The burning issue: the naming of lawyers and advocates who represented Mkhwebane and the amount of R147-million spent on legal expenses in his six years, the salaries to these staff .
Mpofu confronted a chairman of the committee, Qubudile Dyantyi, who decided that the names of the lawyers would not be censored.
Despite this, at a meeting between Mpofu and news anchor Nazreen Bawa on Thursday evening, Bawa said she was ready to remain anonymous but the final decision would be made by the committee.
Dyantyi decided that the show would go ahead, and the names would be named.
Bawa apologized on Thursday for some errors in the calculations of the amount paid to the legal advisers who fled before, something that caused a lot of anger and “frustration” says Mpofu.
That is because lawyers Muzi Sikhakhane and Vuyani Ngalwana came to address the committee on Wednesday.
Dyantyi gave Sikhakhane – Zuma’s adviser at the Zondo Commission – 10 minutes to address the committee, which he said was “racist”. Because only black lawmen were named, therefore, their lives were “threatened by criminals”.
Correcting the numbers
On Friday Bawa, after apologizing for mixing up the numbers, said Mpofu had been paid around R13-million in fees, not R10-million.
Advocate Vuyani Ngalwana received R3.4-million (not R4.7-million) and supporter Muzi Sikhakhane, R3.9-million but not R4.7-million.
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Seanego Lawyers, in a revised version, has now received R55-million, not R48-million, on 24 matters, and is said to have funded most of the work from the South African Public Defender.
Another tweak of the figures overnight showed that the PP spent R5.9-million on the CR17 trial, not R4-million.
Mpofu told members of the committee that the R13-million he was paid was “peanuts” and was paid “for everything I did, twice, but that’s another story”.
He has insisted that the money the whistleblowers paid was “totally irrelevant” to the inquiry. He has tried to split hairs on the difference between “prices” and “prices”.
Mr Ngobeni ‘boss’
As for Paul Ngobeni, who is wanted in the US and is not yet registered to practice law in South Africa, Mpofu said the services he provided were “consultative and legal”.
Under the auspices of Ngobeni, former EFF leader Kim Heller and UNIZULU Professor Sipho Seepe, a campaign was created to attack judges and cabinet ministers.
Heller, in the pitch, wrote that he viewed the campaign to stop negative media about Mkhwebane as “spiritual”. Evidence has also shown that Ngobeni Mkhwebane chose the rational and legal approach.
Ngobeni prompted Mkhwebane’s challenge to his inquiry into the impeachment and parliamentary rules that cost PPSA R15-million.
He also provided a legal opinion on Mkhwebane’s CR17 report, which was later set aside by the courts, and he was paid R96,000. He was paid an additional R30,000 to write articles against the former Minister of Security, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, and the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni.
For Mpofu’s view the only crime here is that Ngobeni’s debts were paid through the law, not the news agency.
Ngobeni arrived at the door of the PPSA after being introduced by Mkhwebane’s “chief of staff”, Sifiso Nyembe. Ngobeni’s “intelligence”, added Mpofu – “and you will know if you read his papers” – surprised Mkhwebane.
There is no duty on him, however, to check his credentials or his record, Mpofu said. It’s someone else’s work.
There was no crime, he said, in treating someone you “thought” was a defender. The PP has “no reason” to do so, he said.
Mpofu told Neels van der Merwe, the director general of legal services at the office of the Public Protector while his review of the inquiry continues, presented a strategy that Mkhwebane could present in his presentation
“Yes, we know that the PP is the captain of the ship but why are we not told about the inadequacies of those he trusted to do the various jobs?” he asked Van der Merwe, saying “I am sure you will agree that according to the advantages of the white evaluations the disadvantages must be distributed again.”
The minions at the bottom of the supply chain are about to be thrown under the bus, and they are exposed.
The Accountant General will be involved
Shortly before lunch, Mpofu released a statement from Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka saying the Auditor General would investigate the issue of PPSA’s legal expenses.
Mpofu read the letter and scoffed at Gcaleka’s use of the word “call” in his press release saying “it looks like a phone call, maybe from [Kevin] Mirhama [DA MP] a [Natasha] Mazzone [DA MP].
Gcaleka also said the department is reviewing systems related to the procurement of future law enforcement personnel.
As a parting shot, Mpofu offered “By the way, when you talk about PP, I think you are talking about Mkhwebane’s speaker, not PP-work”.
The inquiry continues. DM