Speech by Hon Mankesi Tlhape on the Debate on Sec 194 Report
11 September 2023
Thank u Madam speaker, President, Dept President, Hon Members, fellow South Africans.
Hon Speaker we must acknowledge that this committee drew so much attention locally and internationally, as a pioneer, a multiparty committee obviously with differing views, coupled with many theories around its mandate , BUT the interest was on which school of thought it will subscribe to.
Let me attest that this was a committee of parliament and interestingly we agreed as members on all those basic principles or guidelines as alluded to. By Hon Dyantdyi that would navigate us through uncharted waters.
According to Katie Phillipot (from the Institute for Principle Studies), principles set the foundation, they recognize what is true in new or unknown situations, so principles in a way helped us as the committee to interpret and apply the truth to the evidence we received hence this outcome today.
So as the committee we became principled and choose gore ga re kitla re seka motho, re tla seka molato. Ra ba ra tsaya le kgakollo ya ga Davis Thoreau fa a ne a re ga go botlhokwa gore o lebile eng, se se botlhokwa ke se o se bonang …..“ it’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
So some of the wrongs we saw when we looked the PPSA and the evidence that was put before us are the following :
1.Weaponised and misuse of the disciplinary policy to instill fear , intimidate and victimise some employees, whereas the policy required that disciplinary measures be fair, not punitive and be used as a corrective measure.
2. Coercion of employees to set unreasonable and unrealistic deadlines for reports without considering the human and financial challenges of the office, and the complexity of the matters, This resulted in employees rushing to complete investigations to maliciously comply because they feared Audi letters and subsequent disciplinary action that followed.
Executive managers who served the office under a number of Public Protectors demonstrated how this destroyed the internal capacity of the office, and how it led to low staff morale and an unhealthy work environment characterized by fear. We heard how she sought to eliminate anyone who dared to differ with her.
Mme re sa legalese gore ga re seke motho, re seka molato!!
4. Diversion of financial resources meant for outreach programs to improve the accessibility of PPSA and enable investigators to do physical inspections. Investigators could only conduct desktop investigations thereby impacting on effectiveness and litigations due to poorly conducted cases. This resulted also in a high turnover of skilled and competent investigators and a weak institution that could not deliver quality work as expected.
5. The bypass of the quality assurance mechanisms during the investigations of some of the charges that served before us such as the CR17 and SARS Unit matters. With investigations being kept closely between the PP and certain individuals, deliberately ignoring certain evidence presented to her without explanations as well as the deliberate and misleading use of the wrong executive ethics code.
And still we remained principled that we will not judge the person, but the wrong that was done.
6. Demonstrable limitations on understanding the powers she possess, lack of knowledge on some aspects and application of the law, and making far reaching findings like that of the total implementation of the Inspector General of intelligence report when she was advised that the SSA could not authenticate the report nor did the IGI have jurisdiction to investigate SARS in terms of the National Intelligence Act.
These Hon members, are a few examples of the many instances of incompetence and misconduct that characterised the tenure of Adv Mkwebane, le fa re sa seke motho re seka molato. As the committee we cannot turn a blind eye to the devastating impact this has had on the office, and the public perception about the institution that is meant to strengthen our Constitutional democracy, least we fail on our mandate that of probing her fitness to hold office.
We went through this process with an open and enquiring mind and discovered in essence what transpired, and we are satisfied that the conclusions we arrived at , are supported by facts that we also interrogated.
Ka jalo mmusakgotla re le le mokgatlho wa ANC re dumalana le tshwetso ya gore Mosireletsi wa setshaba a tlosiwe mo maemong a gagwe.. Jaaka fa bopaki botlhe joo re bo reboletsweng ra ba ra bosekaseka bo supile fa a sa itekanela go ka tswelela go dira tiro e.
Lebaka legolo ke gore re ne re sa seke motho, re ne re seka molato !!!!
Ke a leboga !!!