Mkhwebane didn't want to work with colleague who called her 'Busisiwe'

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane enjoying a lighter moment during Wednesday's hearings on her impeachment.
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane enjoying a lighter moment during Wednesday's hearings on her impeachment.
Jan Gerber
  • Busisiwe Mkhwebane didn't want to work with a colleague, Cleopatra Mosana, who had addressed her as "Busisiwe".
  • This was the testimony of Public Protector official Gumbi Tyelela before the Section 194 Committee hearings.
  • Mosana was successful at the CCMA, but the Office of the Public Protector is challenging it in the Labour Court.

Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane didn't want to work with her former spokesperson, Cleopatra Mosana, because she disrespected her by calling her "Busisiwe", the Section 194 Committee heard on Wednesday.

The committee's hearings to determine whether Mkhwebane misconducted herself or is incompetent resumed with the testimony of Gumbi Tyelela, the acting head of corporate services at the Office of the Public Protector.

According to Tyelela's affidavit, Mosana's last working day was 30 April 2019.

She worked as the Public Protector spokesperson for one year and 10 months. She left having given 24-hour notice.

"I recall it was on a Monday morning when I was called to the PP boardroom, just after 08:00. Present was both Ms Mosana and the then chief of staff, Linda Molelekoa. The PP came in," reads Tyelela's affidavit, which he confirmed to the evidence leader, advocate Nazreen Bawa SC.

The affidavit continues: 

She was upset and indicated that she no longer wanted to work with Ms Mosana as she did not want to be doing her work, and that Ms Mosana was disrespecting her by calling her by her first name 'Busisiwe'.

"She indicated that Ms Mosana must go home and serve her notice from home. No details were provided as to what precisely in relation to Ms Mosana's work had brought this about.

"I intervened and requested that Ms Mosana leave the room whereafter I informed the PP that what she had done was dismiss Ms Mosana without any process and that she could not do so. Apprised that she did not want to work with Ms Mosana any longer, I requested that she allowed me to deal with the matter going forward."

READ | Why Ramaphosa will not be subpoenaed to testify at Mkhwebane's impeachment inquiry

Mosana was offered another post, but she declined.

"She wanted to remain in the private office. She wanted a meeting with PP to find out what she had done, but we cautioned her against this as the PP had clearly indicated that she no longer wanted to work with her."

A labour dispute ensued, and the legal proceedings cost the Public Protector R468 574.58, according to Tyelela.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) subsequently ordered the Office of the Public Protector to pay Mosana R529 536.56.

Following the CCMA ruling, the office sought legal advice and was informed a review process would cost in the region of R450 000, "but that there was a reasonable prospect of success".

The Public Protector is now seeking to review the CCMA ruling on Mosana. The matter is still pending.

FOLLOW OUR ROLLING COVERAGE HERE

At the time, Mosana had been in the firing line, having to answer questions on the controversial South African Reserve Bank (SARB)/CIEX and Vrede dairy farm/Estina reports.

"If it is true, you would agree it would be almost unheard of for someone, say it was a minister or the chairperson of this committee, to call them by their name," said Mkhwebane's counsel, advocate Dali Mpofu SC.

Tyelela agreed.

Mpofu said at least you could call Mkhwebane "you".

Mpofu added that Mkhwebane might not have wanted to work with someone who needed to be "spoon-fed".

Tyelela also testified about several other labour disputes during Mkhwebane's term at the office.

Tyelela's cross-examination by Mpofu continued into the afternoon.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Eskom has considered continuous load shedding at Stage 2, instead of introducing it when the power system faces a crunch. What are your thoughts?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'm all for it - we're going to have power cuts regardless, so we might as well have some stability to better plan our lives
45% - 4262 votes
No thanks! I prefer having periods of no load shedding and we cannot normalise this crisis
55% - 5136 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.96
-2.0%
Rand - Pound
19.39
+0.3%
Rand - Euro
17.36
+0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.70
+0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.1%
Gold
1,643.40
-0.0%
Silver
18.87
0.0%
Palladium
2,073.00
0.0%
Platinum
858.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
86.15
-5.0%
Top 40
57,110
-3.1%
All Share
63,417
-2.9%
Resource 10
56,319
-7.5%
Industrial 25
78,436
-1.2%
Financial 15
14,142
-1.6%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE