PP Inquiry day 52: Bianca Mvuyana: postponed; correspondence concerns

Committee on Section 194 Enquiry

16 February 2023
Chairperson: Mr Q Dyantyi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


Motion initiating the Enquiry together with supporting evidence

Public Protector’s response to the Motion

Report from the Independent Panel furnished to the NA

The Section 194 Inquiry Committee had to postpone again the testimony of the witness, Ms Bianca Mvuyana,  called by the Public Protector's legal team as it was discovered only at 9pm the previous night that the witness preferred to have a statement taken beforehand.

The Chairperson insisted that the hearings continue without the written affidavit as oral evidence would be sufficient. He noted several times during the meeting that it remained the responsibility of the Public Protector's legal team to get statements from its witnesses.

Adv Dali Mpofu told the Committee that he only became aware of Ms Mvuyana’s preference for a statement last night and accused the parliamentary staff for giving a false impression that she did not want to make a statement.

The witness, Ms Bianca Mvuyana, confirmed that when the Parliamentary Legal Advisor, Ms Fatima Ebrahim had initially approached her, she did inform her of her right to depose a statement/affidavit. At that stage, Ms Mvuyana indicated that she would only start drafting a statement once the subpoena is issued.

Ms Mvuyana received the subpoena on Friday 3 February 2023. That same day the PP’s legal team approached her to arrange making a statement. It was agreed they would consult on the Saturday, but she had heard nothing further from the PP legal team. On Monday 13 February, she had found out that this was due to non-payment to the PP legal team.

After obtaining clarity from the witness, the Evidence Leader, Adv Nazreen Bawa, SC, said that the witness should be able to exercise her preference to make a statement.

She pointed out that another PP staff member who will come before the Committee next week, has opted not to provide an affidavit. She also requested the Committee to discuss the process by which the PP legal team will obtain a statement from the next witness, Adv Thuli Madonsela, former PP, to avoid a repeat of today’s situation.

The Chairperson concluded that the Committee would have further discussions to decide if it would re-subpoena Ms Mvuyana. Until then, the decision was indefinite.

Meeting report

Chairperson: Let me welcome Members here in Room M46 and on the virtual platform. Also let me check if the Public Protector is on the virtual platform, to welcome her. The evidence leaders, members of the media, the entire support staff, as well as those that brought us here – all South Africans and the various channels, YouTube and 408. Today is Thursday 16 February. As we indicated on Monday 13 February, today is the last day – even though it’s the first day of our interaction – with the witness, Ms Bianca Mvuyana. So this is a day that belongs to the witness. You have seen the programme that says we start at 9am. We'll take a break at 1pm and go and listen to the response of the President. We'll come back and finish around 8pm. So we have to make up for that. That's what we’ll be focusing on. There have been a few issues that have delayed us from getting to this point, which as Chair I have attended, even though they were not part of the mandate of this Committee. But to the extent that they seem to have affected our work, we attended to them. As Hon Lotriet had questioned on Monday as to the direction in which we’re taking this. But today the focus is squarely on interacting with Ms Mvuyana. We’re going to do as we normally do – allow an opportunity for the first team followed by the second and then the Members thereafter. We don’t have, as you know,  an affidavit for Ms Mvuyana, or a statement. So there are just going to be questions posed to her by all the teams, including Members. With that, let me check with the Public Protector. The first opportunity is going to be given to the Public Protector to interact with the witness. There has been correspondence between myself and the Public Protector, and I have ultimately indicated that today this is what we’re doing. I’m told that many of the issues that have been in our way, have been attended to. Public Protector, are you there?

Adv Dali Mpofu: Yes...

Chairperson: Public Protector?

Adv Mpofu: We are here.

Chairperson: I would like to speak to the Public Protector and see her.

Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane: I’m here Chairperson. So the SC will start, and then we’ll continue. Thank you. I will address the Chairperson.

Chairperson: Thank you Public Protector, you did indicate that today you’ll be on virtual. Hence, I wanted to check if you succeeded and you’re on virtual in Gauteng.

Adv Mpofu: Yeah, but I told you she’s here... Okay, sorry Chairperson, there seems to be an echo here. Okay, I think it’s sorted. Can you hear me?... now I can’t hear. I can’t hear you now. I don’t know if you can hear me, but I can't hear you.

Chairperson: You can’t hear us, Adv Mpofu?

Adv Mpofu: Yeah, I can hear you now. I can hear you now Chairperson.

Chairperson: Can you hear me.

Adv Mpofu: Yeah, thank you.

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu. I was then indicating colleagues, that we’re going to start with the Public Protector interacting with the witness. But before I do that, I see a hand. Welcome Hon Zungula. I have missed you quite a lot. I see your hand; let me recognise you.

Mr V Zungula (ATM): Thank you, Chairperson. Greetings to yourself, Members of the Committee, evidence leaders, the team of the Public Protector. Chairperson, I want to try to understand something. The witness that we’re going to interact with today, there’s no affidavit, there’s no statement. Previously, the Members were given a statement, so when we are going to interact with the witness, there’s something that we can follow. There’s something that is reduced to paper, so that our engagements are informed by something. Now, it boggles me, Chairperson, how we’re going to proceed, whereas that has not been taken care of. I don’t know, Chairperson. Did the witness refuse to make a statement? Did the witness refuse to come even to testify? Why would we continue with engagement without having the basic... because Chairperson, a few weeks or a few months from now, we are going to definitely, you know, discuss everything. Now without a written statement, it's is going to make it difficult for us to come back and recall what transpired, and is going to handicap us when it comes to making informed positions. I wanted to find out, Chair, if the witness refused to make a statement, or she refused entirely to come to this Committee. Thank you, Chairperson.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Zungula, for raising that. I have tried to briefly indicate that, but I think you're raising important questions, so ... all the Members must understand that there is no refusal to make a statement. But I’m going to ask Ms Ebrahim to just explain to everybody. This is a witness that has been summonsed here. There's a subpoena to this witness. And it’s different from a witness that would have voluntarily come to us. Ms Ebrahim, can you quickly explain that?

Ms Fatima Ebrahim, Parliamentary Legal Advisor: Good morning, Chair. Yes, Chair, that is correct. The Public Protector made an application, the Committee would recall, for us to summons Ms Mvuyana to appear before the Committee. As part of that application, there was SMS correspondence that seemed to indicate the reluctance for Ms Mvuyana to attend was because Mr Mataboge did not want to voluntarily avail himself, because both of them had in fact appeared as confirmed witnesses on the PP’s witness list. Following the Committee decision and that we will subpoena her, I first did the courteous thing by calling and informing her of the decision but also letting her know that the Committee made an additional decision to also summons Mr Mataboge, who the PP did not make an application in respect of. She then indicated that she still won’t voluntarily avail herself and that I must proceed with the summonsing process, which indeed is what we’ve done. Chair, in terms of the “Powers Act”, you may summons any person before a committee to give oral evidence, and to produce records or documents that they have in their position - and your summons would have to state what those are. So we cannot compel a witness to submit a statement who is summoned to appear before the committee. So that is where we stand, Chair.

Chairperson: Thank you, Ms Ebrahim. Just before I proceed, Hon Holomisa, I see you have raised your hand.

Dr B Holomisa (UDM): Good morning, Chairperson. Thank you for giving me an opportunity and greetings to my colleagues, to everyone on the platform. Would it not be possible, before we discuss this matter to hear from the Public Protector, whether the Public Protector is happy that we engage this witness without a statement? And in fact, to corroborate what the Legal Advisor has just said. Thank you.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Holomisa. No, we’re not going to ask for happiness of the Public Protector about an absence of statement. Both the evidence leaders and the Public Protector team would know very well what has just been explained by Ms Ebrahim. So I’m not proceeding on that matter in that way. I want to proceed, I see the hand of Hon Maotwe.

Ms O Maotwe (EFF): Yes, no, thank you very much Chair, greetings to yourself, colleagues and the PP. Maybe I missed it, Chair. I didn’t hear quite clearly what Ms Ebrahim was saying. Is she saying that the witness decided not to depose a statement or what exactly is she saying? We want to put it here on record, that she says the witness decided or opted not to. Is that the understanding, Chair? Thank you.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Maotwe. Please repeat briefly, Ms Ebrahim.

Ms Ebrahim: Chair, I had indicated to the witness that should she wish to submit a statement, she may certainly do so. The witness has consulted with the PP's team. I messaged her and tried to make arrangements for her to avail herself of that consultation when the PP’s team indicated that they’d had difficulty getting hold of her. At some point we had difficulty getting hold of her ourselves. But, Chair I want to also point out that the statement isn’t the be-all and end-all of a witness testimony, the statement must be considered with respect to the oral evidence and any other evidence and records before the Committee...

Chairperson: Sorry, ... Adv Mpofu you were unmuted. Just finish the last part Ms Ebrahim.

Ms Ebrahim: Chair, the long and short is that we did indicate to her that should she wish to submit a statement, she can certainly do so. The witness, as far as we understand, has chosen not to submit a statement.

Chairperson: Yes, thank you. And that matter also would have been explained in correspondence to all of us. I thought that even when we started on Monday, we know that there is no affidavit, there's no statement. We're going to start a process through questions that will be posed, in absence of an affidavit and a statement. I hope now that issue can be put it to bed and proceed and to our next point. I then want to invite the Public Protector team to start the proceedings. I see a hand of Adv Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu: Yes, Chairperson, I want to address two issues... before we deal with this thing of the statement. I need to address a letter which you sent to the Public Protector yesterday, which is a serious stumbling block to us proceeding. But on this issue of the witness, when we come to it, I just want to confirm what you’ve said Chairperson, that there was communication. I think it was Hon Nqola on Sunday, who inquired as the other Members are inquiring as to why for the first time, we don’t have a statement from a witness or something. The response was that the witness had opted not to make a statement, as Ms Ebrahim has just said. Just to say that, she’s also right that we did consult with the witness yesterday, and we tried to verify that. But the witness says that she never made such a choice as just communicated now by Ms Ebrahim, and never opted not to make a statement. So maybe the quickest way would be to verify what the truth really is, and then we can move forward. As has been set out correctly, the Committee cannot force a person if they don’t want to make a statement. But it looks like we’re not dealing with that situation here. We’re dealing with a situation where the witness was not given that option. Certainly, as the people who called the witness we would have preferred her to have a statement, like all other witnesses. So that’s the issue. But I do want to deal with the issue of the letter. I don’t know which one you want us to deal with first, whether to finish this thing of the witness or to come to the more serious issue of the letter.

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu. I said at the beginning that today is a day for the witness. And so the key issue that we’re going to deal with today is the interaction with the witness. I’m not going to allow any discussion on the letters that I would have written to the Public Protector and responses, it is not for today. If there are any issues... please mute Adv Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu: Yes, okay. I’m muted.

Chairperson: Please mute. Thank you. Colleagues, today... and I’m addressing the Public Protector team, evidence leaders and Members. Today we’re here to pose questions to Ms Bianca Mvuyana. I will start with the Public Protector team and give them the time that will be allocated to them to do that. We’re not going to delay this meeting with a discussion of a statement or no statement, that matter has been clarified in brief today. Not even going to invite the witness to clarify. I would have asked the witness on Monday a couple of questions... Please mute Adv Mpofu, we don’t want to hear when you’re coughing.

Adv Mpofu: Oh no, sorry. I’m sick, Chairperson.

Chairperson: Yes. Please mute. I’m also sick, but I... please mute.

Adv Mpofu: But I thought you were handing over to me.

Chairperson: No, I’m not. You will know when I hand over to you, please mute.

Ms Maotwe: Yes, you are really sick, Chair. The things you are saying confirm that you’re sick.

Chairperson: Hon Maotwe, what are you saying?

Ms Maotwe: I’m saying I agree that you are sick. The things you are saying are confirming that you are sick. You said you’re sick, I’m confirming with the things you’re saying, that indeed you’re sick.

Chairperson: Hon Maotwe, I want you to immediately withdraw what you’re saying.

Ms Maotwe: I won’t, why? But you just said you’re sick, Chairperson. So I agree you’re sick. I'm saying I can confirm that because of the things you’re saying.

Chairperson: Hon Maotwe, withdraw what you’ve just said. Withdraw what you’ve just said, I repeat.

Ms Maotwe: It will never happen, never.

Chairperson: Thank you. ICT, please remove Hon Maotwe from the platform immediately, immediately.

Ms Maotwe: Dyantyi, you are very sick. Sick, sick, sick.

Chairperson: Please remove Hon Maotwe from the platform immediately. Thank you. I was saying, and I want to repeat that today, colleagues, the day is dedicated. And I even made the point that it is the last day with witness, Bianca Mvuyana, even though it constitutes the first interaction with her. The time has been set for today, between now until we finish at 8pm, will be the business of the Public Protector team, the evidence leaders, the Members asking questions. Unless all those three categories I've mentioned take an option of waiving their rights and not asking any question, that will be fine. But that’s what is meant to be done today. I therefore want to indicate, Adv Mpofu, there is not going to be a discussion on correspondence, on the letters that were written by myself to Public Protector Mkhwebane, or her responses. If there is a need to raise those, they will have to be done in writing. Today is meant for us to focus on one and one only issue – the questions to the witness Ms Bianca Mvuyana. And so as I’m going to hand over to you Adv Mpofu...

Adv Mpofu: Yes, I want to raise a point of order, Chair.

Chairperson: Okay, let me listen to the point of order.

Adv Mpofu: Yes, thank you Chairperson. Thank you very much. Chairperson, I...

Mr Zungula: Before, Chair, can I raise a point of order?

Chairperson: No, you can’t raise a point of order on another point of order. Go ahead Adv Mpofu. It's not done Hon Zungula, it’s not done. Go ahead Adv Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you, Chairperson. I won’t be long, Hon Zungula. Chairperson, you know. We're trying to deal with this matter practically. We have a letter from you here, which is insulting, disrespectful, untruthful and contains serious insults to the Public Protector and her legal team. We cannot proceed before that matter is dealt with and ask you to withdraw that letter. I’m saying to you, so that’s an issue that we want to put on the table. You may or may not decide to withdraw, but you must at least allow us to raise that point. That’s your prerogative. But you can’t deny us the opportunity to raise that matter of serious concern, which is an insult to the dignity of the Public Protector in particular, even more than her legal team. And you wrote that letter unprovoked and we want to raise it with the Committee. The Committee can then decide whatever it wants to decide, not you, because you are the subject of the complaint. Now, let’s put that matter aside. I’m saying assume that we will be able to maturely get over that hurdle. Then I was just saying on the issue of the witness, I’m giving you new facts which you probably did not know, in fairness, which is that it is false to accept that the witness opted not to make a statement. So I don’t know how you can think that can just be brushed away as if nothing has happened. When a witness who has been sworn here to tell the truth, has explained that there’s a distortion of her situation. I’m bringing that as I’m bound to do, to the attention of the Committee so that the Committee can deal with it. It’s not something we can then just run roughshod and say we’re here for this or that or the other. This is a process, not your... you know, fiefdom.

