just reminded the Committee about, was clearly intended to suggest that Adv Mkhwebane received the information about his assault incident form the State Security Agency, as opposed to what she will say when she testifies that she received it from the legal letters, which are just normal resources.
Mr Seabi: When somebody wants their job they will do anything in their power to retain it. After this person was disciplined he went to the CCMA and approached every person to gain assistance, even though he knows exactly what happened.
Adv Mpofu: And this spy narrative originates from the Democratic Alliance, which is the party that was behind this whole saga that has cost the country millions and millions of rands. Do you know where Ms Mazzone had contact with Mr Samue because Ms Mazzone ended up with Mr Samuel’s affidavit in 2020? Was there any connection between Mr Samuel and the Democratic Alliance, or Ms Mazzone?
The Chairperson: I will allow you to translate first.
Mr Seabi: I am not surprised at all because the DA is friends with the former Public Protector, Adv Madonsela. In actual fact, Adv Madonsela is a white woman with black skin.
The Chairperson: It is that part, Mr Seabi, that I want you to take back. It is unparliamentary to refer to Adv Madonsela in that way.
Mr Seabi: I withdraw, Chair, and I will speak in a dignified manner. I am saying this because everywhere her name is mentioned it was full of propaganda. I once spoke to her face to face, and she did not want to help me and that is how I am painting her in that manner, as she is supposed to assist others.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, thank you. Chairperson I cannot withdraw Mr Seabi’s withdrawal but I just want to place on the record my objection to your intervention, because I do not know what you were saying is unparliamentary. Well, how can it be?... Is it unparliamentary to be a black woman or is it unparliamentary to be a white woman? Or which one is unparliamentary?
The Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu, your objection is noted. Please proceed.
Adv Mpofu: Okay. Alright, anyway. Mr Seabi, what you just described to us in your explanation about not helping people at least coincides with the experience of Mr Nyathela. I do not know if you saw the evidence of Mr Nyathela to this Committee?
Mr Seabi: Honestly, Chair, I did not see that. I missed it.
Adv Mpofu: Then it is a disturbing coincidence. Now, I was saying that you have described Mr Samuel in a particular way. In fairness I put all these things to him – that he was a schemer. What happened was that Adv Mkhwebne’s lawyers wrote to the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Thandi Modise, then, and explained that Ms Mazzone’s Motion was unlawful because it dealt with events that happened before the rules of this Committee were adopted. And therefore the law does not work like that: you cannot have rules and then you charge someone for something that happened before those rules. Less than two weeks later, Mr Samuel wrote this letter to Ms Thandi Modise, you will find it at… I think it is probably the same series… It's 2136. Just try 2136.
Mr Seabi: This symbolises how these people are as individuals. You can tell that they want to get rid of her. It is sad because one of them is employed on a contract basis, while the other has not been disciplined – when he was, he ran to the CCMA. I wonder if the CCMA does not want to state the real truth about the situation. I know that he is a smooth talker.
The Chairperson: Okay, thank you. Before I handover to Adv Mpofu, just to indicate that we would have indicated when we started that by 15:30, you would have concluded. We were interrupted as we all know, by almost an hour, actually, from 15:04, that is when the network problem started. and Ms Matlala came in at 16:02. We therefore have recovered that time. The time now is almost 17:15. I am asking you to wrap up, Adv Mpofu.
Adv Mpofu: No, Chair, I am very far from wrapping up. Let me just indicate. I think that the whole issue of translation means that we have a totally different dynamic to what we have had before. In fact, Chair, I do not want us to interrupt at this stage. Can we have that conversation once I have finished this part that I am busy with? Because now you are taking me out of my…
The Chairperson: Sorry, what are you suggesting?
Adv Mpofu: No, I am saying can we have that discussion (because) I am far from finishing. Let me just tell you that, but I am saying can you have that discussion after I finish this part? Because this is the most crucial part of this.
