Home South African Mkhwebane: Truthfulness of subpoenaed witness called into question

Mkhwebane: Truthfulness of subpoenaed witness called into question

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The truthfulness of a former senior investigator at the Office of the Public Protector, Tebogo Kekana, has been called into question during cross-examination.

Former senior investigator Tebogo Kekana, who was testifying virtually before the Committee for Section 194 Enquiry into Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane fitness to hold office. Picture: Screenshot

CAPE TOWN – The truthfulness of a former senior investigator at the Office of the Public Protector, Tebogo Kekana, has been called into question during cross-examination.

On Tuesday, Kekana was testifying before Parliament’s Committee for Section 194 Enquiry into advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.

Kekana, who was originally unwilling to testify and had to be subpoenaed, is involved in a Labour Court matter in a bid to be reinstated.

Until his dismissal, he was employed in Mkhwebane’s office as an investigator, where he was tasked with making notes and recording meetings.

Reading from the script of the disciplinary hearing against Kekana, advocate Dali Mpofu SC asked Kekana to confirm whether his dismissal from the public protector’s office was because of dishonesty. Kekana said that he was found guilty of the unauthorised disclosure of confidential information.

Unsatisfied with the answer, Mpofu repeated the question three times, and asked for a yes or no answer, but continued getting the same reply until committee chairperson Qubudile Dyantyi (ANC) and some committee members interrupted the questioning.

Dyantyi said Kekana had answered the question, even if the response was not to Mpofu’s liking, while Freedom Front Plus MP Corné Mulder said that if Mpofu was unhappy with the reply from Kekana, he should supply the witness with the answer he wanted.

It fell to GOOD Party MP Brett Herron to point out that Kekana was not replying to the specific question Mpofu had asked.

Herron said: “The witness has been asked to confirm that in a disciplinary finding, there is a paragraph that says the witness was found to be dishonest. I don’t understand why he can’t answer yes or no. It’s in the finding.”

Eventually, after the transcript of the hearing was shared publicly, showing the phrase “this indicated dishonesty on his part”, Kekana admitted this was the finding made.

After Mpofu completed his cross-examination, Kekana was subjected to questions from committee members who wanted to know, among other things, how he had come to work for Mkhwebane in the first place, and what his working relationship with her was like. Among the charges against Mkhwebane is that she “intimidated, harassed or victimised staff”, including Kekana.

Kekana said he was approached by the human resources department and asked if he would be keen to work in Mkhwebane’s private office, and when he said he was keen, he was moved from the quality assurance section where he’d been working, to work directly with her.

He said he did not view the move as a promotion but as a transfer, and that initially they had a cordial relationship, but this cooled following the contentious public protector’s report concerning the Bankorp/Absa bailout scandal, which was dismissed by the Constitutional Court in 2019.

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