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu. I will come back to you and respond to that...

Adv Mpofu: Sorry, Chair. I'm so sorry Chair. I'm not interrupting you. I just wanted to indicate, I'm actually very, very sick. So if I cough now and again, it’s not deliberate. I literally came from my sick bed to be here. So if my doctor knew I was here, he’ll probably send me to jail. But, I’m sure you can pick that up from the...

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu. Please get well.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you.

Chairperson: I will come back to you and respond. But let me hear Hon Zungula.

Mr Zungula: Chairperson, my hand was up. So forgive me when I was interrupting Adv Mpofu. I thought you were going to see the hand. I did not intend on interrupting a point of order. I did not intend on submitting a point of order during the submission of another point of order. Chair, as you know last Thursday, I was unlawfully ejected from the House... it’s still traumatising me. So I’m still very sensitive towards people being thrown out, particularly if when they are thrown out, it is not based on any rule and there’s no explanation as to what rule the Member violated. Because  Hon Maotwe... in fact, you Chair, said you were sick. Hon Maotwe confirms and repeats what you’re saying. And then without any substance as to the rule you’re violating, this is what you’re saying that is unparliamentary, you elect to throw her out. I think Chair, when you make, you know, judgments or you make rulings as a chairperson, particularly to something as extreme as throwing a Member out, it needs to be based on a rule. So that even if a person does not agree with you, they can say but this is what the rule says and the Chair is right or is correct in throwing the Member out. But if you’re going to throw a Member out just because and without any couching of a rule, that to me Chairperson might appear as if a person does not agree with your views on what you’ve submitted, then you’re most likely going to use such things in order to intimidate them. You are going to use you position as Chairperson, to silence those Members. So I would appeal, Chairperson, that when you make a ruling to that extent, please base it on the rules. If it’s not based on the rules, then Hon Maotwe must be allowed back so that as a Member of the Committee, she must participate in the proceedings. Thank you, Chairperson.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Zungula. Hon Maotwe has been removed from the platform and remains out of the platform for the entire duration of today’s inquiry and session. The presiding officer and the Chair, who is myself, is doing that on the basis of rule 70, where a Member disrespects the authority of the chair. I have asked her to withdraw what she was saying, not once, and she refused. On the basis of that, she’s been asked to leave. I hope that settles it, Hon Zungula, because I’m not to just...

Mr Zungula: It doesn’t, Chair. It doesn’t...

Chairperson: I’ve not asked you to speak. You've not even been recognised to speak. Please don’t do that. I'm not getting into a dialogue about this. I've explained. I would not just sit here and act on the basis of no rule. You also know that I play that role, not only here, even in the House. So I wouldn’t do wrong things as the Committee Chairperson. I’m responsible to direct the proceedings of this and I must do so responsibly. And up to this point, I’m convinced I’ve been doing that. Thank you, now I proceed. Let me respond to Adv Mpofu’s point... Adv Mpofu, and I do pick up that you’re not well, because I think it’s quite evident. I sympathise with you and I would want you to... I’m sure beyond today to get a proper rest and maybe get well soon in that regard. Just my quick response to the issues you’ve raised, here it is Adv Mpofu. On 31 January, a matter of serious concern was whispered to me. I decided not just to treat that as a careless whisper. I decided that whisper must be transformed into writing, so that it is made known not only to the Chair. And immediately the Public Protector did so the next day. From there, as the Chair of this Committee, I made sure that the matter is raised with those that were responsible to attending to this issue of non-payment, notwithstanding that issue is not an issue that we're dealing with as a Committee, but it was important – to the extent that it affected it, and it was likely to affect – that we attend to it. It’s not really our mandate. We’re not playing any mediating role, there is an institution that is responsible for that. So a lot of... you could almost again call it a festival of correspondence that I entered into, to ensure that this matter is attended to. All that correspondence was done between myself and the PPSA and the PP. And the letter I had written to the PP yesterday, I’m still waiting for a written response to that letter. It’s not going to be done here orally. So I insist as the Committee Chairperson, today’s business of this Committee, is to interact with the witness Ms Bianca Mvuyana. Whatever concerns and unhappiness the PP has about the letter I’ve written to her, I suggest that she writes back to the Chair, because the Chair will bring that in any way to the Committee. Today is not for that business. I hope I'm clear on that, because I want to invite you, Adv Mpofu, to take your time and interact with Ms Bianca Mvuyana, in terms of the kind of questions that you’d like to ask from her. I’m going to give you the time between now and half past twelve, to one o’clock, to deal with those issues. Thank you.

Adv Mpofu: Chairperson, no. Look, I’ve just explained to you that we’re raising this objection as something that is preliminary to any further interaction. It's a very serious matter, Chairperson. You might not think so. But if it was you who was insulted, like what has happened with this letter of yours, then you would understand that it has to be addressed upfront. It’s not something that can wait, Chair. But in any event, ... maybe what I’ll do Chairperson, can you just give me five minutes so that I can take instructions on what to do, because my instructions are to deal with this letter right now.

Chairperson: I have no problems with taking five, ten minutes, then colleagues can have tea for ten minutes. We'll be back after ten minutes, which is ten to ten. Thank you.

[Tea break]

Chairperson: Welcome back, colleagues. Adv Mpofu, you had asked for five minutes. I certainly would have given more than that. We also used that time to get tea. I now...

Adv Mkhwebane: Good morning, Chairperson.

Chairperson: Oh, Public Protector?

Adv Mkhwebane: Yes, my discussion with the legal team or SC is that I think it’s fair, Chairperson, to address the matter, because as the SC has indicated, the letter is very distorted, insulting and it’s very concerning. If you’ve signed such a letter Chairperson, I wonder whether you’ve gone through it and understood what it means because the letter - the way it’s captured, it’s very insulting. And if Chairperson can realise that I appreciated your intervention. And I mean, this letter is from you as the Chairperson of the Committee. And I think this, the Committee should also be well versed about, because we discussed it last week. And in fact, on Monday. And as well, I indicated that my last words were the legal team will only be available... or I’ll give instruction as soon as all the monies are paid. I indicated that that’s the case, and they will consult with the witness. So there are a lot of false statements in this, Chairperson. And unfortunately, we cannot just shelve it, and you say I must respond in writing.

Chairperson: Just pause there...

Adv Mkhwebane: And remember, we are supposed to address the matter, Chairperson, before the Committee, so that they also know that the matter has been resolved. But as well, I feel very concerned that it seems as if you are taking what the PPSA is saying more than what I am telling you transpired. And there’s false information which is there. And I mean, I indicated even last week that as the Members of Parliament, you’ve got the responsibility to conduct oversight. And I mean, if you just easily take what the PPSA CEO accounting officer is telling you, and you even defend them. That's why I am raising the fact that they should have approached National Treasury with your assistance to request additional funding. And I mean, Chairperson you even go further, you include issues of me being… wasting a lot of money, the legal team. Why were we not told that the legal team is a lot? Why were we not... I mean, the issue of my security, that I’m bringing a protector. Must I be then exposed or be vulnerable? How do I work with people I don’t know? So I think those things are very concerning Chairperson. I mean, even now, the issue is the monies have been paid and it relates to monies which were already within the process of PPSA. It doesn’t relate to invoices which are not submitted as yet to PPSA. I think it’s a concern. And I mean, finding some Members of the Committee even saying the junior counsels, it is as if they are not appreciative. I mean, if people have been not been paid for months and are being threatened with evictions, threatened with all those. Irrespective of how much they’ve been paid, the fact of the matter is that they are owing. They need...all that money, they are subjected to VAT, to tax. It comes to nothing if people think that people are receiving a lot of money. So I think Chairperson, we needed to clarify, I needed to clarify that to you. And to make sure that Members of the Committee must know that the matter has been resolved. PPSA has paid 100% of the invoices per the agreed arrangement. And I think the matter should be closed properly for the Committee to understand, because I think Hon Nqola was even saying, that it is as if the legal team is boycotting. And now I’m being accused that I am delaying the process. Chairperson, we would want to continue with the matter. But let everyone know the truth, that PPSA was dilly-dallying. I even shared the email since last year, August. My attorney trying to request a meeting with Neels van der Merwe, till today, Chairperson. That meeting has never taken place. And it was relating to the invoices for August and September last year. So the invoices for October to January have not been submitted. That is not the subject for the PPSA. We are not even accusing the PPSA of anything. So that is an insult Chairperson. I think it should be addressed now and the Committee Members should know the truth and should know what’s happening. Because, if now we respond quietly, and this matter was a subject of concern, it’s as if now I’m being told I’m being this person who’s being instructed to just proceed. I think there should be fairness, Chairperson. And I think this letter, the way its crafted, if it’s written for you by your legal team - unfortunately they are causing a lot of serious issues, because now it brings your chairpersonship into question. So I think Adv Mpofu will also speak for himself. Even last week I told you, when Bawa was saying Adv Mpofu said this. Adv Mpofu is here, he can confirm for himself if he said that, because now it’s as if the juniors are not cooperating. So I think...

Chairperson: Thank you... thank you, Public Protector...

Adv Mkhwebane: Chairperson, I’ve said a mouthful. And I think we will respond to this. And we can’t have lies being perpetuated. And your people writing things, and you just sign, Chairperson. Because, I think that’s an insult for them. And even including my security, Chairperson. That is very questionable. And the issue of travelling up and down...

Chairperson: Thank you, Public Protector.

Adv Mkhwebane: What must I do when I'm supposed to appear. And I didn’t put myself here, Chairperson. Isn't it that I'm subjected to this? And it is as if I wanted to be here and I must do this. I wouldn’t be sitting here if I was not the Public Protector...

Chairperson: Can I ask you now to pause, please? Thank you. Thank you, Public Protector. I have given you the time which was not supposed to be... I've been very clear. I'm going to be clear, both to yourself as the Public Protector whose coming into this inquiry and your legal team. Today we’re not going to discuss letters. You've made the point. It’s ten o’clock now. Now I want to ask your team to start asking questions to witness Bianca Mvuyana. That's what I’m now wanting us to do. You've asked for five minutes. I thought you were going to come and say what you’ve discussed in five minutes. Instead, you’re coming in and doing what I've asked not to be done. I still expect you to respond to the letter I wrote to you. And letters that I write are in the public domain. Everybody’s going to read... in fact, that letter is out there. People are going to read. These Members have that letter. And it is not for the Public Protector or her team to dictate how this Committee must function. That’s not what we’re here for. We’re here for an inquiry. I ask you not to get into that space, please. I am now asking again that Adv Mpofu as the legal team of the Public Protector – the time is now ten o’clock, it’s being given to you to interact with the witness and ask questions. I’ve given you the time between now and till one o’clock. That’s your time that you need to do with the witness. The witness has taken an oath on Monday. And I’ve indicated that today’s the last day with that witness. I would want you to start with that process, please. I’m not allowing any discussion on the letters or anything.

Adv Mpofu: I want to raise a point of order.

Chairperson: I’ve given over the platform to you, to interact with the witness. You can start with the point of order.

Adv Mpofu: Yes. Thank you, Chairperson. I will do so. Chair, you know, as the Public Protector says... I'm personally not sure if you’ve even read this letter that you signed. Whoever was insulting us through your signature should know that, we’re also not here to deal with letters. We're also not here to be insulted by you or that person. And it’s very important Chair, to explain this. Your letter, there’s a lie contained in it, that says that I said I was willing to continue, except for my juniors. That’s a blue lie. So it’s something that needs to be put on the record. I can’t continue working here professionally, when I’ve been lied about and insulted in a letter, such as this. There are about five such lies contained in the letter. Lies, just blue lies. No, not even slight distortions. Such as the fact that we have not consulted before the money was paid or that the money was paid yesterday morning when you wrote the letter, which is a lie. It is not true. The witness is here, and will tell you that we were actually consulting with her long before even that payment was made. So whoever gave you that misinformation needs... those issues needs to be put to bed, Chairperson. So that if you find it within your heart to withdraw those lies, then they get withdrawn, and then we’ll move on. But for you to expect us to, to you know, I don’t know what... to divide ourselves into subjecting ourselves to your chairpersonship, when you have insulted us gratuitously and without any reason. Without even correcting, at least at the minimum, correcting some of the factual things, which as you correctly say are out there in the public space, then that’s completely unfair, Chairperson. And I’m telling you about lies told about me, I’m not even going to the other stuff about the Public Protector and the juniors, and all that. And the fact that we asked for a postponement on Tuesday 21 February, that’s not true. It’s another lie. The reason that we had a discussion about the 21st was because Ms Bawa said she’s not available, she’s going to the SCA – and I had said, in that case then, we’ll sort the witnesses and have Mr Malunga tomorrow, and so on. Now in your letter, you say that we made a request to postpone 21 February in order to afford the team some time to prepare. A lie. A blue lie. It just did not happen. And I don’t believe...that’s why I’m saying, I don’t believe you deliberately put things like that in a letter and signed it on the letterhead of Parliament of South Africa, if you knew that these were blatant lies. And that’s all, we are really... this is not an unfair request, Chair. We’re simply saying, let us address this matter, get it out of the way, one way or the other, and then we move on with the business of the of the Committee. We’re appealing to you.

Chairperson: Thank you. Thank you, Adv Mpofu. I will expect that you put all those things in writing and respond to my letter. Now, I’m asking you to start the proceedings with the witness.

Adv Mpofu: No, Chairperson, you know, you are really derailing this process. Let me... we, the reason why we were not here on Monday was explained to you. That it was because of an impasse on the issue of legal fees. Chairperson we are doing our best. You know, the worst thing that can happen is that if this team of lawyers is not here, is being ill-treated like this, and is not here - what you’re trying to do, which is to try and speed up the process, the exact opposite will actually happen, because the matter will screech to a halt for months, if we do that. We are all responsible people, we are trying to avoid things having to come to that point. We’re trying as much as we can. I called from my own sick bed on Monday, I called Adv Bawa and I said let’s discuss this matter off the record, and try as the leaders of the two teams to find each other. That’s why we’re here. That's why we consulted with the witness. We’re trying to play a constructive role, we expect the same leadership from you. You are the leader of this Committee. And let us not do something that’s going to derail this process, and then we’re going to be accused of derailing it when actually we’re doing the opposite. We’ve been trying under extreme circumstances to rescue the situation so that it does not collapse in our hands, because the public has an interest in it. But if you’re going to have this kind of bully boy tactics, and want to force us into situations, then you are going to remain with your Committee and do with it what you want. Because all I’m asking you is to give us an opportunity to address a matter of serious concern to the Public Protector of this country, that you have insulted, you know. And we want to clarify those things. That thing would have been done by now, but you are just bullying us. Some of the Members may not even be aware of some of these facts, but you are bullying us into a situation, which is going to create total chaos in this inquiry. And we do not want to do that, believe me Chairperson. We don’t want this matter to collapse in our hands, at least. If you want it to collapse in your hands, well, then you can go ahead and collapse it. Please give us an opportunity to vent out our issue, you can respond to it as you like, and then we move on, please.