The Chairperson: What I will do is that I will allow you to finish that part and then after that part I will then indicate at what time you will conclude.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, thank you, Chairperson. Thank you very much. I know that I can see that… Well, it cannot be stopped at this stage. Let me summarise it like this so we can try to cut to the chase. I am just giving you the information and I will ask you the question later. This is how this whole started, from 2017 maybe to 10 times, the DA was trying to get rid of Adv Mkhwebane, and it is all documented. 2017, 2018 and 2019. And then on the 3rd of December 2019, it eventually managed to get the National Assembly to adopt the rules for impeachment. In fact, at that stage, they had even called them the rules for the impeachment of the Public Protector, until somebody pointed out that it should be for the chapter nine institutions. 72 hours after the adoption of the rules Ms Mazzone put in a motion, that is on the 6th of December, 2019. It was received by Adv Mkhwebane. On the 28th of January or rather, Ms Thandi Modise made an announcement without even informing Adv Mkhwebane to the media that there would be… that there was this motion. That was on the 25th of January. On the 28th of January Adv Mkhwebane’s lawyers wrote a letter to the Speaker to say that, amongst other things, Ms Mazzone’s motion was unlawful because it dealt with retrospective things. But 12 days later, Mr Samuel wrote a letter to the Speaker, and you will see that at bundle D, item 13, page 2747, Chair. Okay, thank you. The letter that was written by Mr Samuel; Tshepo is still looking for it, but for the sake of time I will just read it out.. It is a short one, Chair. It says “Hon Thandi Modise, Dear Speaker, request for parliamentary investigation into the conduct of the Public Protector and the operations of the Office of the Public Protector. I am addressing this letter to you requesting your intervention investigation into the conduct of the Public Protector Adv Busisiwe Mkwhebane and the financial mismanagement in the Public Protector SA.I have no other recourse but to take the step attached hereto please find my affidavit, outlining my complaint for your attention. I trust that this matter will receive your favourable attention.” And then he attached to that a document which is an affidavit, with another charge of perjury against him. It says many things but I will just say one part. At Paragraph 3.4 The part that concerns you. He says “I come clean and state my case because I know she will seek to project me as a monster that has been convicted by a court for allegedly assaulting a member of the public, which assault I deny. I deal with that in the paragraphs following.” Then he says “as referred to above, while I was stationed in Polokwane I was attacked by a complainant who barged into my office when I declined to see him immediately as he demanded. I was busy on my landline when he barged and attacked me. I tried to push him out of my office and in the process we both fell as he was holding on to my shirt. I was rescued by my colleagues who wrestled him from me and then he left.” Is that the truth of what happened between you and Mr Samuel or is it a lie?
Mr Seabi: I wonder if Mr Samuel understands himself or not. We even went to court and it found him guilty. Even if he beats around the bush, the facts are clear. God is not a fool. He was sentenced according to the charge, and he is aware. He should have just admitted that he was guilty of the assault.
Adv Mpofu: Okay. Well, here is another thing. This is the second time now he is under oath and saying this. At the end of that, he says ”I lodged an application for leave to appeal and the magistrate granted it. My attorneys are still waiting the allocation of the date of hearing of this appeal agt the Polokwane High Court, which should be allocated as soon as the missing parts of the application are received from the registrar of the high courts. Now, I just want to show that is a blue lie because this morning the Evidence Leaders sent us an affidavit of Mr Samuel which was lodged probably in anticipation of your evidence, Mr Seabi. Firstly on the 9th of December 2022, that is a week or two that we gave your name to the Evidence Leaders as a witness. Let me just say that it is bundle D, item 8.1. I will just show the face of it, Chair, because it is quite long.
The Chairperson: Just as you do that, to find what you need to find, I am going to ask you to wrap up in the next 30 minutes as it is now 17:30.
Adv Mpofu: Okay, Chair. I can tell you I am not going to finish in 30 minutes but let us use the 30 minutes and take it from there. These documents were loaded by the Evidence Leaders this morning. This document was lodged two days ago on the 30th of January; that is on Monday. It contains, we do not have time, but it purports to be reviving this so-called appeal and among the documents that are supposed to be the appeal documents is something called notice of reinstatement – of trying to reinstate this appeal. There is a notice of appeal and more importantly, there is an affidavit at 2552.17. There is another affidavit by Mr Samuel which purports to explain the delays as to why the appeal was not lodged. And I'll just paraphrase it, it basically says that he was sick – I do not know for how many years – some wishy washy story, but we will get to it sometime, Chair. But the bottom line is that Mr Samuel to his knowledge, there was no appeal that was pending where he was waiting for a date as indicated in the letter to Ms Modise and in then the affidavit that is attached thereto. So Ms, what you can say to the Witness is that we only want from him now, the comment that relates to him.
