Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice cancelled its last scheduled briefing by former public protector Thuli Madonsela, as she was about to catch a flight to Cape Town, preferring to let her successor present the office’s annual report.
This emerged on Wednesday as public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane appeared before MPs in a meeting filled with tension about Madonsela’s final, unreleased report on allegations of state capture by business.
African Christian Democratic Party MP Steve Swart said it was regrettable that Madonsela was prevented from presenting facts with which she would be far more familiar than Mkhwebane after the committee cancelled a meeting last Wednesday at the eleventh hour.
But committee chairperson Mathole Motshekga said the decision to defer the briefing was taken democratically and added a warning that parliament set its own programme and would not be prescribed to by the office of the public service watchdog.
Economic Freedom Fighters MP Sam Matiase countered that Motshega was trying to hide an attempt to frustrate and humiliate Madonsela, as she was about to leave office and facing pressure from President Jacob Zuma not to complete her investigation.
“It was simply because the ruling party was determined to do stonewalling, if not to humiliate her … I call on my colleagues not to hide the reasons why she was prevented from appearing here.”
Madonsela opted not to release the report, saying she was doing so as a courtesy to the court after Zuma and The Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des van Rooyen lodged separate applications to block it. These will be heard jointly at the beginning of next month.
The report is now in Mkhwebane’s hands.