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu. And I’m hoping that after this, we’re not going to have another dialogue. I’m going to ask you, again, that I now give you an opportunity Adv Mpofu, on behalf of the Public Protector, to do what this meeting has been called for, which is putting questions to the witness, Ms Bianca Mvuyana. I’m asking you again, to get to that point now, nothing else. This is your opportunity between now and one o’clock, to have your time and ask this witness who has taken an oath, who’s here, those questions. I'm not going to get into any other dialogue. And I’m asking you to start that process.

Adv Mpofu: Alright, okay... Chairperson, alright, look, I’m not sure if I’m able to proceed as you’re directing me. I need... And I’m sorry, I’m not doing this to waste your time, believe me. I need to talk to the client, and she can decide what must happen now. If you’re insisting... you’re not even prepared to consider this, or to put it to the Committee. Then, because she might have to escalate it to the Speaker or the Gender Commission insofar as you have insulted her, or whatever structures need to deal with it or even a court of law. Because really, we’re making a reasonable request to you. Your own rules say that this Committee must proceed fairly...

Chairperson: Adv Mpofu...

Adv Mpofu: Let me finish. Your own rules say that you must proceed fairly...

Chairperson: I have no intentions...

Adv Mpofu: And you must proceed reasonably.

Chairperson: Adv Mpofu. Adv Mpofu, just listen to me...

Adv Mpofu: Don’t speak over me. Let me speak, let me finish talking first. I’m saying your own rules say that it must be reasonable and fair. That's what your own rules say. And it’s not reasonable for you to deny us an opportunity to put this matter to the Committee. That’s really all I’m asking from you, Chair. It won’t take more than ten, fifteen minutes. But let it be done, and then we move on. We are ready to move on.

Chairperson: Thank you. I’ve already made a ruling, Adv Mpofu. That you speak again, it is about you interacting with the witness. I see your hands, Members. I’m not going to move, walk back on that, Adv Mpofu. I'm not walking back. I'm asking you to now start interacting with the witness...

Adv Mpofu: Chairperson, stubbornness is not going to resolve this. Stubbornness is not going to resolve this.

Chairperson: I have not recognised you to speak.

Adv Mpofu: Okay. Okay, sorry. Sorry Chair.

Chairperson: Please respect the Chair. So I’m indicating Adv Mpofu, that the only thing I’m asking you to do today, and now, is to start the process of asking questions to witness Bianca Mvuyana. Nothing else is going to be entertained, except that. That’s what I’m asking you to do.

Adv Mpofu: Yes, that’s what you’re asking. I know Chair, that’s what you’re asking me to do. But I’m also asking you to do something. I’m asking you to...

Chairperson: I did not ask you to speak. I have not recognised you to speak, Adv Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu: Sorry, Chair. Oh, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I thought you were allowing me to respond. Sorry.

Chairperson: I’m not. There's no need to respond. There's no discussion here. I am very clear what you need to do. But let me take the Member before that, Hon Mileham?

Mr K Mileham (DA): Thank you, Chairperson. Chairperson, I’d like to propose this. We are here for a specific purpose today, and that is to hear the evidence of the witness. I’d like to propose that the issue of the letters and the discussion around the letters be postponed until Monday, and that we have a special meeting on Monday to deal with the correspondence before the Committee. That today we focus on dealing with this witness, getting this evidence out the way. And then on Monday, we have a dedicated meeting where we can ventilate, where Adv Mpofu can say what he wants to say, and you and the Committee can respond, and we can take it from there. But we can’t deal with it today, because it’s not on the agenda for today. So I’d propose that that’s the way forward, Chair.

Chairperson: Well, I have already indicated that long time ago. That today is not about the correspondence, but thank you for that. Hon Gondwe?

Dr M Gondwe (DA): Chairperson, I was going to assure Adv Mpofu that we get all the correspondence between you and his team. So, you know, he mustn't think that Members are not aware of the contents of the letter. We know very well what’s in the letter. But I’m trying to understand what exactly he wants at this point, because you’ve offered that it should be put in writing so that, you know, we can also understand what the concerns are with the letter that you’ve written. And those distortions or blue lies that he alludes to, supposed distortions and blue lies - we want to understand what those are. We can’t really deal with the matter right now, if we’re not aware what the point of contention is with the letter. So with all due respect, Adv Mpofu, we would like to consider your concerns around the letter, and the Public Protector’s concerns. But we’re asking that it be put in writing so that we are clear in terms of what are your issues with the letter. So we’re just asking you to please just defer the consideration of this matter until Monday, as suggested by Hon Mileham, so that we can deal with the business of the day, which is hearing from Ms Bianca Mvuyana. Please Adv Mpofu, we are one hour into this meeting, and we are still going back and forth at this point. So all we’re asking is give us a chance, put it in writing so that we know exactly what we’re dealing with. That way we’ll have the whole picture, because all we have at this point is the letter that the Chairperson wrote to the Public Protector and her team. Thank you very much, Chair.

Chairperson: Hon Sukers.

Ms M Sukers (ACDP): Good morning, Chair. I want to second what was proposed by Hon Gondwe, that we proceed with the agenda of the day as was ruled by you earlier, an hour ago. And that the correspondence and matters of contention, as mentioned by Adv Mpofu, be put in writing. So that should the Committee be speaking around those issues, that we have a full picture on what he is unhappy about, and the Public Protector. Thank you, Chair.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Sukers. I think all three Members that have spoken have amplified the ruling I made earlier on. That we proceed putting questions to the witness, and that the Public Protector as she always does, will in writing respond to the letter that I’ve written to her. I’m still waiting for that response in writing. It’s not going to be done here orally. I’ve ruled long time on that issue. And I want to ask you again, Adv Mpofu. Can you start interacting with the witness and put the questions to the witness?

Adv Mpofu: Chairperson, Yes, let me just... I will do what you’re saying. But let me just assure the Members that I’m not saying that you are not aware of the correspondence. I’m saying you are not aware of the lies and distortions that are contained in this particular correspondence. And I’m also not saying that we will not put the response in writing or the Public Protector will not put the response in writing insofar as the matter concerns her, she will do so and we will also do so. Because on our side, you know, people’s professional integrity has been attacked, I mean, in a serious way. To an extent of suggesting even professional misconduct on their part, falsely. And discussions which were conducted, some of them even off the record with the people that we regarded as our colleagues – have been distorted on paper here, on the record, and lied about. So those are not small matters. Those are serious matters, maybe not for this platform, but even at a professional level. So to expect us to continue under those circumstances, is really asking for too much, you know. Because we cannot divide ourselves from being the victims of unwarranted attacks and gratuitous insults to the dignity of our persons and our client, without being given not so much as a platform, to voice our concerns, and then be expected at the same time to act happily and continue with the business of the day as dictated by the Chairperson. It’s not correct. It’s not in accordance with the rights of people in this country. Give us the voice to voice our concerns, to protest if we want to protest about it, and we’ll move on, that’s all we’re saying. Otherwise, this kind of conduct is going to collapse this entire process for a reason, and no other reason than just stubbornness and insensitivity, because you're not the ones who have been insulted. So that’s our position, Chairperson. If you so wish, you can reconsider you ruling, and let me proceed.

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu. Please proceed to Ms Bianca Mvuyana.

Adv Mpofu: All right, well, this is what I’m going to do then before I ask the questions. I will do an introduction, like Ms Bawa did a 45-minute introduction to Mr van Loggerenberg. Good morning, Ms Mvuyana.

Ms Bianca Mvuyana (witness): Good morning, Adv Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu: How are you?

Ms Mvuyana: I’m well, thank you. How are you?

Adv Mpofu: Okay. Apologies for getting you again, since Monday, to be caught in the business, sort of business of this Committee. I just want to...I’m going to do quite a longish introduction to the matters that relate to that delay in your evidence, as well as the issue that was raised by the Members about the absence of your statement. You are the first witness to testify here without a statement. So that’s quite something unusual. So I think we need to place it properly on the record. Is it correct that you chose or opted not to make a statement?

Ms Mvuyana: No, it’s not correct.

Adv Mpofu: Right. Well, can you put up Bundle H, item 29, number seven... The email from Hon Nqola. Yes, this is what happened on Sunday, Ms Mvuyana. One of the Members of this Committee wrote to the Secretariat to say “Afternoon, Thembinkosi, please share with me the affidavit of this week’s witness. I can’t seem to find it on my emails”. And then the response was “Kindly note that Ms Bianca Mvuyana is the subpoenaed witness that has been scheduled to appear before the Committee tomorrow, 13 February 2023, and she has opted not to submit a statement/affidavit. Therefore, there is no statement/affidavit to share in this regard”. So you’re saying that is not factually correct as far as your side is concerned, correct?

Ms Mvuyana: Yes, that’s correct.

Adv Mpofu: Chairperson, this accords with what I said to you in the morning, that the witness actually did not make such an option. And from our consultations, she would prefer to have a statement made. And whatever the untruth that was put here, whatever the source of it is concerned, it is... we as the person who called the witness, we would like to call her like all other witnesses, having made a statement. So we need you to make a ruling in that regard.

Chairperson: Adv Mpofu,... the ruling I will make is I’m going to ask you to proceed with asking these questions, because you... even last night or yesterday, would have had an opportunity to make a statement for this witness. This is your witness, the witness of the Public Protector. Not the witness called in here by the evidence leaders. So it goes back to you and your team. And I don’t think that we’re going to have to pause for that. We hear what the witness is saying. I’m sure Members, when they deliberate, they’re going to get into that because Hon Nqola asked this in the email, that a response he gets and I’m hoping, hopeful, that we’re going to get that. But I want to proceed.

Adv Mpofu: Chairperson, sorry, before... I see there’s other hands here. Let me just explain the situation. You see, that’s why these things are interrelated, Chairperson. You've ruled against us explaining the situation regarding what happened on Monday, here. That’s fine, let’s put that aside. But these issues are completely interrelated. You can ask this witness, when I found out that she was willing to make a statement it was 9pm last night, literally. Sick as I was, I was consulting with her at that time. And so what do you expect me to do? I was now supposed to do what? Call you and send a statement or whatever. I did not know that it was a lie that she had opted not to make a statement. I actually, I didn’t even know. I asked that in passing, as we were finishing the consultation because I wanted to know why she was not willing, she opted not to make a statement, and she did not know what I was talking about. That’s how the issue arose. So you can’t say... I mean, as much as you like to pile blame on us. You can pile blame on us, we did not type that untruthful message. You know, we did not, you know, however evil we are, we did not force anyone to say that the witness has opted not to make a statement, when she actually is willing to make a statement. So you know this is not something we can just brush aside, because it concerns the rights of the witness as well, and the rights of the person who called the witness that is the Public Protector. And our professional duty is to lead the witness through a statement, like all the other witnesses that have been led in this process.

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu. The witness has taken an oath, Monday. And the oral evidence that is done is a proper thing also to do, in the absence of the statement that your team failed to take. It can't be that only at 9pm yesterday you were starting to interact and talk about a statement...

Adv Mpofu: I didn’t say I was starting. I said that I was finishing.

Chairperson: Don’t disturb me when I’m speaking.

Adv Mpofu: Yes, but don’t distort my view...

Chairperson: Just mute, Adv Mpofu. Mute. I’m on the platform. Please.

Adv Mpofu: Yes, but don’t distort what I’ve just said to you now, five minutes ago.

Chairperson: Please mute, Adv Mpofu. I want to repeat, Adv Mpofu. We hear what the witness is saying. This witness is here up until the end of today, and has taken an oath since Monday. I want you to proceed...

Adv Mpofu: Chair?

Chairperson: No, Adv Mpofu. Please.

Adv Mpofu: I’m sorry, Chair. I really want to make this point, I beg you.

Chairperson: No, no, no, don’t. I'm speaking.

Adv Mpofu: Okay, fine. I'll respond, because even that taking of the oath wasn’t legal. You can’t take an oath in the absence of our legal representatives.

Chairperson: I’m speaking. I’m speaking, Adv Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu: Okay, fine.

Chairperson: And I’m going to make this ruling. I’m going to make this ruling, Adv Mpofu. That you proceed with the witness, Bianca Mvuyana, and ask her questions, here today, under oath. That's what I’m going to ask you to do.

Adv Mpofu: Okay, Chairperson. Well firstly, she’s not even properly under oath, because you took an oath illegally in the absence of the legal representatives of the Public Protector. And you even went further and asked her six questions or so, in the absence of the legal representatives. Not being the first time that you conduct these proceedings in the absence of legal representatives. So the whole thing is just... and we know that that is connected to the issue that happened on Monday, which you want to run away from. But I’m explaining to you that procedurally, what you are doing once again, is to mire this inquiry into unnecessary controversy. How can any chairperson or a judge or anyone sitting to chair – when someone tells you that something has been reduced to writing and communicated to Members of Parliament, which is false, just say no let’s just move on as if nothing has happened. How can that be? How can that be legal? I mean, in your own estimation.

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu. Adv Mpofu, Witness Bianca Mvuyana has been on your witness list since November 2022. On your witness list.

Adv Mpofu: Yes...

Chairperson: Forget about last night.

Adv Mpofu: Right.

Chairperson: There is no reason since then that there’s never been an interaction and work done with her. I want to rule that you proceed, Adv Mpofu. Ask the questions.

Adv Mpofu: So why did you subpoena her? Why did you subpoena her if she was on my witness list? Why did you subpoena her?

Chairperson: You asked this Committee, and we took all the trouble, that got us to the process that we did to subpoena her on your behalf. She's here now since Monday.

Adv Mpofu: Exactly.

Chairperson: Please ask questions to Ms Bianca Mvuyana. Please proceed.

Adv Mpofu: No, Chairperson, I will do so. But, if you are going to distort the situation, I have to put it on record. You can’t say that we put her on our witness list. You know the reason why she was removed from the witness list and then put on the subpoena list. You asked her those questions, illegally so on Monday. She's explained to you that she changed her mind. So why do you want to use that now to distort the picture in the minds of the public and the Members of the Committee? That is not the issue. The issue is that this witness... we as the persons who wanted to call her, want her to do a statement. She has a right to make a statement if she wants to do so. We have the right to raise questions from the statement. The Members have the right to have a statement, they can’t be expected to remember this in a few months time, or whenever, when we do the arguments, unlike all the other witnesses. So that is a procedural matter on which you have to apply your mind, Chairperson, and not just bully your way through like you have been doing all morning. And take a deep breath. Ask for advice if you need to ask for advice, and then we move on. I don’t know how many times I’m saying this now, because this is a serious matter, and you just want to be stubborn. You know it’s Mr Dyantyi’s word or the highway. It doesn’t work like that. This is the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, it’s not your backyard. So you need to follow the rules and respond to the issues that we’re raising, which are serious issues, which are meant to save this process. Contrary to what you think, that we’re trying to derail it, we’re actually trying to save it. Because, you know, in the expediency of your following your hollow path to do now might seem exciting and enticing to you. But it’s going to lead to the oblivion of this process.

