Home South African Mkhwebane’s legal team has concerns of a ‘sinister threat’, fearing cybersecurity breach

Mkhwebane’s legal team has concerns of a ‘sinister threat’, fearing cybersecurity breach

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Suspended Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s lawyer advocate Dali Mpofu, SC, has shared his concerns about “sinister forces” threatening his and his client’s cybersecurity.

Advocate Dali Mpofu complained about a cybersecurity breach. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Mpofu raised the issue during the testimony by a former senior investigator at the Public Protector’s Office, Tebogo Kekana, who had been subpoenaed to appear before the committee

Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s lawyer advocate Dali Mpofu, SC, has shared his concerns about “sinister forces” threatening his and his client’s cybersecurity.

Mpofu said he had found his emails and telephone communications had been blocked since Sunday, and he told committee chairperson Qubudile Dyantyi (ANC) that he wanted this placed on record.

He said: “It is quite serious and we think we are the target of dirty tricks.”

Mpofu raised the issue during the testimony by a former senior investigator at the Public Protector’s Office, Tebogo Kekana, who had been subpoenaed to appear before the committee for Section 194 Inquiry hearings into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.

Kekana, who attended the hearings virtually, was being led in his testimony by the inquiry’s evidence leader advocate Nazreen Bawa, SC, who had inadvertently shared Mkhwebane’s private email address on the screen while going through Kekana’s affidavit.

It was this inadvertent act that caused Mpofu to interrupt the proceedings and request that the information be removed from the screen.

“We object to the gratuitous display of advocate Mkhwebane’s private address on the screen, as it is an unnecessary risk to her security,” said Mpofu.

Up to that point Kekana had been testifying to the committee about his role as a senior investigator in the matter of the CIEX report investigation, as explained in his affidavit submitted.

Suspended Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s much anticipated parliamentary impeachment process is under way in Parliament. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

In his affidavit he said: “The CIEX investigation report addressed whether the government should have implemented the recommendation by CIEX, a British company contracted to investigate alleged misappropriations of funds by the apartheid government.”

Kekana testified that the investigation had started during former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s term and after her term ended, the report was taken on review by Mkhwebane.

He said while working in the Public Protector’s Office he had witnessed several troubling instances of Mkhwebane’s conduct which he felt he needed to report, and that this was what had led him to make a protected disclosure in relation to the CIEX investigation in 2019.

He said when he was drafting the report, Mkhwebane told him to find a way to include a recommendation that the Constitution be amended to nationalise the Reserve Bank, but that he did not do so.

He said this was one of the issues that led to him being charged with misconduct by the protector.

During his cross-examination by Mpofu, Kekana, who has since been dismissed by the Public Protector’s Office, admitted that he was subpoenaed as he had been unwilling to testify, because he is involved in a Labour Court matter in a bid to be reinstated.

Mpofu told the committee he objected to Kekana’s testimony because Kekana was already a witness against Mkhwebane in her perjury trial, and the testimony could lead to double jeopardy.

Dyantyi responded that he had noted Mpofu’s concern but that they should carry on.

Mpofu’s cross-examination is to continue this morning ,after which the committee will take a week-long break to facilitate Mkhwebane’s legal team’s request that they be excused to prepare for the high court case in which she is challenging her suspension.

Earlier, committee member Omphile Maotwe (EFF), who on Friday was ejected from the hearings, returned.

On Friday Dyanti had her removed for refusing to withdraw remarks she had made about committee member Kevin Mileham (DA) being married to DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone, who brought the motion for Mkhwebane’s removal.

Maotwe said the EFF had written to the Speaker complaining about her removal from the hearings, and said she was demanding a legal opinion on whether Mileham being on the committee was a conflict of interest.

Cape Argus

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