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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

Ocean Basket-gate: Four MPs recuse themselves amid Mkhwebane bribery claims

Julius Malema and three other MPs have recused themselves from an Ethics Committee probe into bribery claims by Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

Four members of the Section 194 inquiry into suspended public protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office have recused themselves from a Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests probe into bombshell allegations that three ANC MPs solicited bribes from her husband.

Their recusal follows a “tell-all” media briefing by Mkhwebane at The Capital Hotel, in Sandton, on Tuesday.

Mkhwebane releases ‘bribery’ audio clips

The suspended public protector released some WhatsApp messages, as well as startling audio recordings of two meetings that allegedly took place between her husband, David Skosana, and late ANC MP Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

At the briefing, Mkhwebane accused Joemat-Pettersson of trying to extort R600,000 from her husband to allegedly make the inquiry “disappear”.

ALSO READ: NPA’s ID denies Tina Joemat-Pettersson was threatened with arrest over Mkhwebane ‘extortion’

Ocean Basket-gate: PP’s bombshell claims against late Joemat-Pettersson

Late ANC MP and former energy minister Tina Joemat-Petterson. Photo: Gallo Images / Nardus Engelbrecht

According to Mkhwebane, Joemat-Pettersson met her husband at the Ocean Basket restaurant at the Oliver Tambo International Airport where she solicited a R600,000 bribe to allegedly make the inquiry “disappear”.

The suspended public prosecutor claimed that Joemat-Pettersson was representing African National Congress (ANC) chief whip Pemmy Majodina and Section 194 Committee chairperson Qubudile Dyantyi, demanding R200 000 each for herself, Dyantyi and Majodina.

Dyantyi and Majodina have publicly denied the allegations.

Joemat-Pettersson passed away at her Rondebosch home in Cape Town on 5 June 2023 at the age of 59.

No official confirmation has been provided by police on the cause of her death, although it has been widely speculated that she took her own life.

ALSO READ: Ocean Basket-gate: Mkhwebane blames impeachment inquiry for Joemat-Pettersson’s death

‘Biggest corruption scandal ever’ – Mkhwebane

According to a statement from Parliament, the ethics committee met on Monday after a briefing from the Acting Registrar of Members’ Interests, Advocate Anthea Gordon.

This after Mkhwebane laid a complaint with the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests.

The suspended public prosecutor told members of the media at the briefing that her husband also opened a criminal case of extortion against the three ANC MPs in what she labelled the “biggest corruption scandal ever to affect our judiciary at the highest level of our state and country”.

ALSO READ: Tina Joemat-Pettersson leaves a complicated legacy

MPs recused to ensure ‘fair and ethical process’

According to the Parliamentary statement, the ethics committee “noted that four of its members serve on the committee for Section 194 inquiry”.

“The four members, Mr Bekizwe Nkosi, Mr Julius Malema, Ms Violet Siwela and Ms Mimmy Gondwe have been recused from the committee for the purpose of the complaints by the Public Protector. This is to ensure that the process before the committee is fair, ethical, and conducted with integrity,” the statement read.

“The committee will process the complaints in line with the provisions of the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosures of Members’ Interests and will at its next meeting engage on the substance of the complaints. The committee observes principles of natural justice, which must be adhered to.”

Following the surprise media briefing, News24 reported that the National Assembly rises on Thursday and only reconvenes in September. The ethics committee is not expected to meet during the recess.

However, the Section 194 Committee will meet during the recess and intends to finalise its report on 28 July.

This after the impeachment inquiry has suffered many delays relating to Mkhwebane’s legal costs and representation, and on Friday 9 June it decided it would pose written questions to the suspended public protector.

ALSO READ: ‘No other option’: Section 194 Committee draws the line with Mkhwebane after delays

Mkhwebane bribery claims: Parliament refuses to engage in ‘public mudslinging’

Meanwhile, Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the legislature refused to engage in “public mudslinging” on the matter of the audio clips since the bribery and extortion allegations are under investigation by the Hawks and the ethics committee.

“Furthermore, engaging will show lack of sensitivity and respect to the bereaved family who are still coming to terms with the passing-on of Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson,” said Mothapo.

Mkhwebane’s media briefing took place just one day after the Ad Hoc Committee to Nominate a Person for Appointment as Public Protector issued a call for nominations for a candidate for appointment as the new public protector.