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu. Two things I’m going to say. Please watch your language as you interact with this Committee and the Chair, I’m going to make that point. Secondly, I want to...

Adv Mpofu: Which parts?

Chairperson: Sorry, Adv Mpofu. I’m on the platform.

Adv Mpofu: Yes, but which language? I want to follow your ruling.

Chairperson: The second part I’m going to insist on, I want you to proceed asking the questions. Please proceed asking the questions to Ms Bianca Mvuyana.

Mr Zungula: Point of order, Chair.

Chairperson: What’s the point of order?

Mr Zungula: Firstly, Chairperson. I do raise my hand. So I’m not sure if you’re able to see when hands are raised. I really do not want to interrupt and raise point of orders and seem as if I’m interrupting you. That's the first point. The second point, Chairperson, is that we have a situation here, whereby the communication that has been received by the Committee is that the witness opted not to produce a statement. And the witness, after being asked now, has confirmed that is not true. Meaning there have been lies... I don’t know where it would be coming from. So it’s very concerning Chairperson, how we can just skip lies of this nature because, for me, it raises questions as to what else would we have been lied to as a Committee. Secondly, Chairperson, just on the other engagement, regarding the letter now. The Committee Members, in line with your ruling, affirmed that the Public Protector legal team needs to reduce whatever views they have in writing, so that when engagements starts, you know, there’s a letter, there’s something in writing that Members can follow. Now on this particular issue, that principle is thrown out of the window. Because there’s a witness, but without her views - her thoughts reduced to writing via a statement. So Chairperson, I would propose that let’s find another way of dealing with it, because it can’t be that the processes of the Committee require the engagement being informed by statements, statements which we as Members can take our time, read through, you know, so that we make an informed opinion. But on this particular witness, now we need to operate differently from the way we have been operating. And lastly, Chairperson. It is very serious that there has been a lie where, you know, the Legal Advisor and the Committee Secretary say the witness said no to a statement. The witness is saying that is not true, it has been a lie. So Chairperson, I plead with you. Let us not proceed as if... It’s a big thing, whereby there’s a lie that has been perpetuated. Thank you.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Zungula. Ms Bianca Mvuyana is coming here not as a witness led by evidence leaders. This is a witness who has been on the list of the Public Protector since November 2022. People responsible for making statements is not this Committee, is not the evidence leaders, it’s the Public Protector and her legal team. That's where... they can’t come here now and ask why there’s no statement. It is their responsibility, Hon Zungula. I again ask Adv Mpofu to proceed to ask the questions from Ms Bianca Mvuyana.

Adv Mpofu: Okay, Chairperson. You know, you’re making this unnecessarily difficult. Firstly, by distorting me, I think deliberately now. What do you mean we can’t come here now and say where’s the statement? Who did that? Did I come here and say why is there no statement? I did not say that. I came here and I’m explaining to you that the witness informed me during a consultation, that it is not true that she opted not to make a statement. That’s what I did. Now, you’re distorting what I just said to you a few minutes ago, to say I came here to say where is the statement. I’m not mad, why would I do that? I know why there is no statement. It is because of the issues like I say that you are running away from. Which is the fact that it was explained to you on Monday that Ms Mvuyana was ill last week. And by the time she was available, which was last Friday 10th during the issue of the non-payment. And that is why on Monday the Public Protector addressed you. Then you swore Ms Mvuyana in anyway without the presence of the legal team. That’s what happened. And then what happened is that unlike the lies that are in your letter, the Public Protector gave us the instruction to consult with Ms Mvuyana, which we did before even the payment of the amount by Public Protector SA. So without... and you were telling us that the reason we were not being paid was because of PFMA, which was another lie. Because if it were for PFMA, why did they pay 100% yesterday? Are they now breaching the PFMA? These are the things that are in your letter, which you don't want us to discuss. And I’m saying, through all that mess, which I don't want to discuss now, what actually happened is that Ms Mvuyana was... let’s say, caught in the crossfire and was not given her right as a witness to make a statement, which she... and instead she was lied about. That's not a small matter. If you don't respect our rights, at least you must respect the rights of Ms Mvuyana, and you must respect the rights of the Public Protector and the rights of the public, which is going to listen to her testimony. We’re not just going through the motions here just to reach the finish line. We’re having an inquiry. An inquiry means there must be witnesses who must be properly sworn in, who must make statements if they so wish and must then be led. That’s what an inquiry is. We're not running a kangaroo court here, or a shebeen brawl. Okay, so that’s the issue we’re putting on the table. And you have to at least consider it, that’s what I keep on saying to you. And consider it from all the points of view I’m talking about - from our point of view as the professionals who have to do the work, from your point of view as the Chair, from the point of view of the witness, point of view of the public, and the point of view of the Members. That's you job, that’s what you get paid for. And it’s not for you, who gets paid every month, to tell us when we must be paid. It's very rich coming from you...

Mr Mileham: Point of order, Chair.

Chairperson: Sorry just hold on...

Adv Mpofu: No. No, this is not right.

Chairperson: Adv Mpofu. Adv Mpofu, I want you to proceed...

Adv Mpofu: No, you can’t be abusing us like this man, Dyantyi.

Chairperson: Please proceed and ask the questions from Ms Bianca Mvuyana. Please proceed, Adv Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu: No, Chairperson. I’m simply responding to the issue. I will proceed. I'm responding to the issue of you trivialising everything that we’re raising with you. I'm sitting here with members of my team who have had to liquidate their policies for their children's education. And you, everyone here gets paid, including the evidence leaders, in fact, including even the Public Protector. But we must sit here and be enslaved by you, and be told that, you know, we should just get on with it. It's not right, Mr Dyantyi. It is not right.

Mr Mileham: Point of order, Chair.

Chairperson: After this point of order, I want you to proceed. I've listened to you now Adv Mpofu. Hon Mileham.

Mr Mileham: Chairperson, you asked Adv Mpofu to moderate his language earlier. He has called this Committee a kangaroo court; he’s referred to it as a shebeen brawl. He’s now said that... Sorry, Chair I’m on the floor...

Adv Mpofu: No. No, it’s not true. That's not true. I said it is not a kangaroo court. Don’t lie, man.

Chairperson: You’ve not been recognised. Mr Mpofu, you’ve not been recognised. I’m saying this now. You have not been recognised Mr Mpofu, please mute.

Adv Mpofu: Yes, but he mustn't distort me... I said it’s not a kangaroo court.

Chairperson: Please mute, Mr Mpofu. You're not going to repeat that again. Hon Mileham?

Mr Mileham: Thank you, Chair. Chair, my point is this. That you’ve made a ruling that we proceed with the examination of this witness with the evidence from Mr Mpofu... from the witness. And I now ask that we do so. Any further delays are spurious and obstructive to the process of this Committee. And we cannot continue debating and going around in circles over issues that are irrelevant to the questions before us. So can we ask that Mr Mpofu puts his questions to the witness?

Adv Mpofu: Chair, can I raise a point of order?

Chairperson: I’ve not recognised you. Have a hand that I’ve recognised.

Adv Mpofu: Okay, sorry.

Chairperson: Siwela?

Ms V Siwela (ANC): Chairperson, thank you. I thought Chair, you made a ruling. And I think issues which need to be discussed will be done after we have received a report as other Hon Members have indicated; I think that will assist us. So I’m requesting that we proceed and be given that opportunity to get those responses in writing, as Hon Members, so that we can be able to engage. Thank you.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Siwela. Adv Mpofu, please proceed and put questions for the witness.

Adv Mpofu: No, I want to raise a point of order, Chair.

Chairperson: Please proceed, Adv Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu: Yes, can I proceed with my point of order?

Chairperson: Please proceed, yes.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you, Chair. No, Chair, I don’t know what the... there’s nothing about putting anything in writing. We're now talking about the witness, whose statement is not before the Committee. That’s exactly what we want to do, to put it in writing. So I don’t know what that’s about. But also Chair, I just want to raise an objection if you said I must moderate my language, and you allow Mr Mileham to say that what I’m saying is spurious. Is that moderation of language only reserved to people like me? But does it apply to people like him? Otherwise, I’d like him to withdraw that. What I’m saying here is a serious matter that affects people’s lives. It’s not spurious. If it’s spurious to him when he gets paid every month to sit here, and he expects us to sit here and not get paid as if our children are lesser than his children, then he might regard this as spurious. This is a serious, serious matter, Chairperson. Whether you like it or not, you don't know what I’m dealing with here. I’m dealing with the situation and I've been trying so hard. Your evidence leaders will tell you to try and get this situation not to reach this point, but you are driving us out of this process. You really are, you really are.

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu. Hon Gondwe, Sukers and Nqola?

Dr Gondwe: Chairperson, I was just checking...

Adv Mpofu: No, Mileham must withdraw first. Mileham must withdraw the insult.

Chairperson: Hon... Adv Mpofu, please allow the Chair to direct the meeting.

Adv Mpofu: Okay.

Chairperson: Hon Gondwe?

Dr Gondwe: Chair, the time now is twelve minutes to eleven. We've spent two hours, a whole solid two hours going back and forth on this issue. I thought we’ve agreed...

Adv Mpofu: Instead of fifteen minutes.

Dr Gondwe: I thought we had agreed that we move past this letter issue, request Adv Mpofu to put his concerns in writing so that we’re aware of where the points of contention are. Can we please... and I’m asking this respectfully, can we please carry on with putting questions to Ms Bianca Mvuyana. Time is really not on our side, Chairperson. And I think the situation is becoming untenable by the minute. Honestly speaking Chairperson, we just want to do our job. We've been deployed by our respective parties onto this Committee. And we’re finding that instead of getting to the crux of the matter, we are busy dealing with things that are not even relevant to this inquiry. So through you Chairperson, can we please, please proceed. Time is not on our side. At two o’clock we have to be at a House sitting. We were told to be here at nine; we were here on time. So can we please proceed. And Adv Mpofu, please allow us... this matter will be dealt with at a later stage. I thought we agreed on that point. Thank you very much.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Gondwe. Hon Sukers?

Ms Sukers: Chair, I think I want to take your lead to really be extremely patient. But I feel exactly as Hon Gondwe has said. We cannot have a process that has a particular aim, becoming derailed by issues that a path has been set for it. The problem that we’re having now is that the parliamentary process is actually being hijacked by minor issues that we have made accommodation for. I also want to plead that we proceed because, unfortunately, most of the Members that have been sitting here have responsibilities that go beyond just this committee. The aim of this Committee is to hold the Public Protector accountable. We need an answer, are we going to be obstructed or is there going to be collaboration to make sure that we actually do the end game? I think we need an answer to that because it is it is actually having an impact on every single person that is part of this process. We cannot have the manner of aggression that is continuously getting meted out, because it does affect everybody that is part of the process as well. Language is important and tone is important. And it is Parliament, yes, Parliament of South Africa. So either we disrespect the public, disrespect Members of Parliament and the institution, because that is the impression that we getting. That we are being disrespected, Parliament is being disrespected, and the people are being disrespected. Forget about everybody else that Adv Mpofu has very eloquently stated in what manner his team has felt offended. I want to put it on record that as a Member of Parliament, I feel offended, harassed and abused by the continued aggression being displayed by the advocate. Also, as a Member of this Committee, to say that the work of this Committee is being obstructed.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Sukers. Hon Nqola?

Mr X Nqola (ANC): Thank you very much, Chairperson. I think, Chair. The witness on stand was subpoenaed to appear before the Committee on Monday. In the presence of the Public Protector here at M46, there was submission of a discontent about non-payment of the legal team of the Public Protector. This Committee made a commitment of an issue that was done not even by Parliament. That, because we understand the situation the legal team is in is due to non-payment. Let's leave the issue around non-payment, we won’t go there. We committed that we are constantly going to communicate with PPSA, so that this matter be resolved. We made a commitment, Chair, that we are going to ensure that when we resume again with the witness, this matter must have been dealt with properly so we don’t have any further matters to delay us. We are glad, Chair, to know today that indeed that payment was made to the legal team. So we see that there is an issue about a letter now, a new matter this morning. I recall in our emails, there were many correspondences that were sent, not only one letter. Now in trying to mitigate the situation, the Committee said we are going to deal with all the communique issues at once, and went even further to propose that on Monday the Committee has a particular time where it deals directly with this. Now I want to plead here with you, Adv Mpofu, that as much as it is right, we do listen when issues are ventilated in the Committee. But we have further made sure that we give direction to it. That we’re going to entertain this matter, we’re going to attend to it. Can you now proceed with the witness. At the back of our mind, this is the last day for which the witness was subpoenaed. We are indeed running out of time in doing the work with the witness on the stand. Then we can deal with other matters as proposed by Committee Members. So can you please proceed with the evidence of the Committee. We have been sitting here keeping quiet; trying to listen to what is happening; trying to think what is the best way of dealing with this matter. Could you please proceed now. Thank you very much.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Nqola. Hon Maneli?

Mr B Maneli (ANC): Thank you, Hon Chair. Greetings to Members, to the Protector and the legal team. I think most of the points I wanted to raise has been raised by Hon Nqola. Chair, indeed there were matters that the Committee ordinarily would not deal with. But as they were considered to be a stumbling block in the work of the Committee, you had to attend to those, and that talks to the payment question. Happily, like Hon Nqola has raised, that matter has now been addressed, which allows us to proceed. The letter that has been discussed, has also been considered even without that response in writing, that there may be issues about the letter. However, reduce that to writing. I also thought we have passed that point. I think the point that’s being raised, Chair, relates to what I’ll say is a preliminary point raised by Adv Mpofu, about just the statement – whether the witness may have been misrepresented or not. I think the point having been made, is a point we should be able to entertain later, as we are also interrogating the information before us so that the source and everything else gets clarified at that point, which is a matter that should also have arisen on Monday. The understanding was that we are proceeding on that understanding that there is no statement for us, and there has not been an objection to that matter. I thought it’s important that we have that clarity...it may be a matter that has arisen out of that consultation post Monday, and we note that. It is a matter we are saying should be dealt with. The only reason we may not proceed, which is what I couldn’t hear coming from Adv Mpofu – I hear the opposite – is that whilst he raises the point of this statement, it does not mean he has not prepared his witness and hence he's ready to proceed. We're not getting a sense that there has not been preparation of the witness – meaning that Adv Mpofu did not come before the Committee unprepared. He came to the Committee prepared but had those concerns. I’m saying Chair it should not come out as though they are brushed away. We're still having other witnesses that will come before the Committee. And if those matters don’t get clarified, we may get to a point where you have an agenda and you have to shift from the agenda, because you have to address concerns that could have been raised, probably earlier. I’m joining Hon Nqola in pleading, that based on the preparations, given these conditions, we proceed. And as we proceed, we take note of this point. I think when we get to questions; we can't escape this point, Chair, that its clarified, even for future witnesses before the Committee, that there is no distortion or misrepresentation that can happen in between. So I plead, Chair. Thank you.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Members, for your inputs. I now hand over to you Adv Mpofu, as pleaded but also as directed to proceed with the witness.

