Mbete's lawyer involved in SAA debacle - report

2016-02-10 07:08
Baleka Mbete (Netwerk24)

Baleka Mbete (Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete's lawyer Lindi Nkosi-Thomas, who fumbled through her submissions in the Nkandla matter in the Constitutional Court on Tuesday, was previously accused of doctoring a legal opinion while she was an SAA board member.

BDlive reported in December 2014 that the allegation was the basis of a complaint to the public protector and the Johannesburg Bar Council in 2013. Nkosi-Thomas resigned from the airline's board in early 2014. 

The council said at the time that the complaint did not sustain a case of professional misconduct. The public protector's office told the website that its investigation was continuing. 

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's office and Parliament told News24 on Tuesday that they would comment on the matter later. 

Appointments flawed but legal

Nkosi-Thomas could not immediately be reached for comment. 

The allegations involved the hiring of four senior executives for the airline in 2012. Board chairperson Dudu Myeni sought a legal opinion on the appointments from SAA legal department head Fikile Thabethe.

Thabethe reportedly said they were flawed but still lawful. However the legal opinion put before the board said the appointments were void. The four executives lost their jobs. 

Nkosi-Thomas allegedly changed the opinion. She however later said she convinced Thabethe that her opinion was wrong.

News24 previously reported that Nkosi-Thomas was part of the aborted inquiry into former national director of public prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana's fitness to hold office.

Tuesday's Constitutional Court case revolved around the powers of the public protector to take remedial action. 

Nkosi-Thomas raised her voice, used dramatic hand gestures, and occasionally stood in silence for a few seconds after the judges had asked her questions.

Her demeanour and comments even amused Madonsela, who laughed when Nkosi-Thomas made a comment about her powers. 

Nkosi-Thomas was asked if the National Assembly had erred in how it approached the remedial action recommended by Madonsela in her report on the upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead.

"Parliament took a wrong position," she conceded.

Read more on:    saa  |  baleka mbete  |  thuli madonsela  |  nkandla upgrade

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