PP Interviews: Gcaleka says no longer ANC member, backs Phala Phala report

by admin
PP Interviews: Gcaleka says no longer ANC member, backs Phala Phala report
PP Interviews: Gcaleka says no longer ANC member, backs Phala Phala report

During the interview, lawyer Holeka Gchaleka faced numerous questions about his leadership style at the Chapter 9 institution since Mkhwebane was removed by Ramaphosa in June last year.


Acting Public Defender Trust, be clear, who is running for the country’s next public protector, denied on Thursday that she is still a member of the ANC. She also stood by her report that endorsed the president Cyril Ramaphosa for illegal actions during the theft of currency from him Phala Phala game farm.

Gcaleka was interviewed by Parliament’s ad hoc committee tasked with nominating a candidate to replace the suspended public protector Blessed Mkhwebanewhose seven-year term expires in October.

During the interview, Gcaleka faced numerous questions about his leadership style at the Chapter 9 institution since Mkhwebane was removed by Ramaphosa in June last year. Some of the questions related to the controversial Phala Phala report she released in June this year, which cleared Ramaphosa of wrongdoing over the alleged theft of $580,000 in 2020 and her ties to the ruling party.

READ: Reserve Bank’s Phala Phala findings ‘remarkable’ and ‘undermining the bank’s independence’

Gcaleka has a history of working with the ANC. She was a member of the ANC Youth League and was legal adviser to former Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.

EFF MP Omphile Maotwe questioned the acting Public Protector about her association with the ANC and she flatly denied that she was still a member of the ruling party.

Gkaleka said:

I have not been a member of the ANC or any other political party for about a decade.

DA MP Werner Horn raised questions about Gkaleka’s time as Gigaba’s legal adviser at the Home Affairs Department, given the Zondo Commission’s damning finding that Gigaba advanced the Gupta state capture scheme.

Horne asked her if she had advised the former cabinet minister about his relationship with the Guptas. Gchaleka said she was unaware of Gigaba’s connection to the controversial family.

She said:

I asked him about it and he denied any connection with the Gupta family. It is not my duty as a councilor to defend a minister.

READ: MPs put public defender candidates on first day of interviews

Gcaleka defended his report clearing Ramaphosa of wrongdoing in the Phala Phala farm theft scandal. She was questioned by Maotwe about the difference between her report and the SA Reserve Bank’s findings.

The The Reserve Bank cleared Ramaphosa for violating exchange control regulations because the deal for 20 buffaloes did not go through because Sudanese businessman Hazim Mustafa never received the delivery of the buffaloes.

In his report, Gcaleka cleared Ramaphosa of wrongdoing in relation to performing paid work while serving as the country’s head of state, after finding that the sale of game was a “private transaction”.

Gkaleka said:

The Reserve Bank’s report is that there is no sale concluded between buyer and seller. Our report and our investigations did not investigate the sale because we do not have the authority to do so. This is a private matter that does not fall under the purview of the public defender. Our role and mandate is to investigate the affairs of state.

Asked why the Phala Phala report took almost a year to complete instead of 30 days in terms of the provisions of the Office of the Public Protector, Gcaleka referred to a presentation made by Mkhwebane to cabinet highlighting the strain on the office’s resources.

She said it was not illegal for her not to complete the Executive Ethics Act investigation within 30 days.

Gkaleka stated:

There is not a single public defender case that has been closed within 30 days if you look at the precedent. In fact, Phala Phala was one of the issues that was completed quickly with the resources we had.

The subject of Mkhwebane’s legal fees was among the questions asked of the acting public protector after she told parliament earlier this year that Mkhwebane’s legal team had charged more than the office usually paid for legal services.

READ: Public defender candidates promise to improve low staff morale, lack of high-quality investigations

Gcaleka defended his decision to cap Mkhwebane’s legal fees, saying he was looking out for the best interests of the office, which was facing a financial crisis.

“As a person charged with the exercise of public authority, section 195 of the Constitution states that I must do so in a manner that is economical, efficient and effective.

“And by doing that, it’s consistent with the Constitution and my roles and responsibilities as the executive or accounting body of the Public Protector South Africa, where I have to have oversight of the management and finances of the Public Protector,” she said.

Eight candidates were interviewed for the position of public defender. The interim parliamentary committee must recommend a suitable candidate to the National Assembly by the end of this month.

Source Link

You may also like