Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist


Mkhwebane impeachment: Dali Mpofu applies for recusal of Section 194 inquiry chair

The Public Protector has also applied for DA MP Kevin Mileham to be recused.


Advocate Dali Mpofu, acting on behalf of suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has applied for the recusal of Section 194 Committee chairperson, Qubudile Dyantyi.

Dyantyi confirmed the matter as proceedings into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office resumed on Wednesday morning.

Mkhwebane’s recusal application also includes Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Kevin Mileham.

The Citizen previously reported Dyantyi was advised to seek a legal opinion on the alleged possible conflict of interest by Mileham, who is part of the Section 194 committee.

Mileham is married to DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone, who tabled a motion for Mkhwebane’s removal from office in December 2019.

‘Inherent bias’

During Wednesday’s proceedings, Mpofu submitted a 24-page document for Dyantyi’s recusal, accusing the chairperson of showing “inherent bias” against him and his client.

The advocate indicated that the Public Protector’s legal team had made several “warnings” about Dyantyi’s conduct during the impeachment hearings.

He said last week’s heated exchanged, which was sparked after Mpofu tried to get a postponement, was the “last straw”.

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Mpofu had asked for a postponement to work on the litigation following the Western Cape High Court ruling that overturned President Cyril Ramaphosa’s suspension of Mkhwebane.

The advocate also sought a postponement because the Public Protector was sick on that day, however, this was rejected by Dyantyi.

“On 13th of September I did say things might escalate to this. You might not like my words ‘your day will come’, but that the day has now come. That was all in an effort to try and avoid this situation,” he said.

He pointed out that Dyantyi has breached three standards of fairness, reasonableness and reasonable time as per the rules of the Section 194 committee.

“Everyone knows when unfairness or injustice is being visited upon them,” Mpofu said.

Ramaphosa

Mpofu further said another reason Mkhwebane wants Dyantyi to be recused is due to his refusal to call Ramaphosa to come and testify before the committee.

The Public Protector wanted Ramaphosa to testify in relation to some of the charges she faces before the committee.

These matters related to – among others – the Public Protector’s suspension by Ramaphosa in June, the legal review of Mkhwebane’s report into the CR17 campaign funds, and accusations of perjury made by the president against her.

The president, however, declined to testify.

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

In addition, Dyantyi went against summoning Ramaphosa to testify following a recommendation by Parliament’s legal services.

By opting not to summon the president, according to Mpofu, Dyantyi acted unreasonably and in a manner which showed bias against the Public Protector and in favour of Ramaphosa, “who is the President of the African National Congress (ANC) of which the chairperson is a loyal member”.

“It’s simply pure bias and a desire to pander to Mr Ramaphosa,” the advocate said.

“It’s impossible [and] completely illogical. You cannot say in the same breath that Mr [Johann] Van Loggerenberg and Mr [Ivan] Pillay are relevant witnesses, but Mr Ramaphosa is not,” Mpofu added.

Mileham recusal

Regarding Mileham’s recusal, Mpofu said the DA MP not disclosing his marriage to Mazzone was in breach of the committee’s rules of impartiality.

“He can’t just sit here and keep quite about it even before it’s raised,” he said.

The advocate even showed Mileham’s tweets to the committee, in which the DA MP allegedly calls Mpofu rude and disrespectful.

“To be judged by someone like Mr Mileham is something that I quite frankly don’t worry about, but it is the implication that it has on the process here,” Mpofu said.

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