Lunga Simelane
3 minute read
20 Jul 2022
4:00 am

Mkhwebane impeachment hearing: Mpofu grills witness over SSA allegations

Lunga Simelane

The advocate says the witness was retaliating against the public protector because he was fired for 'dishonesty'.

Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane at the Pretoria Magistrates Court appearing on charges of perjury on21 January 2021 . Picture: Neil McCartney

Suspended public protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s legal counsel, advocate Dali Mpofu, went on the attack on Tuesday, defending his client as he accused the subpoenaed witness of being a liar.

Mpofu cross-examined former public protector investigator Tebogo Kekana at the Section 194 inquiry into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office during day seven of its impeachment hearings.

Kekana, who was a senior investigator in the CIEX inquiry, on Monday gave damning evidence about Mkhwebane’s involvement in amending the constitutional mandate of the SA Reserve Bank (Sarb) instructed by State Security Agency (SSA) officials.

ALSO READ: ‘Public will hear from me and judge for themselves’ – Mkhwebane on inquiry into her fitness to hold office

According to Mpofu, Kekana was found guilty of disclosing confidential information sent to him in error and said the chair of a disciplinary inquiry found evidence of dishonesty against him.

The hearing, chaired by the public protector’s office’s executive manager Stoffel Fourie, found Kekana disregarded and breached the relationship of trust between himself and his employer by disclosing confidential information sent to him in error.

But Kekana stressed to the committee he was not charged with dishonesty.

“I was found guilty of unauthorised disclosure of confidential information, not dishonesty,” he said.

Mpofu did not accept this and wanted him to confirm a finding of dishonesty was made against him, adding Kekana was the “opposite of a whistle-blower”.

He also accused Kekana of gossiping about Mkhwebane.

Mpofu said Kekana was retaliating against Mkhwebane because he was fired for “dishonesty” and that the former investigator gave false evidence on Monday, when he said Mkhwebane’s directive to amend the constitutional mandate of the Sarb came from the SSA.

“You are not being honest,” Mpofu said.

“You are not a whistle-blower. Instead, you are actually a whistle-inhaler.”

Mpofu also claimed Mkhwebane’s idea to amend the mandate of the Sarb was influenced by former bank director and Holocaust denialist Stephen Goodson.

READ MORE: Ramaphosa hits back at Holomisa, won’t testify at Mkhwebane’s impeachment hearing

Goodson served for nine years at Sarb until 2012, when his denial of the Holocaust and views on Nazi economics apparently saw him resign.

Mpofu said Mkhwebane sought the SSA’s input on the Sarb amendment to avoid “economic instability”.

According to him, when the Reserve Bank matter was being discussed with the SSA, there was “nothing sinister” about the agency bringing its own economic expert along.

SSA operative Maiendra Moodley handed the recommendation to Mkhwebane during a meeting in June 2017, according to Kekana’s affidavit.

Kekana previously testified Moodley had been presented to him as an “economist”.

He said Moodley provided Mkhwebane with a note which stated the wording of the remedial action ordered a constitutional amendment of the Sarb.

Mpofu said the input from Mkhwebane in relation to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) role in the CIEX contract was not because of economic input.

ALSO READ: Mkhwebane attending impeachment hearing ‘under protest’, Mpofu tells parly

“They didn’t seek an economist’s view and advocate Mkhwebane is going to testify she sought their view on economic stability,” he said.

“Advocate Mkhwebane will testify Mr Moodley worked in the Reserve Bank and had worked in the ‘economic side’ of the National Intelligence Unit.”

The hearing is expected to continue on Wednesday.