Adv Mpofu: Yes, Chair. But I must respond to what has been said to me. Firstly, I don’t know what Hon Sukers means by we are obstructing and then she tells us that we are abusing her. We are not obstructing or abusing her. She doesn’t have to be abused. If she’s abused, she abused herself by standing as a Member of Parliament. We are saying this in the most respectful way we can do it. And that's why I was saying to you Chair, that... if you say tone is important, it’s important for Hon Mileham and also for Hon Sukers. We're not here to be insulted by her either. So we’re raising very serious issues here, but let’s move on to the more serious inputs. Hon Nqola is quite right that we should try and find... and by making that proposal. The problem, Hon Nqola, is that these issues are interrelated. So it’s not easy to separate them. The reason the witness doesn’t have a statement is because of the issue that played out since last Friday up to now. So those are two sides of the same coin. I'm going to make a proposal of my own of how we can come out of this here. Also, the same with Hon Maneli. These issues are not... you can't just brush it aside. You see the problem is that this process has already been afflicted by this issue of the predetermined outcome. As if we’re just going through the motions now, let’s just quickly call the witness and then, you know, chop the head off. No, this is an inquiry. You have been tasked as a Committee to do an inquiry, which means you must listen to witnesses – properly sworn in, who have taken the oath properly and who have given statements, and look at their statements objectively, dispassionately and make up your mind. Don’t just... this is not a sausage machine, which just produces impeachment outcomes. So that’s what should happen. We can’t just have a sham of a process just for the sake of finishing. The regulations say the process must be fair, reasonable, and finish within a reasonable time. So you can’t just read the last part about finishing within a reasonable time, and have an unfair and unreasonable process. Each of those things have to be balanced, that’s the job of the Committee, that’s the job of all of us, that’s the job of the Chair. And we are appealing for your own prescripts to be respected by you. That's all we’re doing. So maybe this is the proposal, Chair, which I want to make, which hopefully will be constructive. Can you give us an opportunity to talk to the witness? If she’s willing to proceed without making a statement, then we will communicate that to you. But if she wants to exercise her right to make a statement, as she has indicated, then we will also communicate that to you. Then you can rule whatever you want to happen, will happen, because she’s our witness after all.

Chairperson: Yes, she’s your witness that’s why I asked you to proceed with the witness.

Adv Mpofu: Yes. Yes, well I’m asking... now I want to consult with my witness. I'm saying to you that if she wants to exercise her rights to make a statement, she’ll make a statement. If she’s happy to proceed as Hon Maneli and Nqola are suggesting, without having done so or to waive her right to do so, then we will report that back to you. And also take instructions from our client, who's the person who called her in the first place.

Chairperson: Hon Gondwe?

Dr Gondwe: Chair, through you I just have one question. Is Adv Mpofu ready to ask this witness questions? This issue of a statement, we’ve long passed that. We've said fine, we agree, she doesn’t have a statement, let’s proceed. We can proceed, whether or not there’s a statement. The point of the matter is that the proceedings are recorded, so when you give oral evidence, you're just supplementing or repeating what is already in the affidavit. Am I correct? So is Adv Mpofu ready or not? Because we are here and you would think that this is their witness and they’d want their version of events related to this Committee. But this back and forth, I’m starting to think otherwise.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Gondwe. Hon Luzipo.

Ms S Luzipo (ANC): Thank you, Chair. Good morning, everyone, colleagues and the PP’s team. Let me just say to Adv Mpofu, I like sausage, and it’s always well processed. So it's one of the nice foods to have.

Chairperson: You’re saying it’s well processed?

Mr Luzipo: Well processed. Now on a serious note, Chair. Let me make this point first, because I think it’s important that when we proceed, we understand that we are a Committee of the National Assembly. A ruling on your part... regardless of what it is, it remains a standing procedure of Parliament. What is in the ATC is what is the subject of that meeting. So when you put in the ATC and say the Committee on this day will be dealing with this matter, you can't then in the meeting bring in something new. We've had that experience before. We were told because there’s something called public participation, people attend the proceedings of activities of Parliament, choosing the areas they’ve got an interest in. Therefore, you may be seen to be misleading to say you’ll be dealing with this item and then you bring in another. Regardless of whatever item, not only this one, that the ruling of the Chair must be referenced to the procedure of Committee meetings. The third thing, Chair, I raised this when we were dealing with the guidelines, to say if we continue – and I think that’s what Hon Maneli was trying to say – ordinarily, before you proceed with matters, procedure says points in limine get stated and a ruling is made on the points in limine. Then what happens is what recourse do you have on that procedure. I'm worried that points in limine just come at any given moment, not being part of the procedure of the meeting. Again, my appeal would be for future reference, not now, because I would say now there is indirect – and I'll say it in inverted commas – a point in limine being raised that requires the Chair to make a ruling now. Adv Mpofu said he is expecting you to make a ruling. I would say let’s get the ruling. When that ruling it is made, we then proceed with the meeting. If then there is an objection to the ruling, the normal procedure that we agreed on  is the guidelines then be followed. Thank you, Chair.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Luzipo. For the next few hours, we have a witness that has been summoned and subpoenaed here. Adv Mpofu has made a proposal; I declined that proposal as a chair. I want to make a further ruling that Mr Mpofu ask the questions of the witness who is here. You’ve asked your first question, we have been spending a lot of time on it, which relates to the statement. I want you to proceed to further questions. I don’t want to go to Hon Gondwe’s question, at this stage; I would be astounded if I had to entertain that. I want you to proceed and ask the witness the questions. She's here to do this oral evidence. Please proceed.

Adv Mpofu: So you're denying me an opportunity to consult with the witness?

Chairperson: Don’t change it, it’s not consulting. I'm asking you...

Adv Mpofu: I said consulting; what do you mean I've changed it?

Chairperson: Don’t respond whilst I’m speaking.

Adv Mpofu: No, but you always distort me. You force me to respond.

Chairperson: No, don’t respond whilst I’m speaking. Adv Mpofu, please proceed and ask the questions of the witness. I've made a ruling about what you’ve asked.

Adv Mpofu: Are you or are you not denying me an opportunity to consult with the witness? It's a simple question.

Chairperson: I repeat. Please proceed and ask the witness questions.

Adv Mpofu: But, no, Mr Dyantyi. I’m asking you, I’ve asked you for an opportunity to consult with the witness and my client. If you’re denying me the opportunity you must have the courage to say so. I've asked for an opportunity to consult with the witness and my client.

Chairperson: Adv Mpofu, we are not going to have this dialogue. You've had an ample opportunity since November 2022 to consult with your client, even last night you had the opportunity...

Adv Mpofu: No, I want to consult on this matter. It didn’t arise...

Chairperson: Wait, Adv Mpofu. Please, please be ruly in this Committee.

Adv Mpofu: Yes, but I was still talking, Chair. I’m still talking. I'm not interrupting you. I’m saying...

Chairperson: Please mute Adv Mpofu. Please mute him, please mute him. Adv Mpofu, please proceed and ask the witness, that you’ve asked since November 2022 as the Public Protector to come here, which this Committee took all the trouble to seek for concurrence of the summons and everything else, until she was here. She did not come here voluntarily. This witness has been summoned to be here since Monday. And we’ve got to get done with that work. Please proceed and ask the questions.

Adv Mpofu: No, Chairperson, I will do so...

Chairperson: I’m making that ruling, Adv Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu: No, but Chair, you can’t...

Chairperson: If you are not ready, if you are not ready and you want to waive your rights, please say so.

Adv Mpofu: No, I’m more than ready. I’m very ready.

Chairperson: Please proceed, Adv Mpofu. Please proceed.

Adv Mpofu: I’m more than ready. But I'm ready for a fair process. I’m only ready for a fair process.

Chairperson: I’m not entertaining now any other issue. I want you to proceed with the witness.

Adv Mpofu: No Chair. The matter did not arise in November 2022. It arose on Sunday, when your Committee distorted the views of the witness, and said that she opted not to make a statement. That's when the matter arose. And it also arose last night when it was communicated to me. I'm communicating it to the Committee as a matter of concern. So don’t go to November 2022. That was not when the problem was created. And it was not created by me; it was not created by Ms Mvuyana. It was created by the Committee and its Secretariat, okay, and it was also created by PPSA, by abusing us, which is the related matter. So you can't say I must proceed when you’re distorting things that I've just said now. And I am appealing to you to be sensitive to the rights of the witness and the rights of the Public Protector. You don’t have to be sensitive to me, I don’t need it. But you can just honour the rights of the Public Protector and the witness, so that I can consult with them. If they are prepared to proceed on the unfair basis and the illegal basis that you proposed, then I will let you know. I don’t know what... I said to you, I asked for five minutes. Now you’ve wasted fifteen minutes, you know.

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu. The ruling stands. Please proceed. Ask the questions to the witness. I’m not going to repeat that.

Adv Mpofu: What questions? How can I ask questions to a witness... what questions must I ask to a witness who wants to make a statement?

Chairperson: Unless you are not ready; you are not prepared to ask any questions. Please proceed, Adv Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu: I am more than ready, Chair. You must know that. I’m more than prepared, Chairperson.

Chairperson: Then please proceed.

Adv Mpofu: I’m prepared for fairness...

Chairperson: You have the time between now and one o’clock. This is the time that you have between now and one o’clock.

Adv Mpofu: I’m prepared for a fair process, not for a kangaroo court. That’s what I’m prepared for. I'm prepared to ask questions when the witness has exercised her rights, and when my client has exercised her rights. I don’t care what anyone else thinks about it quite frankly. I'm discharging my duties to ensure that there is fairness in this process.

Chairperson: Adv Mpofu, Adv Mpofu, please pause. I want you to proceed and ask the questions to the witness. Please proceed with the witness.

Adv Mpofu: You don’t want to listen to me?

Chairperson: Proceed with the witness, Adv Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu: I want to consult, Mr Dyantyi. It's my right.

Chairperson: Proceed with the witness, Adv Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu: No, I don’t want to consult in public.

Chairperson: You have the time between now and one o’clock.

Adv Mpofu: Yes, well, I need only five minutes. I don’t need between now and one o’clock.

Chairperson: We will soon take a break, but for now, I want you to proceed with the witness.

Adv Mpofu: No, Chair. I want to consult first. My client wants to consult with me. She's here. She wants to consult with me.

Chairperson: Adv Mpofu, I'm making a ruling as a chairperson to proceed. Or else you indicate if you want to forfeit this opportunity.

Adv Mpofu: Yes, but I asked you nicely. I asked you nicely, are you denying me the opportunity to consult with the witness and the client? Yes or no?

Chairperson: Proceed with the witness.

Adv Mpofu: I don’t know what you expect me to do.

Chairperson: I expect you to do what we are here for today, which you have asked for this witness to be subpoenaed. That's what I expect you to do.

Adv Mpofu: Yes, well give me an opportunity. Well, let me go and consult with my seniors then, as to what to do, when I am denied an opportunity to discharge my professional duties. Must I obey you or my client?

Chairperson: I’m not going to respond to that. I'm only asking you to proceed with the witness.

Adv Mpofu: No, I’m asking, Chair. It is a serious question. I'm saying the client wants to consult with me. You want me to proceed, I understand that. But what do you think is my duty? Is it to you or to the client? I don’t know myself, the answer. So I need to go and find out.

Chairperson: I’m not going to answer that irrelevant question. Hon Members...

Adv Mpofu: It’s not irrelevant. What must I do now? What would you do if you were in my place?

Chairperson: We’ll take a tea break for fifteen minutes, and come back and proceed with the witness and...

Adv Mpofu: Thank you. I’ll use that tea break to consult.

Chairperson: Today we’ll proceed with this witness... and if Adv Mpofu intends to play what he is playing now.

Adv Mpofu: I’m not playing, Mr Dyantyi. I'm not playing. This is not a game, sir. This is not a game.

Chairperson: Thank you.

Mr B Nkosi (ANC): Chair, can Adv Mpofu respect you as a chairperson, please? We are not going to be subjected to this again.

Adv Mpofu: You think this is a game, Mr Nkosi?

Mr Nkosi: You are disrespectful. You are very... and you’ve been disrespectful for a long time. We can’t take this...

Adv Mpofu: Don’t shout, relax. Relax.

Mr Nkosi: You are disrespectful. You must relax yourself, you are very disrespectful.

Adv Mpofu: Relax, sir.

Mr Nkosi: Chairperson, make a ruling on this.

[Tea break]

Chairperson: Welcome back. Thank you to everybody. The time is 11.30am. We now resume with our work. I'm going to do the following two things. I'm going to give Adv Mpofu, the PP legal team, the last opportunity to proceed with the witness. Depending on that, I'll make a ruling. Please proceed, Adv Mpofu, and interact with questions to the witness.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you, Chairperson. Yes, thank you, Chairperson. As I've indicated before that I would utilise the tea break to do the consultations that I was asking for. I have consulted with the client, and I have consulted with the witness, and I've also consulted with the Bar Council. The position is the following, Chairperson, the client would like to exercise her right to have the witness make a statement, unlike the distorted statement that was made on her behalf. The witness is also... would prefer to make a statement. And more importantly, I explained to her the issue of the subpoena. She’s willing to return, if and when suitable arrangements are made. When she has exercised her rights to make a statement, she’ll be more comfortable to testify under those conditions. She’s not comfortable to testify under these conditions. I’ve explained the situation given the short time available to the Bar Council. I’ve explained that I’m caught between instructions from the client and your ruling. They’ve agreed that I should obey the instructions of my client. So that’s the position.

Chairperson: Thank you. Thank you, Adv Mpofu. If I hear you properly, just before I make the ruling. You essentially are proposing a postponement of this hearing session, that’s the first thing.

Adv Mpofu: No.

Chairperson: No, don’t respond.

Adv Mpofu: Sorry, sir.

Chairperson: Please make sure Mr Mpofu is muted.

Adv Mpofu: No, you don't have to make sure. I’ve muted myself.

Chairperson: Please make sure Mr Mpofu is muted as I speak. That suggestion effectively is suggesting that we postpone our work. I want to say as a Chair that could not be done to just postpone work on the basis of what has been said. Secondly, from what you’ve just put forward, the PP and the legal team, you’re waiving your right to interact with this witness. I think we should accept that.

Adv Mpofu: No, don’t accept it. I didn’t say that.

Chairperson: Please mute Mr Mpofu because I’m speaking now.

Adv Mpofu: Don’t distort me.

Chairperson: Stay muted. I'm going to make a ruling that you have waived your right to put questions to the witness. I’m not going to go into any conspiracy whether it is about preparedness or not preparedness. But effectively what you’re saying, you have no further questions that you want to ask to the witness. With that colleagues, as Members of this Committee, I want to proceed with the work of this Committee. I’m going to ask the evidence leaders, as the next group of people who must pose questions before Members, to take the stand and interact with the witness. Thereafter, Members will conclude as we normally do. We’re not going to force the Public Protector to interact with a witness when they have no intention to do that. We have been doing that for hours now. I think we have to get to the point where we proceed with the normal proceedings of this Committee. Hon Members, anyone amongst you, who has a grief with that please indicate... No one, thank you. We’re going to proceed. I’m now going to check with the evidence leaders. Your readiness, you might not have been ready, because it is early but I hope that you would have prepared to start interacting with the witness. As I call you, Ms Mvuyana, please switch on your camera and unmute. Are you there?

