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Deputy public protector denies investigating Abramjee’s SMS

Gcaleka says she has no knowledge of Mkhwebane's attorneys

12 May 2022 - 15:10
Deputy public protector advocate Kholeka Gcaleka. File photo.
Deputy public protector advocate Kholeka Gcaleka. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda/Business Day

Deputy public protector Kholeka Gcaleka said on Thursday she is not investigating an alleged leak from the Constitutional Court as claimed by attorneys for public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

The alleged leak was contained in a now-infamous SMS sent by Ismail Abramjee to counsel for the speaker of parliament Andrew Breitenbach SC in a separate but related case in the Western Cape High Court on April 24.

In the SMS Abramjee said he had it “on very good authority” that the ConCourt had declined to hear Mkhwebane’s rescission application and would be announcing that decision before the coming Friday, which would have been April 29.

Mkhwebane had said in a letter to the state attorney for the speaker of parliament on May 9 that the SMS was being investigated by her office under the guidance of the deputy public protector.

But, said Gcaleka: “I have no knowledge of a complaint nor an own-initiative investigation by the office of the public protector into the suspected wrongdoing associated with the leaking of court information.”

The statement, as far as it related to her, was “a misrepresentation” and “untrue”, said Gcaleka.

“I do not know of any Seanago Attorneys, nor have they consulted me in this regard.”

However, spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said the investigation was initiated by “the office”. 

“However, out of caution, the public protector sought advice from her attorneys and was advised to delegate the matter to the deputy public protector. That is how the issue made it into the attorneys’ letter. However, the public protector and the deputy public protector had not had time to discuss the matter.”

Segalwe said Mkhwebane was overseas but had “every intention to engage the deputy public protector on the legal advice she obtained before her departure”.

She “will not discuss issues of unfortunate lapses in internal communication outside the office and therefore will not comment further on this side issue”, he said.

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