The chairperson of the board of Brand South Africa Thandi Tobias could be in hot water after former CEO Kingsley Makhubela alleged that she misled one of the parliamentary committees.
Makhubela made the allegation in a complaint he lodged on March 12 to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise, who referred the complaint to the powers and privileges committee 12 days later.
He also asked the national legislature to look into a dossier entitled Anatomy of Corruption he sent and reported to law enforcement agencies.
Briefing the committee, chairperson Philly Mapulane said Tobias was alleged to have made misrepresentation about Makhubela at a meeting of the public service and administration portfolio committee on March 10.
“We requested the legal services to prepare a submission for us in order to guide the committee how to handle this referral to the committee,” Mapulane said.
Parliamentary legal advisor Andile Tetyana said Makhubela alleged that Tobias made a statement to the effect that he was fired due to a charge of misconduct by Brand South Africa.
“Dr Makhubela seems to be of a view that was not factually correct and a misrepresentation and the portfolio committee was therefore misled by the current chair of BSA,” Tetyana said.
He told MPs that the Powers, Privileges and Immunities Act protected members of the public whenever disparaging remarks or statements were made in Parliament.
“Members of the public who feel those statements might have a negative effect on his reputation and standing as citizens have the right to approach Parliament,” he said.
“If a person makes a statement to a committee or the House which is deceptive or misleading, in terms of the Act that is an offence and, of course, anyone who does it is liable to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding two years or both,” Tetyana said.
He explained that in terms of the dossier of allegations, the committee should refer it to the presidency and ask Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshaveni what her department is doing about it.
He also said if the committee pursued the matter, it would need to get minutes and a report from the public service and administration portfolio committee to ascertain the veracity of allegations Makhubela was making.
The committee would have to also request a response against the person against whom the complaint was made and then take decision on procedure to handle the complaint.
“The referral is in terms of Section 25. The committee which will be competent enough to take this forward will be the portfolio committee on public service and administration,” Tetyana said.
But, when the committee was set to discuss it emerged that the documentation was not sent to MPs by the committee secretariat.
“Anything that comes to us or comes to the chair must be sent to all the members. It does not belong to me, it belongs to the committee, especially if we directed it must be discussed,” Mapulane said.
EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said it was difficult to engage in the process to be followed in the absence of documents in their possession.
“It would be injustice to engage without forming an independent opinion informed by the documents,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by ANC Violet Siwela.
“Since we don’t have these documents, we don’t have a report, we don’t have the minutes, and I will appeal that we need to get these.
“My humble appeal is that we be given that opportunity to do the right thing,” Siwela said.
DA MP Haniff Hoosain also agreed that the documents should be properly circulated so that they could apply their mind before making a decision.
Mapulane undertook to obtain the documents, including the complaint and a response from Tobias, for their next meeting.