Ms Mvuyana: Yes, Chair. I’m here.

Chairperson: Thank you, you are now going to have an interaction with the evidence leaders. Over to you, Adv Bawa.

Adv Nazreen Bawa, Evidence Leader: Good day, Ms Mvuyana.

Ms Mvuyana: Good day.

Adv Bawa: Can I maybe start by saying that you are not the subject of this investigation. And the questions that I pose to you should not be perceived as subjecting you to an investigation.

Ms Mvuyana: Alright, noted.

Adv Bawa: There are certain matters that arise from the motion in relation to which you have knowledge. The questions are an endeavour to ascertain if you are in a position to assist the Committee in that regard.

Ms Mvuyana: Yes.

Adv Bawa: If at any stage I ask you something that you are not sure about or you do not understand the question...

Mr B Herron (Good): Chairperson?

Chairperson: Just pause, Adv Bawa. Hon Herron?

Mr Herron: Sorry, Chair. I don’t know if it’s just my system but it’s very, very difficult to hear Adv Bawa. Also I couldn’t hear Hon Gondwe when she was making input. I don’t know if there’s a problem with the mic in the Marks Building but can we get the volume increased. Sorry about that.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Herron. Just get closer, Adv Bawa, to the mic, and we’ll ask the ICT to improve the volume. Thank you for bringing that up to us.

Adv Bawa: You are employed as an investigator at the Public Protector South Africa, correct?

Ms Mvuyana: Yes, currently senior investigator though.

Adv Mpofu: Chairperson?

Chairperson: Just pause, Adv Bawa. Mr Mpofu?

Adv Mpofu: Chairperson, no, before you mute me again. I just want to say that I object to Adv Bawa asking questions. When I’ve explained that there’s a ruling of the Bar Council on this matter and that the witness would like to exercise her right to make a statement.

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Mpofu, I note your objection. This Committee of Parliament proceeds with its inquiry, we will attend to those issues. This Committee of Parliament is doing its work, which is our constitutional obligation. All of you are subjected to that process. Please proceed, Adv Bawa.

Mr J Malema (EFF): But how are you proceeding here when you are told there are issues, please speak to the issues.

Chairperson: You have not been recognised. You have not been recognised to speak and you have not even raised a hand, Hon Malema.

Mr Malema: Speak to the issues. There is no problem. Speak to the issues. He’s raising issues...

Chairperson: You are not going to do that, Hon Malema. Hon Malema, you’re going to be muted.

Mr Malema: I’m not going to do what? What will you do?

Chairperson: You can’t just speak. You raise a hand, or you call a point of order.

Mr Malema: You’re out of order. I’m calling a point of order.

Chairperson: You have not called a point of order.

Mr Malema: I’m saying, point of order.

Chairperson: Then I recognise you. Thank you, go ahead.

Mr Malema: Chair, please address the issue that Adv Mpofu is raising. You can’t just say no, we’re proceeding, when he says that there is this objection based on those issues and then you don't speak to them. You just say no, we're proceeding as this Committee of Parliament.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Malema. Firstly, your point of order is not sustained. I have noted his objection. And we're proceeding. Please proceed, Adv Bawa.

Adv Mpofu: No, Chair. Chair? Chair? I promise you this is the last time I’m going to speak.

Chairperson: I have not recognised you. I have not recognised you, and Adv Bawa is on the stand with the witness.

Adv Mpofu: Yes, I want to make a point of order, please. Before I... you won’t hear from me again.

Chairperson: Go ahead.

Adv Mpofu: Okay. Chairperson, I’m really appealing to you. I've said to you that we have a witness, who says she has not made a statement; she wishes to make a statement. We have a client who called that witness, who says that she wants the witness to proceed after making a statement. How can anyone ask her any question? She was brought here by the Public Protector. Questions for what? By who? The Public Protector, who brought her here, says that she would like to proceed on the basis of the witness having made a statement. Your Committee, probably, maybe, inadvertently misrepresented the witness, and says she said she doesn’t wish to make a statement. That's what has brought us to this point. And you are now saying that Adv Bawa must ask questions to my witness. What questions is she going to ask? There's no statement. No evidence has been led. You did not call this witness as a witness of this Committee. The evidence leaders did not call this witness. What questions are you going to ask her? Why don’t you just go and ask anyone in the street questions then, if you feel like asking questions. This is not your witness. And it’s not...

Chairperson: Thank you...

Adv Mpofu: No, just wait, please. And the point I'm simply making, Chairperson, is that what you’re doing is just wrong, you know. And at least you must know that it’s wrong, so that if you continue doing it, that’s fine. But you must know that it’s wrong. Nobody has any right to ask any questions from this witness, when the person who called the witness here, and caused her to be subpoenaed has not led the witness. And the witness, as a citizen of South Africa, has expressed a wish to make a statement. Really, Chair.

Chairperson: Thank you. Thank you, Adv Mpofu. That point of order is not sustained. And I want to indicate to you that on Monday, Ms Bianca Mvuyana took an oath, and became a witness to this inquiry and this Committee.

Adv Mpofu: Yes, but brought by us.

Chairperson: I’ve not asked for your response.

Adv Mpofu: Okay, sorry.

Chairperson: So, thank you for that. I’m going to ask Adv Bawa to proceed to interact with the witness. I see the hand of Ms Ebrahim.

Mr Malema: Yes, you must see my hand also.

Ms Ebrahim: Thank you, Chairperson. May I proceed?

Chairperson: Please go ahead.

Ms Ebrahim: Chairperson, apologies, I’ve missed some of what's transpired in the last half an hour, because I’ve been at a doctor's appointment. But if I’m understanding correctly the witness is now saying that she does wish to submit a statement. I want to point out, Chair, that fairness extends to the witness as well, and not just to the Public Protector. I just wanted to raise that perhaps consideration should be given to her if that is what she wants to do. I’m not clear as to who is expected to assist with that statement, or if she is going to want to do that herself. My understanding is that she was a witness on the Public Protector’s list, that she has been consulting with them, and so on. And of course I even made attempts to facilitate that consultation in the last few days. Thank you, Chair.

Chairperson: Thank you, Ms Ebrahim...

Adv Mpofu: Yes, we’ll make the statement ourselves.

Chairperson: I did not recognise you. Please mute, Mr Mpofu. Adv Bawa?

Mr Malema: Chair, you can’t say Adv Bawa, I’m here. I raised my hand.

Chairperson: I did not see your hand, my apology. There's no hand, I still don’t see it, but go ahead.

Mr Malema: Chair, we can't proceed in the manner you’re suggesting. It doesn’t mean when a person has taken an oath, and there are these developments, we must be blind to those developments. Allow the witness to do what she will be comfortable with. Then in that way this process becomes a fair process, even to her. I don’t know from which ethical point of view the advocate now asking questions will be coming because the other side has not led any case now. It is all fair that we allow the witness to go and make the statement, and then allow the team to lead evidence, and from there they can come and ask questions. But the way you want to proceed, you want to involve us in things that are procedurally unfair, you know. Now, the witness will proceed because even the way you speak, you speak like you intimidate people, like you own this place, like it’s a chicken farm or something. You speak to us like we are your children, or something like that. Obviously the witness is going to be intimidated that if this person can speak to people like this, who am I. Ordinarily, we should be listening to her and make her feel comfortable, and then do what she’s asked to do, allow her to do that. She's not a suspect. She's not being prosecuted. She's here to help the Committee. The Committee must help her, in order for her to help the Committee. Please, let’s not be in a rush to rush her. And let’s help her. Let's allow her to go and make a statement, Chair. I think it’s only fair that we do that.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Malema. My apologies if you feel intimidated by the Chair. Let me recognise Hon Legwase.

Mr Malema: I’ll never. You'll never intimidate me, man. You don’t qualify.

Chairperson: Hon Legwase; Hon Maneli, in that order.

Ms T Legwase (ANC): Thank you very much, Chair. Chair, sitting here, one is wondering whether Adv Mpofu is representing the witness or the Public Protector. Because on Monday, Adv Mpofu was not here, the witness did not have a problem with coming before the Committee and be questioned. Now all of a sudden, we can’t even hear the witness or we don’t even know whether the witness is saying she needs to be given a chance to go back and make a statement. Rather the views of the witness are coming to the Committee through Adv Mpofu. So really I don’t know what is happening. I'm wondering whether Adv Mpofu is representing the Public Protector and the witness as well. Thank you very much, Chairperson.

Chairperson: Hon Legwase, the witness is in session with Adv Bawa as we speak. Hon Maneli?

Mr Maneli: Thank you, Chair. I want to go back to this point just that the witness is on the platform engaging. The reason we're proceeding is that on Monday there was interaction with the witness and there was no objection. If there are new developments that have not been communicated by the subpoenaed witness. For me, it’s important, in that we shouldn’t treat it as a normal witness who could have put in a statement in November last year. We are in a different situation in terms of how the witness has cooperated with the PP’s team. That’s why the Committee was asked to come in; otherwise, it would have been voluntarily that the witness would want to cooperate. I'm saying, the witness is here, it’s not like the witness is outside somewhere, she’s on the platform. The witness herself did not say that she is unable to interact with Adv Bawa. It’s important to make that point with all the new developments spoken about, that the witness is still cooperating with the process, as subpoenaed by the Committee. Thank you.

Mr Luzipo: Thank you, Chair, I would have expected the next question would be to the witness would you now state whether you want to make a statement. If the witness then says she wants to make a statement, that is taken as an application to this Committee to be allowed to make a statement. I’m not sure now who would ask that question. But with the intervention of Legal Services, the Chair or the evidence leaders, someone must now be able to put that question to the witness. Then a ruling and a decision, or whatever, be made on the response of the witness. Sometimes the way we speak is as if the witness is not in the witness box; she’s there. I would say in legal terms if it was a judicial person sitting there, the judge would ask that question to the witness directly. And the witness will be able to respond and then the judge make a determination. So I would say, Chair, my appeal would be for the sake of the rules of fairness and equity, let’s make that consideration of the witness herself and then make a determination after that response has been received.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Luzipo. Any other Members? We are not going to speak on behalf of the witness. If the witness has difficulties, she will indicate so. For now, we have started a process with Adv Bawa interacting with the witness, and that’s what has been disrupted. We are beyond the statement issue at this stage. Adv Bawa?

Mr Malema: On a point of order, Chair.

Chairperson: Yes, Hon Malema?

Mr Malema: The last speaker's intervention, Chair. I don’t know why you have this type of attitude, really. You give yourself this attitude of thinking you can run this Committee alone without wisdom from other Members of the Committee. The last speaker said put the question to the witness. Then that’s how you close this matter. We've all said what we want to say. But since this matter has started, does she want to depose a statement or not, and then the matter gets closed.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Malema.

Mr Malema: Please Chair, take our views into consideration if you want us to feel comfortable in this Committee.

Chairperson: Well, my comfort is not dependent on any other thing except directing this Committee and providing leadership as a chair. Please don’t go there. I want to proceed, colleagues, that questions have been asked, the witness is responding to the questions. The issue of the statement is irrelevant, unless that is going to be raised. Adv Bawa?

Adv Bawa: Sorry, Ms Mvuyana. You’re on mute.

Ms Mvuyana: Yes, I am on mute.

Adv Mpofu: Chair, I’ve got my hand up for a point of order.

Chairperson: Please don’t disrupt the proceedings. We are now proceeding with the witness.

Adv Mpofu: I have my hand up, Chair. You've not been recognising.

Chairperson: You’ve had your time, Adv Mpofu. You've had your time. I've given you time. Please don’t disrupt our process.

Adv Mpofu: I’m not disrupting. It's a point of order, Chair.

Chairperson: What’s the point of order, Adv Mpofu?

Adv Mpofu: Chairperson, the Legal Advisor of Parliament has told you that you’re now violating the rights of the witness.

Chairperson: That’s not a point of order. I've ruled on that.

Adv Mpofu: No, it is.

Chairperson: That's not a point of order, Adv Mpofu. Please. The point of order is not sustained, if that's your point of order.

Adv Mpofu: I've not made it. You can’t sustain it or object. I've not made it.

Chairperson: Thank you. Adv Bawa?

Mr Malema: But Chair, he has not made his point. He has not made his point. You can’t run the meeting like that. Allow him to finish his point.

Chairperson: This is going to be the last time, Hon Malema, you just speak without being recognised. I've raised this before.

Mr Malema: What’s going to happen, Chair?

Chairperson: Please mute Hon Malema. Adv Bawa?

Adv Mpofu: Chair?

Chairperson: Adv Bawa?

Adv Bawa: Ms Mvuyana?

Ms Mvuyana: Yes, Ms Bawa.

Adv Bawa: How are you?

Ms Mvuyana: I’m good, thanks. How are you?

Adv Bawa: I’m good. So Ms Mvuyana, you have been subpoenaed to appear before the Committee. And you did indicate on Monday to the Committee that you did so because you didn’t want to come to the Committee as anybody's witness. Did I understand you correctly?

Ms Mvuyana: Yes, you did. I’m not a witness. I am assisting the Committee. But in my understanding, I’ve been subpoenaed on behalf of the Public Protector’s team. So the reason for the issue of the statement is that yesterday we consulted with the team. We ventilated the issues and discussed what would be brought forward, and what questions would be asked. At the end of the consultation, as Mr Mpofu has said, he then asked why I had refused to make a statement. I then said I have never refused to make a statement. The time that I was called to make the statement, which was on Friday... one of the representatives of the PP. We then arranged to have a consultation on that Saturday morning at ten o’clock. On Saturday, they did not communicate the next move, which I then find out on Monday was because of non-payment, et cetera. Now I'm not involved of course in those issues. And once we realised that there was a misunderstanding of some sort, we have then agreed that, no, a statement is a better route to go, to present the evidence that is needed by the Committee because there was not enough time for us yesterday to ventilate all those issues. So the reason for me not communicating, I had not been asked the question whether or not I want to make a statement by the Committee. Everyone is speaking over me, and unfortunately, I don’t know how to raise a hand on this platform, I don’t think I have the ability to, I think it’s controlled by either Fatima. Now that I do have an opportunity to speak, I would like to make a statement before proceeding. Then we can proceed with any other questions that you may have...Adv Bawa. Thank you. We can continue. The Chair will make a rule. Thank you.

Adv Bawa: Ms Mvuyana, can I just clarify one other thing. I was advised that when Ms Ebrahim contacted you, she told you that you were entitled to put in a statement. She didn’t offer for the evidence leaders to assist you with the statement because you were on the confirmed witness list. You confirm that she did indicate to you that you were entitled to put in a statement?

Ms Mvuyana: She did. I indicated that I will only proceed even to start drafting a statement once the subpoena is issued. That subpoena as I’m saying was issued on Friday morning. That’s when I was contacted and we set up a time to do the statement.

