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Disciplinary steps under Mkhwebane ‘were selective’, parly hears

After intense grilling of a witness testifying before the parliamentary Section 194 inquiry into the fitness of suspended public protector (PP) advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to hold office, advocate Dali Mpofu, representing Mkhwebane, went on to rubbish earlier claims by a senior public protector official and blamed the executive manager’s “inaction” for failures in the entity.

On her second day of testimony, Public Protector South Africa (PPSA) executive manager Ponatshego Mogaladi faced tough questions from Mpofu and MPs – with her credibility, efficiency and professionalism put to the test.

While she conceded that the setting of deadlines at the workplace was a good practice, Mogaladi failed to satisfactorily answer on alleged defiance of the disciplinary code of the PPSA.

Mpofu: “Yesterday you testified about you having no problems with the misconduct finding but honesty and integrity is not your strong point.”

Mogaladi: “I do not agree. I do not agree with you, advocate Mpofu. That is your viewpoint, [but] I do not agree.”

When Good MP Brett Herron referred to the recording of the meeting between the PP and the inspector-general of intelligence (IGI), on why Mogaladi did not say she had a similar report, she said she did not know it was the same.

Asked by MPs whether her “nonparticipation” meant she did not have sight of the report, Mogaladi said she had “limited involvement in the report and in the matter and as it progressed.

“I was no longer reporting directly to the PP.”

On what steps were taken to secure the IGI report, Mogaladi said she did not print the report or disseminate it to the investigating team.

On whether the report was discussed in a meeting with the IGI, she said: “Yes.” Mkhwebane, she said, had an anonymous complainant who dropped the report at the office’s reception.

Initially she thought it was just a Security Agency of South Africa report and “didn’t relate to the so-called rogue unit”.

Deadlines ‘crucial’

She said the IGI was aware of the report discussed. Mogaladi said she was aware that deadlines were “crucial” in her work.

On whether there was a discussion about other factors affecting the project, she said: “No, we never had that discussion per se.

“As a team we had these discussions. With the public protector we never had those discussions.”

Asked about disciplinary charges after the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) matter, Mogaladi said: “Some of the charges against me related to things I didn’t have anything to do with.”

She said disciplinary steps were instituted selectively.

ALSO READ: Mkhwebane’s chosen way was to ‘threaten and impose’, parliament hears

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