“My lawyers need more time to prepare.”
Johannesburg – Former Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) interim board chair Judge Nana Makhubele has pushed for the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture to further postpone her testimony as she said her lawyers were not ready to handle her matter.
Makhubele was on Monday expected to take the hot seat and answer to allegations of wrongdoing during her tenure after several witnesses had implicated her.
Makhubela’s new attorney of record, Mxolisi Nxasana, said he had only received instructions on Saturday and that the senior counsel she specifically requested for her matter would only be ready to represent her by mid-September.
Makhubele was scheduled to appear last month but failed as her lawyers said she was traumatised by a tyre burst she experienced with her car on her way from Limpopo to Pretoria.
On July 24, commission chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, issued a directive that Makhubele files several affidavits before the commission relating to her tenure at the helm of Prasa by last Wednesday and also directed her to personally appear before the commission on August 3 to testify.
Makhubele has been accused of abusing her position as the chairperson of the then interim board to push for controversial payments of contractors.
Evidence leader Advocate Vas Soni told the commission on Friday that the legal team had received nothing from Judge Makhubele on Wednesday and that only on Thursday did they receive an affidavit accompanied by annexures from her, and not from her attorneys as expected.
“Subsequently we also received a notice of motion. The effect of that application read together with that notice of motion is that Judge Makhubele requests that the directive be amended and effectively not be in the terms that it is. She asks that she be given until the 3rd of August to file her responding affidavit and that she only appear on the 8th of August,” Soni said on Friday.
The legal team has opposed the application, and Justice Zondo insisted that he was on Monday still expecting Judge Makhubela, whose lawyers had withdrawn as attorneys of record for her.
On Monday, Nxasana said Judge Makhubela needed the postponement to secure senior counsel for her matter because of its potential repercussions as the allegations against her were already before the Judicial Conduct Tribunal where she could be impeached as the seating judge if found guilty.
Justice Zondo, however, argued that Judge Makhubele had long been aware of the allegations against her, adding there were many other witnesses who had to appear before the commission.
“It is very difficult for me to see, on what you have submitted for me to see the reason to postpone,” he said.
The inquiry continues.