WhatsApp messages point to ANC MPs demanding bribes from Mkhwebane

The parliamentary committee investigating suspended public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Friday dismissed bribery allegations against fellow members as “fiction”, however a record of WhatsApp messages shared with the Hawks implicate chairperson, Richard Dyantyi. Mkhwebane’s husband David Skosana has opened a criminal case of extortion against ANC MPs Richards Dyantji, Tina Joemat-Pettersson and Pemmy Majodina.

The WhatsApp messages contain a record of discussions between a sender whose mobile number is linked to the name of committee member and former minister Joemat-Pettersson.

Joemat-Pettersson yesterday said she welcomes police investigations into the matter.

The two parties exchanged at least 98 text messages in the 52 days between March 16 and May 6.

Several meetings were scheduled in hotels and restaurants in Boksburg, Sandton, Pretoria in Gauteng, and in Mowbray in Cape Town.

Sunday World also listened to voice recordings of discussions between a person named as Joemat-Pettersson and Skosana, now in the hands of law enforcement. In the police case, Skosana alleged the sender was soliciting a bribe from him to make the parliamentary probe into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office go away, and implicated both Dyantyi and ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina as the other players in the scheme.

Although Dyantyi is not mentioned by name in the WhatsApp conversation, on April 5 a furious Skosana shared a Twitter link to a NewzroomAfrika television news report showing a video of an interview with Dyantyi.

In the recording, Dyantyi commented on Mkhwebane’s legal fees, saying she could apply for legal aid like all other citizens.

Skosana burst: “Listen to your chairperson. The gloves are off now”.

Another reference to the “chairperson” is linked to a conversation about a meeting that was arranged for March 26 at the Airport Grand Hotel in Boksburg. By midday, Skosana had not communicated his availability for the meeting, and the sender requested confirmation. Instead, Skosana replied with a question: “Good afternoon, are you and the other one ready at what time?

The sender texted back: “The other one is waiting for me. Let’s meet and discuss.”

Skosana responded: “So I’m meeting you alone?”

The sender confirmed the same, to which Skosana protested: “But I thought one of them will be with you. I think you should ask one of them to be present or we can then meet in Cape Town where one of them will be present.”

The sender did not immediately respond and 15 minutes later Skosana became anxious and texted two question marks. The sender then asked: “How must I get them there if they have conditions?”

Skosana responded: “I’m ready for the conditions.”

The sender was not convinced and replied that maybe it was better they abandoned the deal, to which Skosana said: “How so now because yesterday you said one of them will be with you?”

On March 27, the sender shared the location of Anew Hotel Capital Pretoria, with a text confirming availability at the hotel. “The other two are still in Gauteng until tomorrow but they do not want to meet with you yet,” said the person.

A day earlier the ANC parliamentary caucus concluded its lekgotla at the Birchwood hotel in Boksburg. Pictures of the event showed that Joemat-Pettersson was present at the event. And so was Majodina.

When Skosana appeared to be giving up, the sender requested an “urgent” meeting in Gauteng on March 31. But the record shows that four days later Skosana started threatening the sender that he would go public.

He said: “Good morning. I’m left with no other option but to expose this chairperson. I will call an urgent press conference and I’m sorry.”

The sender responded: “On what?” Skosana simply repeated the threat, to which the sender responded: “My advice is that you don’t do it. Try to negotiate.”

Tina Joemat-Peterson Whatsapp 4
Tina Joemat-Peterson Whatsapp 1
Tina Joemat-Peterson Whatsapp 3
Tina Joemat-Peterson Whatsapp 2

Records showed the first meeting between the parties was scheduled for Tang Asian Luxury Restaurant & Bar at Mandela Square in Sandton on March 21, which was subsequently moved to Ocean Basket at the “airport”.

The following day Skosana was due to travel to Cape Town, and the sender inquired whether he had arrived. The sender indicated there was a meeting scheduled for 8pm at the Protea Hotel Mowbray at the Wild Fig restaurant.

Skosana promised to get back with confirmation, after which the sender responded with two thumbs-up emojis and texted: “Urgent. They are ready”.

Speaking in parliament on Friday during the committee’s sitting, Dyantyi said members should avoid any other issues that can constitute “sideshows” to this process. He said the committee had a clear mandate to execute. “We need to remain focused and not to be distracted or derailed,” he said.

ANC MP Xola Nqola said the committee was not aware of nefarious conduct by committee members. “We want to rebuke any fiction that is intended to defocus the work of this committee,” Nqola said. “We are not going to allow ourselves to be defocused by gossip in the street and any fictitious activity out there.”

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