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Mpofu not letting Cyril off hook

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Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane intends to call President Cyril Ramaphosa to testify in the parliamentary inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

While President Cyril Ramaphosa has maintained that the impeachment proceedings against suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane had nothing to do with him, Mkhwebane’s legal representative Advocate Dali Mpofu SC intends calling the president to testify before the committee.

SUSPENDED Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane intends to call President Cyril Ramaphosa to testify in the parliamentary inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

This was revealed by Mkhwebane’s legal representative, Advocate Dali Mpofu SC, when he addressed the inquiry before cross-examination of former SARS executive Johann van Loggerenberg on Thursday.

“We are going to call the president. “We are to write to him today or tomorrow to ask him, in line with the directives, if he is willing to come voluntarily. If not, we will initiate the process for him to be summoned,” Mpofu said.

The announcement came a day after Ramaphosa shot down a request by UDM leader Bantu Holomisa that he should appear before the inquiry.

Mpofu said the planned appearance of Ramaphosa would not be dealing with the suspension of Mkhwebane, but “the fact that he made certain accusations against the Public Protector saying she is guilty of perjury and all sorts of things, which will be impeachable if they are true”.

He indicated that the testimony would be in connection with the CR17 campaign and Bosasa, among others.

“From some of the evidence, we might have to call other former presidents.

“One of the charges has to do with a president,” he said in apparent reference to former president Jacob Zuma.

Mpofu warned that if there were glitches, things might end up in court.

Earlier, he told the inquiry that he had noted the ambit of the testimony of the evidence by the two earlier witnesses was wide and that there were many people wanting to give evidence for Mkhwebane since Wednesday.

“I think you must brace yourselves for quite an extensive enquiry because we are not to leave things that have been said here unaddressed just so that we can go through the motions.”

Mpofu warned that “there might be off-ramps and other issues of that type”.

“We wanted an inquiry. “It is here, and we are here, but it is not going, I suspect, to be what we thought it was going to be ,” he said, adding that Chief Justice Raymond Zondo was meant to take six months with the State Capture Commission of Inquiry and instead took four years.

Committee chairperson Qubudile Dyantyi said they would have a report in September.

Mpofu said if the inquiry was to be fair and cover all grounds, it was unlikely to finish in September.

“If the process is going to be fair and cover the grounds, then it is to take a lot more time than that,” he said.

Freedom Front Plus chief chip Corne Mulder noted that Mkhwebane’s legal team was there to assist the inquiry by being constructive and positive.

“I do get the impression that they are to get us busy until the term of the Public Protector expires. That is my view.

I may be wrong,” Mulder said. Mpofu did not take kindly to the accusation of a Stalingrad strategy and asked Mulder to withdraw his remark.

“It is false. It has no basis. It has no evidential basis. We are going through a process that should not have happened,” he said.

Mulder refused to withdraw the remark saying “that is my perception”.

ANC MP Xola Nqola and Mpofu were embroiled in a tense exchange, with Nqola claiming Mpofu was addressing matters not covered by Van Loggerenberg.

“There is no need to make an address about it,” he said before mentioning organising rallies outside the inquiry.

ANC deputy Chief whip Doris Dlakude agreed with Nqola, saying “the train must not be derailed”.

When Mpofu took issue with the calling of rallies, Nqola saw no need to respond.

This prompted EFF leader Julius Malema to say they would not be abused by Nqola.

“He thinks he is a political wannabe and makes unnecessary statements and then accuses people of delaying this process,” Malema said.

Mpofu dismissed suggestions of derailing and wasting the time of the inquiry. “What I am trying to do here is exactly the opposite of that,” he said.

Cape Times

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