‘All the heads of the arms of state are loaded against one lonesome woman – Mkhwebane,’ argues Dali Mpofu in interdict application

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Photo: Archive
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Photo: Archive


Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane told the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday that the most powerful forces in the country were working in a “coordinated fashion” in a bid to remove her from office, naming President Cyril Ramaphosa among the conspirators.

Mkhwebane, in her application to interdict Ramaphosa from suspending her on the grounds that Parliament was investigating her fitness to hold office, named the other co-conspirators as the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who is the head of the legislative arm of the state, as well as Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who heads the judiciary.

“There is clearly, and I say this with no fear of contradiction, what seems to be happening here is that she, one woman is being, in a coordinated fashion, victimised by the most powerful forces in this country ever to be imagined,” said Mkhwebane’s lawyer Advocate Dali Mpofu.

READ: Mkhwebane opens criminal case against Abramjee for alleged Constitutional Court leak

Mpofu presented his argument on Wednesday while the lawyers for Mapisa-Nqakula and Ramaphosa will respond on Thursday. Mpofu said there were also a group of NGOs and the media gunning for Mkhwebane’s head. He said the fourth estate was represented collectively by Ismail Abramjee, who last month sent a controversial text message to Mapisa-Nqakula’s lawyer in the interdict application, claiming to have it on “good authority” that the Constitutional Court would hand down a favourable judgment to their case to impeach Mkhwebane.

The rescission application before the Constitutional Court was among the reason Mkhwebane advanced in her application in the high court in support of the interdict application, citing that her impeachment process in Parliament and Ramaphosa’s threat to suspend her were illegal until the Constitutional Court had made its ruling.

“You have all the heads of the arms of the state against a lonesome woman who is just trying to do her job. The entire network is loaded against her,” said Mpofu, adding that “a court of justice should take that into account”.

Abramjee’s text

He said the high court should also be concerned that a Constitutional Court decision was leaked to Abramjee while proceedings were ongoing.

“What should concern you is a situation is a possibility that someone in the Constitutional Court leaked the judgment to influence you.

It is a deliberate act of criminality and corruption … it could be a clerk, it could be a registrar, it could be a judge, we do not know … as far as that person inside the court is concerned, it is an act of corruption.

Mpofu said there could be no doubt that “it is not an act of corruption in the air, but to influence this court”. The only reason Abramjee sent the text was to advantage Mapisa-Nqakula and the committee investigating Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office. It was also done to disadvantage Mkhwebane, he said.

He said the “so-called Stalingrad police”, among them legal experts and commentators accusing Mkhwebane of delaying tactics after she filed a second rescission application to the Constitutional Court, were wrong because “any order of a court of law is rescindable”.

“There’s no limitation to what number of orders can be rescinded, at least that I know of, not in the common law,” he said.

The Public Protector filed the application after Abramjee predicted the outcome of the first application correctly.

Mapisa-Nqakula’s letter

He said Mkhwebane’s attorneys had warned on March 23 that Mapisa-Nqakula’s request through the State Attorney that the Constitutional Court rule on the rescission application before May 4 was the first rescindable error that was long identified. Therefore Mkhwebane was unfairly accused of delaying tactics.

Mpofu said Mkhwebane was confident that “Abramjee is either a sangoma or there is something more serious to it”. He said a separate rescission application involving Mkhwebane took eight months for the Constitutional Court to conclude, but the recent one took only six weeks.

It was clear that the Constitutional Court expedited the matter in response to Mapisa-Nqakula’s request that a ruling be delivered before May 4. “They expedited the matter simply because of the Speaker’s letter.”

Unlike Mapisa-Nqakula, who simply wrote a letter requesting that certain urgent information be brought to the Chief Justice’s attention, litigants in courts all over the country put reasons for the urgency in their affidavits, he said.

Mpofu said Abramjee had predicted that the decision would be announced by April 29, which would have fallen squarely within Mapisa-Nqakula’s requested timeline. “This is the biggest scandal ever to hit our courts.”

READ: Mkhwebane relies on 2007 ministerial handbook in an attempt to stop impeachment

Abramjee’s text affirmed that the court was going to issue a decision before May 4 as requested by Mapisa-Nqakula. “The mere fact that that decision was delayed by a week [it was handed down on May 6] cannot by any stretch of the imagination be read to mean that what Abramjee was saying was not going to happen on April 29 had it not been outed,” Mpofu said.

The Zondo interview

He said that on April 28, the day before Abramjee’s predicted date, in interview with the SABC Zondo was asked three times whether the decision had been made and he gave three ambiguous and unclear answers.

Zondo said the decision would be announced if it had been taken, but later said if it had it may have been in his absence. He did say, however, that it was “completely unacceptable for anybody to say that a court has made any decision that the court has not announced”.

Mpofu said Zondo did not say that Abramjee’s claim was a decision that the court had “not made” but a decision that the court had “not announced”. His decision to repeatedly invoke the issue of the announcement “raised the spectre that there might be a decision taken”, Mpofu added.


Setumo Stone 

Political Journalist

+27 11 713 9001
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
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