Mkhwebane’s section 194 committee lawyers quit, finger Dyantyi

The lawyers representing Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane in the parliamentary Section 194 committee into her fitness to hold office have quit.

This is contained in a letter HM Chaane Attorneys sent to committee chairperson Richard Dyantyi on Thursday, wherein they finger him for being unreasonable.

The law firm complains that they were never treated with respect and honesty since their appointment, which made their job impossible to perform effectively.

Chaane Attorneys were first appointed on May 23, 2023, to take over from Seanago, who had also quit two months earlier.

According to the letter, the law firm’s first ill-treatment was when their services were “unceremoniously terminated” on June 7 due to the hospitalisation of the firm’s main partner.

The lawyers were “unilaterally reinstated” seven days later when the State Attorney conceded it was conflicted on the matter and could not represent Mkhwebane.

But according to Hope Chaane, what broke the camel’s back was the rejection of their several attempts to prevail upon Dyantyi that they needed to be given ample time to familiarise themselves with the case.

This was so, he argued, because the data generated by the matter before they came on board was more than 60,000 pages long.

“These requests have consistently been unfairly refused, disputed, and/or second-guessed by the chairperson of the committee, to such an extent that any proposal made or invitation to discuss the required period was either rejected or apparently fell on deaf ears,” Chaane writes to Dyantyi.

“At the risk of stating the obvious, it was not feasible to give any instructions to counsel concerning the merits of the inquiry until such time as the familiarisation process was done to a satisfactory degree and within a minimum period, which was estimated at a minimum of one month after the giving of the requested mandate.”

Chaane says what further hardened their attitudes was Dyantyi’s refusal to recuse himself even when he was implicated in serious allegations of solicitation of bribe as alleged by late ANC MP Tina Joemart-Pettersson.

The committee had reached a point of no return in being compromised, said Chaane, when on July 28 it exonerated Dyantyi from duty to recuse himself and proceeded to consider “summation,” which apparently happened without any input from Mkhwebane.

Two days after this, a draft report was adopted by the majority of the members of the committee, comprised of ANC and DA MPs.

Chaane, he charged, had never had sight of the same or his client Mkhwebane, despite it floating all over mainstream media and the committee confirming it had found the accused guilty of misconduct and incompetence.

“Under such circumstances, it became necessary and prudent to terminate the ongoing familiarisation process, which was well apace but whose further continuation would have been a wasteful exercise in futility,” Chaane tells Dyantyi.

“The purpose of this joint letter is, therefore, to formally convey to its addressees that, as a result of all the afore-going and in spite of all out patience, repeated efforts, and misplaced optimism that sanity would prevail at some stage, we have now been left with no option but to inform you, as we hereby do, that our firm hereby withdraws from any further participation or professional engagement in this matter, with immediate effect.

“Accordingly, please direct any future correspondence to the Public Protector directly or to her future legal representatives who may be appointed in terms of the governance prescripts of PPSA and in line with the relevant judgment of the Constitutional Court.”


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