Adv Bawa: So it is quite correct that when the Secretary informed the Members that you had opted not to put in a statement, which is the wording in the email, it actually is correct because by the time that’s...

Adv Mpofu: No, Chairperson. No, no, no...

Chairperson: No, no, no, please.

Adv Mpofu: We can’t abuse witnesses like this.

Chairperson: Adv Bawa, please proceed. Mute Adv Mpofu.

Mr Malema: Adv Bawa is out of order. She's out of order.

Chairperson: Mute both of them.

Adv Bawa: Ms Mvuyana, when the Secretary indicated to Members that you had opted not to put in a statement, it wouldn't be wrong, because by Sunday, there was no statement before the Committee. Would that be correct?

Ms Mvuyana: It is...

Adv Mpofu: No, Chair...

Adv Bawa: I’m sorry. Chair...

Chairperson: Adv Mpofu, please stop what you’re doing. Stop what you’re doing. There's an interaction between Adv Bawa and the witness. You have no business of coming in between that. Please continue...

Mr Malema: He has the right. He has the right.

Chairperson: Continue muting both of them.

Adv Mpofu: I have a right to object.

Mr Malema: He has the right to object. You can’t stop him from objecting.

Chairperson: Okay, let me just do this. Hon Malema, I've warned you. Hon Malema, I have warned you. You are now doing what you should not be doing. You are deliberately disrespecting the Committee Chairperson. And you in your own way you want to render this session dysfunctional. I’m warning you. Proceed, Adv Bawa.

Adv Mpofu: I have an objection.

Adv Bawa: Adv Mpofu, just let me take this...

Adv Mpofu: Yes, well you are not muted. I need to object.

Adv Bawa: Ms Mvuyana, you indicated that you only got the subpoena on Friday 10 February, but I’m told that the subpoena was served on 4 February. Is there some misunderstanding between the Secretariat and yourself?

Adv Mpofu: Chair, do you want us not to participate in this meeting?

Ms Mvuyana: Let me... I’m just checking my dates. Yes, it was on the 3rd, on the 10th... yes, on the 3rd. On the 3rd. The email was sent via my PR, who’s the provincial representative. I then received a call on that same Friday to arrange.

Mr Thembinkosi Ngoma, Committee Secretary: Chairperson, sorry to interject in your meeting, maybe we should ask IT to stop muting the venue, because when Adv Bawa was speaking, I’m sure no one could hear her because the venue was muted. Thank you, Chair.

Chairperson: Thank you. It’s not the venue that must be muted. I indicate who must be muted.

Ms Mvuyana: Can I proceed?

Adv Mpofu: So you’re muting the Public Protector then?

Adv Bawa: The question I asked the witness [while the venue was muted] was, "Ms Mvuyana, would you feel more comfortable in assisting the Committee in dealing with the motion before the Committee by providing a statement to the Committee?"

Ms Mvuyana: That you asked?

Adv Bawa: That is the question I asked. Would you as the witness prefer to make a statement to the Committee?

Ms Mvuyana: Yes.

Adv Bawa: Would you prefer that the Public Protector’s legal team assist you in making that statement? Or would you prefer making that statement on your own?

Ms Mvuyana: The Public Protector’s legal team.

Adv Bawa: Chair, I think in the circumstances and given the witness’s preference; my view is she should be allowed to make the statement.

Chairperson: Okay. Thank you, Adv Bawa. Before I summarise and make a ruling... Members so I don’t close you out, any of you want to make a view? Hon Nqola, Hon Sukers.

Mr Nqola: Well, thank you, Chair, I think in all fairness that as the witness indicated that she would like to make a statement and be assisted by the Public Protector legal team, we can only honour that wish. All I would like to check is how long will that take us so that we’re able to blend the Committee programme? Remember today was two sessions; the second one starts at 4pm. How long is that process allowed? So that we understand better when we come back? Thank you.

Chairperson: Thank you. I’ll respond on the process, don’t worry. Hon Sukers?

Ms Sukers: Yes, Chair. I wanted to ask the same question. But also to note, Chair, for the whole morning you have in your ruling made it very clear whose responsibility it was for the witness to be prepared and for the statement to be drafted. I think it should be noted then because we cannot ignore the fact that it is part of the accountability, part of the Public Protector and a duty to Parliament, that this hearing here forms part. The preparation of the witness, the statement that needed to be made, and the concessions and accommodations that were made by this Committee should also be recognise. And then so should the responsibilities that were not executed be noted as well, and what the impact of that should be as to the working of the Committee. I think also in light of what has been bandied about in the last two weeks on the costs of this Committee and its duration and how it affects the budget of the Public Protector South Africa. It’s within that light, to note all of that, and the Committee should consider those. Thank you.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Gondwe?

Dr Gondwe: Chair, I was going to request through you, and I think I made this request previously. We should look into what legal recourse we have as a Committee because I’m starting to get concerned that some of these episodes are actually intended to delay and frustrate our work as the Committee; they're preventing us from doing our work. We can’t come here and sit here from nine o’clock until this time, and we’ve done nothing in this time except to go back and forth on matters that could have been resolved in a backroom or raised earlier. No, this is out of order, Chair. Please, Chair, look into what legal recourse we have as a Committee. We are being prevented from doing our work by these intermittent delays, these constant delays, some of which I believe have been done on purpose. This issue could have been resolved. It was their responsibility to prepare this witness statement. So why was it not done before?

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Gondwe. Hon Siwela?

Ms Siwela: Thank you, Chairperson. Let’s accept that she be given an opportunity to make a statement, but I'm happy about the dates which have been clarified that it was not Friday 10th, it was on the 3rd, I wanted us to note that. Thank you, Chairperson.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Siwela. Hon Luzipo?

Mr Luzipo: It's just a point of clarity; maybe it will assist the Committee going forward. A definition may assist of what is a subpoenaed witness, or on what grounds is a witness subpoenaed because I may make a layman’s interpretation of a subpoenaed witness, that it is an antagonistic witness. It must be clarified because we will have a problem in future thinking that. To me, the reasons and conditions that make you to be subpoenaed still remain relevant in your participation as a witness. Thank you.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Luzipo. Hon Maneli?

Mr Maneli: Thanks, Chair. Riding on that, I want to come back to the point I raised earlier that this matter then be entertained at some point. I think Hon Luzipo raises this not only for this witness, but also for the other witnesses, that wanting the Committee to intervene leaves an impression that that witness is antagonistic. But from what the witness has given us thus far is the highest level of cooperation with the Public Protector’s team. That then talks to the question as to whether we postpone on the basis that there is no preparedness, because that’s different from just a statement. From what the witness says - there was an arrangement immediately, she waited but that arrangement was not honoured by those that need to make the preparation. Now this talks to the time that you will allocate to get that preparation done. If there’s commitment to move forward, those matters need to be cleared. This includes this communication that Hon Gondwe talks about that at least when you see that there’s going to be problems, and that’s what has happened before, you will communicate that there may be problems because it is not just the time we spend here and the costs and all that, but it talks to the functioning of a committee. You come to a meeting to postpone it instead of coming to a meeting to proceed with the business of that meeting when it is also not really in the purview of the Committee to prepare your own witness. You had the responsibility to set up the time and you do not keep to that time. So as you make the ruling, even about time, I think let’s keep that in mind. You still have other witnesses that may be subpoenaed. How do you treat that when we now know there's a level of cooperation. Things can still proceed. Thank you.

Adv Mpofu: Chairperson?

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Maneli. I now recognise Hon Nkosi. Please mute Mr Mpofu because he has not been recognised, and he has not even raised a hand. Hon Nkosi?

Adv Mpofu: My hand has been raised.

Chairperson: Members are speaking. Members are speaking. Please mute him. Hon Nkosi, go ahead.

Mr Nkosi: Thank you, Chairperson, and thank you to all Hon Members and the Public Protector’s team, and the staff. Chairperson, the Committee has seriously raised the question of what recourse we have, as Hon Gondwe has stated several times, as prompted by the actions of the Public Protector and her legal team. I previously suggested that perhaps we need to go back to the National Assembly to give us a deadline for the conclusion of this process, and we work within that deadline, in terms of its rules but also these particular directives issued and penned and agreed to by ourselves. How we are going to ensure that we finish this task within a reasonable time, based on the resolution of those that constituted us? Oh, and I think the legal team, your legal team, Chair, and the Secretariat have said that it is not possible, but I think that we should be able to get a declarator that says the Public Protector must participate in this process without further delay, and without raising unreasonable hindrances to the process. And such a legal process be examined further by your legal team. It’s not enough to say we must be fair, we trying to be fair. We’re trying to keep quiet in this meeting, we’re trying to listen to you; we don't interject. But really, we are now abused to a point where we cannot take it – beyond what is happening in this Committee. The second thing, Chair, in relation to the process now, I think that for future witnesses, as Hon Maneli and Luzipo indicate, it should be clarified why a subpoena is issued – what the purpose of that subpoena is and what is expected of that person. That at all times as we respect the rights of everybody in this Committee, even those that interject and whatever, at whatever point without being invited to do so, that the bounds of our directives and the rules relating to subpoenas should be adhered to, to the fullest. The third point, which is an appeal, I think more to the Public Protector as a person who appears and takes accountability in this Committee and in Parliament, to ask of her legal representatives, particularly Adv Mpofu to moderate language. There’s no school, Chairperson, we were taught insults, where we were taught to be disrespectful, there’s no such a school. Which means anybody can do it. But the rules of this legislature require that language that we use be appropriate, and not only appropriate, but be the correct language that is utilised in engaging in discussions. I appeal to the Public Protector, to bring to the attention of her legal representative that this is a serious process. She knows she would not go to the Portfolio Committee on Justice, and behave in the manner her legal representative is doing in this Committee. Chair, that’s my appeal. If it is not adhered to, we can resort to the same ourselves. We can resort to the same ourselves. There’s no school that teaches insults. Thanks Chair.

Chairperson: Thank you very much, Hon Nkosi. I just want to indicate the following, colleagues, just firstly on this issue, Members having spoken. So I summarise what you’re saying and try and give a ruling. Maybe before I get to that point, Hon Nkosi you will be pleased to know that we actually are on a countdown now as this inquiry. After tomorrow, or today, and we’ll deal with that matter, we are left with three witnesses, Mr Mataboge, Prof Madonsela and the Public Protector. The National Assembly has long given us a deadline, and we keep revising it based on things that are beyond our control. As things stand, the outcome of this process  has got to be in front of the National Assembly by end of April. That’s a very clear indication of the kind of work that is now outstanding, that needs to be done. So whoever thought that there’s a luxury of stretching things and elasticity, we’ve got to attend to that differently. So before I come to this ruling to indicate that on Tuesday this Committee is going to be hearing Mr Mataboge as a witness. So far, that’s a witness we have for the few days next week. The next date of a witness is 1 March. Prof Madonsela has confirmed 1 March to come to the Committee and give testimony. The draft programme that you have has also provided indicative dates of when the Public Protector must come in front of this Committee, and that’s what we have submitted. So we are not working on an open-ended process. We were very clear in that regard. And whoever thinks that we are going to be open-ended must review that thinking. As to what you have just said in relation to this witness, the time for this witness in being subpoenaed ends today, okay. Having listened to you bringing this firmness in approach, which is important, therefore, the future continuation of this witness from today is going to be indefinite. Firstly, it will depend on the Committee. The Committee must again discuss the issues you have raised, colleagues, that you have picked up. The Committee must discuss about whether we are going to re-subpoena this witness. And it will place in front of it all of the issues that you have raised here. It is the decision of the Committee. So there’s going to be no date here that will be given about this witness coming back. Hence, I’m saying it’s indefinite, because it’s subject to that discussion of the Committee and the Committee taking a decision. And it could take any decision when it meets. Looking at issues of relevance and everything else, that’s in the domain of the Committee, nobody else. So when we convene that meeting, that’s what the Committee is going to do. Therefore, if you’re postponing today, it’s indefinite. Therefore, next week proceeds as planned on Tuesday with Mr Mataboge and so on. I’ve already indicated what happens on 1 March; I've indicated what the draft programme says. So it's in our hands as a Committee, we're going to discuss that. Now that the time for the subpoena has lapsed by today, it’s not automatic that you just extend it in that particular way. So I want to say to the Committee, we still have a space to discuss that. I hear all of you Hon Members, including the scenarios that you are painting Hon Maneli, about whether this still constitutes a subpoenaed witness or voluntary witness, and so on. We hear all of that. But let’s not get into that point now. I hope I’m addressing your point, therefore, Hon Nqola, about the process. When I say it’s indefinite, the Committee must discuss it, and satisfy itself, having gone through this process. Remember, when we discuss anybody that you subpoena, we get into those issues of relevance – why this witness is being subpoenaed. We’re going to have to do that as the Committee and now you’ve got with you this kind of experience in dealing with that. When releasing you later on, Ms Mvuyana is not going to be given a date of when she’s coming here. That timeline issue that you’re talking about, all of those issues, if she’s continuing to be a subpoenaed witness, will depend on the Committee. That’s a request that came to the Committee, hence she was here today. So as I summarise, it's very clear that... and it’s put very clear by the witness here, that the witness...

Adv Mpofu: Can we be unmuted? Can we be unmuted, Chair?

Chairperson: You’ll only be unmuted when you have to speak. Please mute him because I’m on the chair. The witness has been very clear that...could have been not available at some point but became available. And that those who are supposed to have assisted her, did not do that. And in this case, it’s not just a general issue. It’s important to make this point and I’ll make it as a Chair, that the poor time management of the Public Protector team to interact with this witness cannot be passed on to the Committee. It can’t happen. The factory fault we know where it happened, it can’t be passed on to this Committee. The witness has just confirmed that she would have been available the next day, there was no comeback. Not from the evidence leaders, because they’ve got nothing to do with that. It is the Public Protector legal team – has got to be placed on record firmly here. These are some of the things that we’re going to have to take into account as we deliberate in the Committee for the possible future coming-back of this witness if she has to be subpoenaed. Making that point quite firmly, it’s clear that at this stage, based on your own contributions as Members that we have to release Ms Mvuyana as a witness today. There's one or two other points we need to attend to that I want to bring to the attention of Members – the issue about Mr Malunga that I want Members to speak on having received his affidavit. But before I do that, I will recognise both Adv Mpofu and Adv Bawa, in that order.

