Section 194 Committee to investigate Mpofu over 'Your day will come' threat to chairperson

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  • The Section 194 Committee resolved to investigate advocate Dali Mpofu SC, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's legal counsel.
  • This after he threatened committee chairperson Qubudile Dyantyi by saying: "You're going to regret this. Your day will come."
  • Threatening an MP is a contravention of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act and could carry a three-year jail sentence.  

The National Assembly's Section 194 Committee will investigate Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's advocate Dali Mpofu SC, after he threatened the committee's chairperson.

The committee is conducting an inquiry into Mkhwebane's fitness for office in terms of Section 194 of the Constitution.

At a hearing on 13 September, Mpofu insisted on a postponement to work on the litigation following the Western Cape High Court ruling overturning President Cyril Ramaphosa's suspension of Mkhwebane.

The DA subsequently appealed to the Constitutional Court, and Mkhwebane applied to the High Court to uphold its ruling while this case was under way.

READ | Lies, spies and an iron-fisted rule: 10 must-read articles on Mkhwebane's impeachment inquiry

Furthermore, Mkhwebane was sick and unable to attend.

Committee chairperson Qubudile Dyantyi didn't grant the postponement. After Mpofu spoke over Dyantyi while not recognised – as Mpofu has repeatedly done during the proceedings – Dyantyi ordered that he be muted.

Shortly after he was muted, as Dyantyi asked him to conclude, Mpofu said: "You're going to regret this. Your day will come."

ATM leader Vuyolwethu Zungula intervened, after which Mpofu resumed.

"The only reason I'm tolerating what you are doing to me is for the reason of my client, otherwise you are not entitled to abuse me like you are abusing me," Mpofu continued.

Dali Mpofu
Dali Mpofu cross-examining a witness at Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's impeachment hearing.

"I'm senior to you in many ways, not just in age, but in many ways. You know it. So, you have no right to abuse me. But fine, you have the power now, you can exercise it, but you'll pay one day, ja."

Dyantyi, smiling, asked: "Are you threatening me now?"

To which Mpofu responded: "Ja."

Dyantyi asked him to conclude and Mpofu said: "Actually, it is not a threat, as I said, it is a promise."

READ | MPs want Mpofu investigated after 'your day will come' threat

The next time the committee met, on Wednesday, Mpofu was unrepentant about his threat and said he was making good on it by bringing an application for Dyantyi's recusal, based on 12 grounds which he called the Dirty Dozen, after the film by that name.

"You might not have liked the language I used when I said 'your day will come', but that day has come now. And all that was really in an effort to try and avoid this situation," Mpofu said.

He said bigoted racists are responsible for the "fake outrage" after his threats.

The committee met on Friday to discuss the recusal application, which the ANC, DA and ACDP reject, while the EFF insists on Dyantyi's recusal.

During the discussions on the recusal application, several MPs took a dim view of Mpofu's threats and suggested that he should be investigated.  

DA MP Mimmy Gondwe said the threats Mpofu levelled at Dyantyi were "unfortunate" and contravened the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act.

"Advocate Mpofu went too far," says Gondwe.

Section 8 of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act states a person may not by "threat of any kind" influence an MP's performance of their duties. A person found guilty of this "commits an offence and is liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years or to both the fine and the imprisonment", states the act.

EFF MP Omphile Maotwe said the committee shouldn't discuss Mpofu without him being present. Zungula also said it shouldn't be discussed.

However, it was proposed and seconded that the committee should investigate Mpofu, and it was so resolved.

Dyantyi will announce his decision on the recusal application at the committee's next meeting in the first week of October.

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