Mr Seabi: Chair, I am seeing the letter for the first time. It is only now that this person wants to lodge an appeal but the time has elapsed. He can continue doing what he thinks is good for him.
Adv Mpofu: Okay. Now the last part, again I am jumping a lot of things because the Committee has already seen this, but the last paragraph of the affidavit that he gave to Ms Modise, says this, which is very telling… This is the most important part of the affidavit which I read out to Mr Samuel and asked him to try and explain, just to show that his intention was really to instigate this Inquiry. He says “I am speaking with confidence when I say that the majority of the staff I interact with especially in management have lost faith and trust in Adv Mkhwebane and will be coming forward with more evidence on operational and other matters at appropriate forum when it is established, to deliberate on her fitness to hold office. In other words, I have members of staff that are ready to line up” and we have had about 15 of those “to come to a forum” this forum “when it is established to deliberate her fitness to hold office” in other words, the impeachment proceedings. So that was the purpose of this affidavit. Do you understand that, Mr Seabi?
Mr Seabi: As I mentioned before this person is clearly trying all his tricks to keep his job. After realising that I am still around, he has tried to clean up his act to ensure the Public Protector does not remove him.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. I was then still doing this. What then happened is that after Mr Samuel sent this letter to Ms Thandi Modise on the 11th of February, 2022, exactly 13 days after, well actually less, I think 10 days after, this affidavit found itself into the hands of Ms Mazzone of the DA and she “withdrew” the motion that was suffering from that legal defect. On that same day reinstated a new Motion which now contained this affidavit of Mr Samuel to try and cure the retrospectivity problem, and that is what happened here.
Mr Seabi: Chair, if you can check when this friendship between Mr Samuel and the DA you will see that it started after he was disciplined, as he ran around wanting everyone to be on his side.
Adv Mpofu: Then the Speaker allowed this strange manoeuvre of someone who withdraws a motion by morning and puts another one in the afternoon. And that is what has now become known as the Mazzone Motion, which was with the aid of Mr. Samuel, cured of its legal defects, and has cost this country firstly, its Public Protector, and probably hundreds of millions of rands, which is why we are here today, Mr Seabi. It is safe to say that if you had not gone to the first floor that day, maybe we would not be here.
Mr Seabi: Yes, it is the truth that if I had not been on the balcony that day we would not be sitting where we are sitting today as he would have killed me. With regards to the Acting Public Protector, she has not let him go and as we speak, he still has his job.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. And If we go to the charge sheet, or the list of charges. While we are looking for this, I want to say that what then happened was that the DA and its fellow traveller have brought us here, really based on this magic of Mr Samuel, the smooth talker, who has smooth talked his way to the destruction of our country. You will see then that the culmination of all this is that at paragraph 12, in the charges that make up the so-called Mazzone motion, it says “in support of charge four I rely on evidence submitted in support of charges, one, two, and three” those were the old charges that would have suffered from the legal defect. And then it says “the affidavit of Mr Sphelo Samuel the provisional representative of the Public Protector Free state which was addressed to the Speaker on 11 February 2020.” That is the affidavit read to you which you have said is full of lies and fabrications and which was aimed at this inquiry. Any comment?
Mr Seabi: As I have said, Mr Samuel has shown all that he will continue fighting for his position. He is concerned that if Adv Mkhwebane returned to her position he would lose his job. Adv Mkhwebane assisted me and was there when no one was there for me. How can anyone trust Mr Samuel to tell us the truth when he is concerned that he may lose his job with the reinstatement of Adv Mkhwebane?
Adv Mpofu: Yes, thank you. Unfortunately, we may never know if the Committee has its way, we may never know how… what this manoeuvre by Ms Mazzone of using Mr Samuel’s affidavit in the way that she did because the Committee has declined our request to call Ms Mazzone to come and explain the charges as the complainant. But Mr Samuel knows the truth and Ms Mazzone, as to why we are.
Mr Seabi: Mr Samuel is fighting as much as possible and he is organising as many people as possible to come and get rid of Adv Mkhwebane, who remains a stumbling block.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. And as I say, wherever they found each other, if you are right about Mr Samuel, he then found other people who wanted to get rid of Adv Mkhwebane before day one when she started her job and had been making all those efforts from 2017 up to 2020. So it looked like Ms Mkhwebane or Ms Mazzone or the DA had a, shall we call it, a marriage of convenience on this question of getting rid of Ms Mkhwebane.
Mr Seabi: It is not surprising because as I am saying he is trying by all means to retain his position, so I am not surprised.
Adv Mpofu: Yes. Then towards the end of your affidavit, I am just jumping in case I get the chop as well. At paragraph 22 you say, and I just want you to wrap this and maybe confirm some of your concluding remarks. 22 of your affidavit, you say, firstly “my mother passed away with a sore heart because of that treatment we received from Mr Samuel. She passed away without having received her COIDA (Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act) benefits.” We have already dealt with that. And you are saying that this is what has driven you to fight for all these years and probably even for the next few years. And I can assure you that Ms Mkhwebane if and when she goes back to her office, she will continue to attend to your matter and she has vowed to do so and to undo all these activities, including the so-called prescription and technicalities that were taken in the judgement that came out last week. But the point I'm making to you is that you have explained in that paragraph why you have taken up this because your mother died with a sore heart because of the treatment you received from Mr Samuel.
Mr Seabi: I trust that Adv Mkhwebane will follow through on my matter as she has already shown me that she will, unlike the previous Public Protector who I have told you did not assist me. While she has been praised publicly, I never experienced it.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, thank you. Then you say “I am satisfied that the PP intervened and that she assisted me to get justice, unlike Ms Madonsela who did not fire him. I want to know why she did not fire him or discipline him after she heard me say that Mr Samuel is the culprit. Ms Madonsela did not care.”I suppose this is the sentiment that you have just expressed now. Then you carry on at paragraph 23 and you say “the Office of the Public Protector is there to protect us, not assault or humiliate us. Mr Samuel had no reason to be disgruntled to bear a grudge against the Public Protector simply because she intervened on behalf of a member of the public. That was the correct thing to do for any leader in her position.” And your conclusion is, “as a member of the public who was assaulted at the office where I'm supposed to be protected, my heart is still very sore: Does that capture in a nutshell the sentiments that you'd like to leave this committee with about your experiences with the government agencies for the past 12 years, but more particularly your experiences with the Office of the Public Protector?
Mr Seabi: That is why I have said I want a response. I want to know why Adv Madonsela did not fire Mr Samuel when she knew about the matter. Maybe you can invite her to explain her reasons for not doing so.
Adv Mpofu: Thank you. You said that is the first thing you want to say. What is the other thing? Is there anything else you would like to say about that summary? Remember, I have mentioned two things, what you call the treatment at the hands of Mr Samuel, the role of Ms Madonsela, which you just addressed and what you are saying he was disgruntled and bore a grudge against the Public Protector? And that the Public Protector’s Office is not there to assault and humiliate members of the public? Is there anything that you want to say in regard to that in your conclusions?
Mr Seabi: I do not want to say too much, but what I would like to say is that generally you praise someone by their deeds. If a person builds me a house and I come and look at the house and see that it is well-constructed I will offer him praise. I cannot praise people who did not want to help me and only work through propaganda. With regards to the current Public Protector, she offered to help me and went through all of the processes to assist me. I am not praising her but I am looking at her deeds.
Adv Mpofu: Chair, yes. Sorry, there is just one…
The Chairperson: Just wait, he wants to continue further.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, no. We cannot continue until we have not done the part we are doing now.
The Chairperson: Continue, Sir.
Adv Mpofu: No, Chairperson. I am explaining that…
The Chairperson: He has not completed what he wanted to say.
Adv Mpofu: That has not been translated, I am just assisting with that. He can continue after that, otherwise we will lose that.
The Chairperson: Okay.
Adv Mpofu: Yes, sorry. Ms, the part you did not translate is when the Witness is saying he does not know Ms Mkhwebane, he has only seen her on TV, and then he explained the deeds.
Ms Matlala: He does not personally know the Public Protector, and has only seen her on TV. But he is appreciative of the assistance that she provided him.
The Chairperson: Sir, you wanted to conclude on that part? Before I continue with something? Conclude that part before I come back to Adv Mpofu because we have now reached the end of our time.
Mr Seabi: As I mentioned, Chair, you praise an individual by what you do. The previous Public Protector, whereas this one I saw on TV and she provided me with assistance. I am asking myself whether there is justice in the country, with this person being found guilty in the court but found not in the CCMA. I do not understand why the Acting Public Protector reinstated him, especially as he has a case against him.
The Chairperson: Thank you. Your last word, Adv Mpofu.
Adv Mpofu: Thank you very much, Chairperson. If there is anything I have left out because of time, I will deal with it whenever I do my examination. I think what is left for me is just to thank Mr Seabi and just to say that for what it's worth, I am sure I am not the only one who is very sorry for what you have had to go to for the past 12 years and what happened to your loved ones and your spouse. And we are happy that you survived the attempted murder on your life. Thank you.
Mr Seabi: Thank you very much.
The Chairperson: Okay. Thank you. I do not want what happened yesterday to repeat. So this is what is going to happen now: we are going to take a five minute break and when we come back I am going to invite the Evidence Leaders followed by the Members. Thank you very much.
The meeting adjourned for a five minute break.
The Chairperson: I am going to ask for the Evidence Leaders to interact with Mr Seabi. I will now take the opportunity to invite Adv Mayosi to take the platform.
Adv Ncumisa Mayosi: Mr Seabi, good evening. Thank you for your evidence. I just want to set the starting points that talk about the reason that this committee is here. Now as you may be aware, Mr Seabi, the Committee is here to consider various allegations or charges against Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane. These charges are set out in a document called a motion, and that's the document that Adv Mpofu showed you paragraph 12 of earlier in your testimony. Do you remember?
Mr Seabi: Yes, I remember.
Adv Mayosi: Yes. So, have you had the opportunity to look at the rest of that document – the rest of the motion that Adv put up?
Mr Seabi: I have not had the opportunity to look at it. I just heard it when he spoke about it.
Adv Mayosi: It is correct though, that your evidence to this committee relates only to that assault that happened between you and Mr Samuel in 2011? And it also goes on and expands and talks more about what happened after that assault as a consequence of the assault until today correct?
Mr Seabi: Yes, it is true. Sometimes when these issues are discussed I get hurt.
Adv Mayosi: Thank you very much, once again, Mr Seabi for your evidence. I do not have any other questions for this Witness.
The Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mayosi. That ends the role of the Evidence Leaders. I am going to take this opportunity to invite members who wish to interact with Mr Seabi. Can I have the hands of the Members who want to interact with Mr Seabi? I have Hon Nqola, Hon Gondwe and Hon Dlakude – in that order. Just wait, just wait. Hon Nqola?
Mr Nqola: Thank you very much, Chair. Chair, I wish to appreciate Mr Seabi taking out his time at his age to come and testify at this Committee. I wish to equally say, Chair, that as the Committee we have noted down all the things you have said and thus we take consideration of all the matters you have raised with the Committee when we are in discussions on the evidence that is placed before the Committee in its entirety.
The Chairperson: Do not forget the translation, Ms Matlala.
Mr Seabi: I appreciate it.
Mr Nqola: Lastly, Chair, Mr Seabi raises some issues on paragraph 22 of his affidavit in respect of why was there no consequence suffered by Mr Samuel for the deeds that he did against his person.The only thing I would say, Chair, in that regard is that Adv Madonsela is due to come in up here before this Committee. We certainly will ask that question on your behalf. We hope that you will be watching for you to get her answers in respect of that particular specific matter that you raise in paragraph 22. Thank you.
