Mkhwebane rubbishes claims that she shielded politicians in Vrede farm case

Sphelo Samuel, the recently reinstated head of the Public Protector’s Free State office is being cross-examined for a third day at Parliament’s impeachment inquiry.

File. Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane in the Pretoria Magistrates Court on 25 March 2021. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has rubbished as baseless, claims that she shielded Free State politicians from being investigated, in the Vrede Dairy Farm matter. In fact, her lawyer Dali Mpofu said the opposite is true.

Sphelo Samuel, the recently reinstated head of the Public Protector’s Free State office, has been cross-examined for a third day at Parliament’s impeachment inquiry.

Sphelo Samuel said former Free State Premier, Ace Magashule, and former Agriculture MEC Mosebenzi Zwane ignored requests to assist the investigation. He said it was former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela who insisted politicians’ roles should also be probed: "The specific person I asked for a subpoena, was advocate Mkhwebane".

But lawyer Dali Mpofu put it to Samuel that it was in fact Busisiwe Mkhwebane, and not her predecessor, who insisted the investigation should include politicians. "The first time there was any suggestion of there being involved in maladministration was round about let’s say March and June 2017 when the current PP started cracking the whip on this report," said Mpofu.

The inquiry has heard the Vrede Dairy farm investigation file, which should contain previous drafts of the report, can not be found at the Public Protector’s head office.