UPDATE | Deputy Public Protector says Mkhwebane misrepresented her involvement in Abramjee SMS probe

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Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka
Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka
PHOTO: Jan Gerber/News24
  • Deputy Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka says she is not involved in an investigation into a leaked SMS.
  • This, after a lawyer's letter to Parliament from Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane stated that there was such an investigation under Gcaleka's guidance.
  • Mkhwebane says the purported investigation into the SMS is one of the reasons why Parliament shouldn't continue with its impeachment proceedings against her.

Deputy Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka told the Office of the State Attorney – which is representing Parliament – that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's attorneys misrepresented her involvement in an investigation into a controversial text message.

Gcaleka made it clear that she was not involved in an investigation into the SMS that Ismail Abramjee sent, in which he alleged to have knowledge of a pending decision of the Constitutional Court. Mkhwebane uses this supposed "investigation", the police's investigation after she laid a complaint against Abramjee and the Office of the Chief Justice's investigation as reasons why Parliament should suspend proceedings to impeach her.

Reporting on Parliament's Section 194 committee's decision to forge ahead with its work despite Mkhwebane's latest legal manoeuvres, News24 reported that according to the Public Protector, Gcaleka was also investigating an SMS from Ismail Abramjee.

Abramjee, a self-described "qualified and respected legal analyst and a commentator", sent the SMS to Parliament's legal counsel, stating that he had it "on very good authority that the ConCourt has declined to hear the Public Protector's rescission application".

Mkhwebane laid a complaint against Abramjee with the police.

The Office of the Chief Justice is investigating the matter.

The reference to Gcaleka in News24's report was based on a letter Mkhwebane's lawyers sent to Parliament, imploring the Section 194 committee to stop its work, pending these investigations and Mkhwebane's litigation.

The letter stated:

Thirdly, the Office of the Public Protector (under the guidance of the Deputy Public Protector) has initiated its own investigation into the suspected wrongdoing associated with the leaking of court information.

"In short, there are now three separate investigations in respect to the unfortunate SMS sent to your lead counsel, Adv Andrew Breitenbach, SC, by Mr Ismail Abramjee."

After the publication of the initial report, Gcaleka contacted News24 and said the claim that she was involved in a probe into the SMS was incorrect.

She stated:

I have no knowledge of any investigation being conducted by Public Protector South Africa in respect of the leaked SMS regarding the CC (Constitutional Court) matter. Thus, I am not involved in any such investigation.

She also repeated this in a letter to the State Attorneys which News24 has seen, and further stated: "The paragraph as far as it relates to me is a misrepresentation, thus the contents thereof are untrue."She also said she doesn't know Mkhwebane's attorneys and that they did not consult with her in this regard.

READ | Mkhwebane turns on Zondo in another bid to block MPs pressing on with impeachment

When Mkhwebane laid the charge against Abramjee on 5 May, she also said in an accompanying statement that her office would investigate, but she did not say that Gcaleka would lead it.

"I would also like to announce that I have decided to initiate a formal investigation by the Office of the Public Protector into this matter, in terms of sub-sections 6(4) and 6(5) of the Public Protector Act. It is not yet clear whether the leak came from members of the Constitutional Court, the administration or the judiciary," read the statement, which was an addendum to Mkhwebane's lawyer's letter.

*This report has been updated to include Gcaleka's letter to the Office of the State Attorney. 

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