The Chairperson: That is a very good attempt. Ms Matlala, translation please.
Mr Seabi: I would deeply appreciate that because then I would know why what was meant to be done has not been done.
Dr M Gondwe (DA): Hello, Sir.
Mr Seabi: Hello, Ma’am.
Dr Gondwe: I have two to three questions for you. Is it okay with you if I ask them in Setswana?
Mr Seabi: Yes, Ma’am, I will try.
Ms Gondwe: With all due respect, I am struggling to understand the relevance of your evidence in the work of the Committee because the bulk of it has been around Mr Samuel and to some extent Adv Madonsela, but the subject matter of the Inquiry is Adv Mkhwebane and not Mr Samuel or Adv Madonsela. So I am struggling to understand what the relevance of your evidence is true in the work of the committee. So I would appreciate it if you could explain.
The Chairperson: Before you respond Mr Seabi, there is a mixture here, so let us get the English version and the other mixture from the translation?
Mr Seabi: Well, I have spoken about Adv Mkhwebane but speaking about her has brought me back to the previous Public Protector and how she did not provide me with assistance.
Dr Gondwe: Thank you very much. I only have two more questions for you. You stated in your evidence-in-chief that Adv Madonsela is a friend of the DA. Do you have evidence to substantiate this supposed or alleged friendship between the DA and Adv Madonsela?
Mr Seabi: Yes, unfortunately I do not have that evidence. If I had known that such questions would arise, I would have cut small newspapers and journals and brought them to the Committee to prove my portrayal of her. She does not assist us but on the other hand she is praised. That is how I am presenting my testimony.
Dr Gondwe: My last question. You stated in your evidence, again, that there was a friendship between Mr Samuel and the Democratic Alliance. Are you able to substantiate that indeed that there is a friendship between Mr Samuel and the DA?
Mr Seabi: I said this because I know Mr Samuel to be a smooth talker and I know he would seek help from the DA.
The Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Gondwe. Hon Dlakude?
Ms D Dlakude (ANC): Thank you, Chairperson.
The Chairperson: Everyone is speaking Sesotho/Setswana/Sepedi today. Go ahead.
Adv Mpofu: Chair, are we here for the SONA (State of the Nation Address)?
Ms Dlakude: Mr Seabi, I do not have questions for you. I just want to thank Mr Seabi for appearing before the Committee and for sharing your experience with us. It is unfortunate what has happened to you, but I want to thank those within the law that made sure Mr Samuel appeared before the magistrates court. We will handle the questions you asked on Adv Madonsela, and ask them on your behalf. Thank you very much.
The Chairperson: Mr Seabi, is there anything you want to say? Oh, I did not hear him. Hon Siwela?
Ms Siwela: Thank you, Chairperson. I want to thank Mr Seabi for coming before the Committee but I want to join my colleagues in questioning the relevance of the evidence in relation to the charges, as he spoke about his assault and Adv Madonsela. I need clarity as I remember him (Mr Samuel) stating that you also beat him up, in an effort to show him that you are a man. I am not disputing that you were injured, but I am just trying to gain clarity. We condemn violence against elder citizens as yourself. But at the same time it is a lesson for us doing oversight to make sure that such violence does not happen in government offices. Thank you, Mr Seabi.
Mr Seabi: My biggest thanks goes to the Department of justice in Pretoria and the then Public Protector Judge Baloyi. He is my hero as he fought with me when the official in Polokwane wanted to get rid of my case. I speak highly of Adv Mkhwebane because she had the courage to discipline this individual. I have an issue with the Acting Public Protector, who reinstated Mr Samuel with his record. Why would she do that?
The Chairperson: I am going to ask Adv Mpofu for whatever pick up questions before we wrap up. Adv Mpofu?