Adv Mpofu: No, no, no, thank you very much, Chairperson. We are happy that sanity has prevailed. What I just wanted to indicate is that, and I take your point, Chair, that there's an indefinite deferment, for lack of a better word, we lawyers call it sine die, without a date. But we will maybe reduce this to writing, because we need your guidance as to whether we should proceed or not to take the statement, so that we don't have a repeat of this problem, if and when the decision is made. But I’m sure that will be part of your deliberations. What is not true is what you have recorded, that we did not avail ourselves to consult with the witness. The witness received the things on the 3rd and after that she was sick and unavailable to both ourselves and Fatima, as Fatima has correctly confirmed. Only on Friday 10th, with the assistance of Fatima, were we able to reach the witness. She then explained that her child was sick and she was sick as well. At that point, the Public Protector, the rest you know, the Public Protector explained it to you on Monday. And that’s how we got to this point. The factory fault was your message on Sunday, which said that the witness has opted not to make a statement, which was false. That’s what brought us to this point, Chair. But be that as it may, we are committed to assisting in a fair and reasonable process going forward, you can be assured of that. And when we’re no longer able to do so, you’ll be the first one to know. As far as the... well, I don't know what the issue is with Mr Malunga, but we will await your communication. Yes, that’s all, Chair. And I just want to say that, really that’s all we want to say, is that we're happy that sanity has prevailed. And we were told that the other issue that we raised about the letter was going to be deferred until... well, there was a proposal until Monday. So can we also get your guidance as to when it will be opportune to raise that issue, because we still feel very strongly about it?

Chairperson: Thank you, Adv Bawa?

Adv Bawa: In light of some concerns raised by Members about the absence of a statement, and maybe some of them feeling very nervous about the witness appearing here without a statement. Mr Mataboge is coming to give evidence on Tuesday, as a witness called by the Committee, on the back of Ms Mvuyana having indicated that she’s not prepared to give evidence if the Chief Investigator to whom she reported is not giving evidence. That’s fair comment because there is a chain of command within the PPSA. Mr Mataboge has been very clear to us, even though we will be leading him in evidence, that he is not prepared to make a statement. He is not under subpoena but he is coming to give evidence willingly. He’s prepared to assist the Committee, but he’s not prepared to make a statement. So I'm going to be flying somewhat in the dark on Tuesday and Adv Mpofu will be cross examining maybe less in the dark, because he would have a bit more background as to what’s going on. So what I’m suggesting is we don’t have a repeat of this on Tuesday, because we have a witness who has indicated to us that he won't make a statement. That’s the first issue. The second issue we must probably hear Adv Mpofu on. Prof Madonsela is scheduled to testify on 1 March. It is the 16th today. She has been approached by the Committee, subsequent to Adv Mpofu asking that she be subpoenaed. She has indicated to the Committee that she’s willing to give evidence. She is strictly speaking coming to the Committee at the behest of Adv Mpofu. Again, she’s not coming as a witness called by the evidence leaders on behalf of the Committee. Adv Mpofu needs to clarify with us whether he wants to consult with her and do a statement between now and whatever the seven days is, and whether any overtures have been made to Prof Madonsela, to see whether she's prepared to give him a statement or not. She has indicated to the Secretariat that if she does a statement, she would require some assistance. The evidence leaders are understandably reticent about doing that statement, in circumstances that she's been called as a witness on behalf of the PP. The third thing I want to raise before Adv Mpofu comes in, is that while I am...

Chairperson: He’s not going to come in. It is the Chair who is going to indicate that.

Adv Mpofu: You can’t have the one side...

Chairperson: Please proceed

Adv Bawa: Chair, on the third issue, we required some clarity which we’d like to...

Chairperson: Just mute Mpofu, please.

Adv Mpofu: No, why are you muting me now? Why?

Adv Bawa: Chair, I still have the floor. I think it’s important for the continued proceedings, that this be clarified now in open, in the event it doesn’t get resolved behind the scenes and we have another difficulty. The third issue is that Mr Mataboge is scheduled for Tuesday, we have the next witness Prof Madonsela scheduled for the 1st. I’m going to suggest to Adv Mpofu, with lead from the Chair, that between us we resolve a date that if he wishes Ms Mvuyana gives evidence, that we try and resolve a date she can be scheduled in between that for purposes of seeing if we can approach the Committee so that we don't go beyond the 1st. We have some days which we are not scheduled to sit and I'm taking the liberty, Chair, of saying that if Adv Mpofu and myself can see if we can resolve it in a backroom meeting for purposes of making sure that we don’t have a delay in Committee proceedings, if and when her statement arrives. That we have a schedule by when that statement arrives, so that a decision can be taken in relation thereto. We would ideally not want the statement to arrive after the 1st and then a request comes for her to give oral evidence – when it can comfortably be fitted into the schedule prior to the 1st.

Chairperson: All of the issues you’re raising that are possibly "back room" are not going to be discussed here. I hope that you can continue that because this Committee can’t be transformed into brainstorming those background issues.

Adv Bawa: Chair, on a point of clarity. It is not a backroom issue that can be resolved between us in respect of Prof Madonsela, because as you see how things happened today, some of the things aren’t even raised in the backroom. We had no idea the witness wished to make a statement today.

Chairperson: I’m asking that you deal with those issues with the Public Protector legal team and you can interact with the Chair, because this Committee is not getting into those issues. Not in this meeting. Hon Nqola?

Mr Nqola: Chair, I want to get into a different thing. But equally I think when Adv Mpofu says he’s happy that sanity prevailed. I am confident that he is not suggesting that there is anyone who’s insane here. Nevertheless, Chair, now that he mentioned Adv Malunga, whose affidavit was circulated to Members this morning. So having interacted with that evidence, Chair, in all the four charges stipulated, he just says he has no knowledge about them, in all the four of them. Now, it made me question the relevance of the evidence he is going to give. So if it does not disadvantage the Public Protector, I would actually propose that we take that evidence as written evidence, as the Committee, that we don’t take him to come and accuse oral evidence, because from what I’ve seen in the affidavit, it will not, it will definitely not help us as the Committee. Thank you very much. I wanted to propose that, Chair. Thank you.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Nqola. Hon Nkosi?... You are muted Hon Nkosi, you are self-muted.

Mr Nkosi: No, you don’t have to mute me, Chairperson. Chair, I agree with the issues raised by Hon Nqola. But the point I wanted to raise is in relation to Prof Madonsela, if you allow. But if you think that this is a matter that should be addressed in the back room, it’s fine.

Chairperson: Go ahead, Nkosi.

Mr Nkosi: No, Chair. I suggest that if Prof Madonsela appears before us when she does on the 1st, if the Public Protector experiences similar problems as we did with this witness today, that we take a firm decision now that we will not proceed with her beyond that day. I can foresee that there’s not going to be agreement between her and the Public Protector, and they’re going to come here and raise issues that are irrelevant. So my suggestion is that, at that point, we take a decision we’re not proceeding with Adv Madonsela.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Nkosi. Hon Maneli and Gondwe.

Mr Maneli: Thanks, Chair. I think the first point is to really agree with you that matters that need the backroom, would have to be dealt with there. We’re raising the same point that if there was communication, we would not convene a meeting to postpone it. It affects the functioning of the Committee; I want to emphasise that point. Hon Nkosi has spoken about the other witness. As I said, it’s also about the future witnesses that are going to come before the Committee. But I wanted to clarify in agreeing with Hon Nqola on the other witness that was to be called, Mr Malunga, that, Chair, if you remember, this witness arose out of a discussion – not because this witness was on the Public Protector’s list. Based on relevance looking at the period that is being dealt with, this would have probably been a suitable person to be considered. But when you look at the affidavit, I think it’s indeed accepted as information shared with the Committee but not really to come and give oral evidence on matters that he would not even have information. So that will kill the relevance for the Committee. I thought I should firm up the point so that we do not get back to a discussion – who any way was not part of the list of those that needed to even be subpoenaed. That’s why I recommended our approach. Thank you.

Chairperson: Thank you, Hon Maneli. Hon Gondwe?

Dr Gondwe: Thank you very much, Chair. I agree with Hon Nkosi. And also appeal to you Chair, to please let’s explore the legal options or the possible recourse we have as a Committee, because we cannot continue in this fashion anymore. It has really become an untenable and really frustrated situation. We have been deployed by our respective parties. We did not just decide that we’re going to be on this Committee. We’re deployed here to do our work, and I feel like at every turn, we are being frustrated. We sat through six applications. It was a recusal application, it was a postponement application, all forms of applications and now we're encountering hurdles in terms of getting witnesses to give the evidence. So please, Chair, I implore you as Committee Chairperson. It’s time to take a hard line and be firm in terms of us being able to do our job. We are being frustrated here. It’s deliberate and a concerted effort to frustrate the work of this Committee, and time is not on our side. And we shouldn't be found wanting when it comes to fulfilling our responsibilities as Members of Parliament. If Adv Mpofu, the Public Protector and her team really valued the principle of accountability, they would subject themselves to this process, which I think has been fair. In fact, we have given so many concessions in this process. It's really unfair. We have been patient, we have been tolerant, and Chair, you’ve been very accommodating, but enough is enough.

Chairperson: Thank you very much, Hon Gondwe. Those words, take them to heart. Indeed, I think our next ordinary Committee meeting – which we will have to communicate – is going to have to deal with some of these issues quite concretely. We might have to look into our diary next week to prioritise that meeting. Hearing from you, as Members, is a clear indication, there’s no objection to the suggestion that we take the affidavit of Mr Malunga as read and in written, and not necessarily have oral evidence, there is no objection to that to you as Members. So that’s the first point... Just a pause. Adv Mpofu?

Adv Mpofu: Yes, Mr Dyantyi?

Chairperson: You are very deliberate, Mr Mpofu, for disrupting this meeting. You are muted.

Adv Mpofu: What have I done? What did I do now?

Chairperson: You know what you’ve done.

Adv Mpofu: No, you just called me. What did I do?

Chairperson: You are doing it deliberately. You are muted, you unmute yourself. Mute him again please. On the issue of Mr Malunga, I think the Committee is clear that we’re doing away with the oral evidence of tomorrow. Agreed, Members? Thank you. Secondly, because we're only meeting on Tuesday, if you agree that perhaps Monday becomes important, as suggested, we can do that, because Monday then means we are going to be discussing this issue of Ms Mvuyana. And now there’s an issue of the former Public Protector. So as the Committee we'll discuss that as well. Remember that was also our decision to have her come. Can we agree that, amongst other things, those are the two things we’re going to be focusing on. Whatever outcome that the Committee will come up with, it will be a decision of the Committee, as we proceed. I’m hoping that we check our diaries and say let’s leave here knowing on Monday we do this, because it’s going to be a virtual session of the ordinary Committee. You empower the Chair to do that, so we proceed with the matters properly. I’ve already addressed the Mvuyana issue that’s on our agenda on Monday. Adv Bawa successfully smuggled this issue of Adv Madonsela, so it’s now going to be attended to in that way. I think that’s where we’re going to leave it, but before that, I see a hand of Mr Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you. Thank you, sir. Yes, no, I don’t... I want to place on record that what you are doing once again is completely illegal. You have no right to mute the legal representative of the Public Protector, because that’s the same as muting her. I’ve done nothing for you to treat me like that or to treat me differently...

Mr Nqola: Chairperson?

Chairperson: There’s a point of order.

Adv Mpofu: And now you’re going to allow me to be interrupted?

Chairperson: There is a point of order.

Mr Nqola: No, Chair. We have been lenient and patient with this situation. It's not true that you don’t have a right to mute anyone in this Committee, because you are the presiding officer. The directives actually stipulate that properly. So it's not true, it’s misleading, it’s wasting our time. We've been patient...

Adv Mpofu: Which directive? Which directive is that?

Mr Nqola: We have been patient with this situation. You speak through the Chair, the directive is saying that. And the ruling of the Chair is final, that’s what the directives are saying. No, man. So...

Adv Mpofu: I’m raising a point of order.

Chairperson: The Member is on the platform. You're out of order, Adv Mpofu. Mr Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu: Alright.

Mr Nqola: Chair, can you please proceed with this inquiry as we go towards the end, in a manner that is respectful, in a manner that is assisting that process. Please.

Mr Nkosi: Chairperson? Chairperson, my apologies for getting in. I propose you close the meeting...

Chairperson: Okay, we can’t hear you. Yes, your line is bad... Thank you, Mr Nkosi and thank you, Hon Nqola, both of you. I’m going to allow Mr Mpofu to conclude what he was saying. And then I’ll take your directives.

Adv Mpofu: Thank you. Thank you, Chair. Yes, we need to be patient and not run away from the truth. I was saying, Chair, thank you, before I was rudely interrupted, that you... I don’t know what directive Hon Nqola is talking about, which says that you can just willy-nilly mute people, particularly legal representatives...

Chairperson: Please don’t go back to that point Mr Mpofu. Don’t go back to that point.

Adv Mpofu: I’m not going back. It was the point I was making when I was interrupted. What do you mean I’m going back?

Chairperson: I’m going to address you on that. Please proceed.

Mr Nkosi: Close the meeting. Close the meeting, Chair.

Adv Mpofu: Now you are allowing...

Chairperson: Thank you, Mr Nkosi. I will attend to that. If you have no other points to raise Mr Mpofu? If you have no other points to raise...

Mr Nkosi: It’s our meeting, Chair. You can close the meeting.

Adv Mpofu: Chair, why don’t you stop Mr Nkosi...

Chairperson: Okay, thank you, Mr Nkosi. Please mute Mr Nkosi, as well. If you have no other points to raise Mr Mpofu, I’m going to stop you there.

Adv Mpofu: I have other points. I raised the points earlier; you just ignored them. I said to you, when you said you are going to tell us when the issue of the letter was going to be attended to. You have not done so. I raised it before, you ignored it. You’ve also raised an issue about the witness Malunga; you have not asked for our view; we are a part of this Committee. Instead, you ordered for us to be muted. Even if we were to support or have comments, you have, you know, disregarded the rights of the Public Protector to participate in this process by muting me, and by extension meaning her. That’s the point. Those are the two points that are outstanding on our side. But yes, we’re not going to allow ourselves to be abused by you or anybody.

Chairperson: Thank you. Thank you. Hon Siwela? Hon Siwela?

Ms Siwela: Chair, I was proposing closure. Thank you.

Chairperson: Okay, no, I get the closure. Let me just... Hon Members we have our meeting on... Mr Luzipo? You might be helping me here.

Mr Luzipo: The rest shall wait for the in-house meeting, but we must note one thing, the directives that we adopted here are not above the Rules of the National Assembly. And the Rules of the National Assembly are clear. Thank you, Chair.

Chairperson: Thank you. Hon Maneli?

Mr Maneli: Thank you, Chair. Whilst you determine the time and all that, for the meeting. We shouldn’t lose the earlier discussion. That we may know about your letter, but we do not know about the written response to your letter. Therefore, in discussion, we have to have both in that scope. So that determination of time is also qualified in that sense, because you need to know that aspect so that there’s commitment to that response, and those facts could then be verified. So I just thought as you are closing, it shouldn't be just like one side. But at least that commitment for that response should also be there – that we will have both. Thank you.

Chairperson: No, thank you, Hon Maneli. I hope that by the end of the day, today or tomorrow, we’ll be receiving the much talked-about response in a written form, so that the Committee when it meets would also deal with all those issues, and everything else will be subject. There will be a communication after such a Committee meeting. We will also formally after this meeting communicate the postponement of tomorrow’s hearing with Mr Malunga. With that, thank you colleagues. The time now is seven minutes to one. The meeting is adjourned.

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