Adv Mpofu: Thank you. Thank you, Chairperson. Yes, no, I do not have much. I just wanted, maybe to clarify something. The last member who spoke in what you called, a mixture, at least part of that had something to do with ascribing to Mr Seabi things that he never said, and I think the record should reflect that Mr Seabi never said anything about doing anything to Mr Samuel to show that he is a man. I think that it is a very unfortunate insult. He said that he had to hold onto him to avoid being thrown over a balcony. Possibility to die. And I think that anybody in that position, if we believe what he says happened in the way that he says happened, would have done that, otherwise he might not even have been there to tell us the story. Yes, the question I would have asked really was this thing about relevance but I do not think it is worth it because I think anybody who does not understand the relevance of this evidence should just be ashamed of themselves. I will just leave it there. We will deal with it in the legal argument, if we get to that stage. But I think there are certain things that people shouldn't even do even for the sake of exposing their lack of humanity or propensity to sell out. Thank you.
The Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu. I now go back to you, Mr Seabi. We have now reached the end of our interaction with you. I would like you to be the last person to say something in this Inquiry today. So I want to invite you to speak to this Committee before you leave and say a few words about what you want us to really think about? Ms Matlala?
Mr Seabi: I am wondering if the Committee will be able to help me, as South Africa is a big country, with regards to the Department of Justice, like a prosecutor like Colleen refused for the J88 to enter the court. She defied instructions from above. Why are you not doing something about what she did? George assisted by going the other route. Let us say a senior police officer gives an instruction to a junior, and he does not carry it out, the former has a right to reprimand him or her. At the courts, files are received from the police station. My file was lost in Colleen’s office, but nothing was done. Something must be done. Unfortunately in Polokwane nothing is done about situations such as these. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know that I will now be at ease, as you have given me a platform and belief that my case can be dealt with. I am no longer bothered by what happened between Mr Samuel, but I am concerned with the fighting between the courts. However, I trust that you have the capacity to deal with that. In conclusion, I would like to thank Adv Mpofu and Adv Mkhwebane. These issues really touched me.
The Chairperson: Thank you, Mr Seabi. On behalf of this Committee, I would like to appreciate the gratitude of you traveling from Limpopo to come to Cape Town, at your age and spend the whole day talking and responding to our questions. We really appreciate it. I would also like to say on behalf of the Committee that we have taken serious note of your contributions and what you have placed before the Committee. There is going to be a time in the Committee when we deliberate on all the testimonies. And that is a time when we're going to deal with issues of relevance and so on. Members would have indicated some of the things you have raised, what their response is, and what will happen. And we hope and trust that your endeavours will bear fruit in relation to the issues that are outside of the ambit of this Committee. So thank you very much. You are now officially excused as a witness to this committee. As I thank you I also want to thank Ms Linkie Kganyago for helping us with the Sepedi translation as well as Ms Mookaneng Matlala. I want to thank both of you for coming at short notice. This Committee is grateful for your efforts. We even would like to thank Mr Sithole, who we had on standby. To all of you, colleagues, Hon Members, members of the public and everybody in this Inquiry. We will not be sitting tomorrow, as well as Friday. Also, next week will be a week of work, we will not be sitting quietly, as I understand, but we will come back that week of the 13th and we expect it to be more hectic and much more involved. As we said earlier on, the secretariat and the team will have to help us to schedule all of those kinds of dates properly, because it helps all of our planning. And part of the reason we are also not meeting next week, the 7th and the 8th. There is another matter in court because with the Public Protector team, half of this Committee will meet you there for a different menu. So, we will not miss each other in that regard. So I want to thank all of you colleagues. It's been a long two days since yesterday, as well as today. So thank you very much. We thank you, Mr Seabi.
Mr Seabi: I am thankful.
The Chairperson: Thank you. The meeting is adjourned.
Dyantyi, Mr QR
Dlakude, Ms DE
Gondwe, Dr M
Herron, Mr BN
Joemat-Pettersson, Ms TM
Legwase, Ms TI
Lotriet, Prof A
Mahlaule, Mr MG
Maneli, Mr BM
Mgweba, Ms T
Mileham, Mr K
Nkosi, Mr BS
Nqola, Mr X
Peters, Ms ED
Seabi, Mr M A
Siwela, Ms VS
Skosana, Mr GJ
Tlhape, Ms ME
Tseke, Ms GK
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