Cape Town - Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Busisiwe Mkhwebane has rejected the recommendations outlined in Parliament’s Committee for Section 194 Inquiry draft report, and has said the inquiry was marred by illegalities, and crucial facts have been disregarded.
The parliamentary committee investigating her fitness to continue holding office met on Friday, and reached a consensus to propose to Parliament that Mkhwebane be removed from her position.
The committee had given Mkhwebane a final opportunity to respond in writing to the draft report by August 21, for the committee’s further consideration, and said based on her reaction there would be space to reconsider the draft before adopting a final report for Parliament.
At the weekend, Mkhwebane took to X (formerly Twitter) to respond to the committee, and said it had conveniently swept certain facts under the carpet.
“The so-called draft report was discussed and adopted at a time when the committee was fully aware that my attorneys had withdrawn on August 3 due to their ill treatment at the hands of the chairperson and the committee.”
Mkhwebane wondered how she could be expected to comment on the draft report while she was still engaged with the Office of the Public Protector as part of the process of choosing a legal representative.
She said that when the committee “unceremoniously” stopped her evidence on March 31, she was never excused by (committee chairperson) Qubudile Dyantyi, and as such considered herself to still be on the stand, and this was yet another “glaring illegality”.
Mkhwebane said the ANC and the DA had engaged in a partnership to rubber stamp Dyantyi’s “fatally flawed” refusal to recuse himself, as no proper hearing into the recusal application had been held.
During Friday’s meeting, Dyantyi said the committee received correspondence that Mkhwebane’s attorneys, Chaane Attorneys, had withdrawn as her attorneys of record without having briefed her senior counsel (Dali Mpofu) since its appointment. Chaane Attorneys were Mkhwebane’s second attorneys of record to withdraw its services.
At the same time, the committee insisted it had never refused or hindered Mkhwebane from being legally represented. It said that, if anything, it had assisted Mkhwebane by halting its processes to resolve funding issues and secure additional funding, despite this not being part of its mandate.
Although the majority of committee members who participated in last week’s meeting agreed with removing Mkhwebane, the EFF and Al Jama-ah, voted against the recommendation, with the EFF saying it would take the matter on review.
Al Jama-ah MP Ganief Hendricks accused the committee members, who had voted in support of Mkhwebane’s removal, of “toeing the party line”, and said his party wanted her to serve her full term, which ended in October.
In July, the Ad Hoc Committee to Nominate Mkhwebane’s successor, shortlisted eight candidates to be interviewed for the position and is going through a screening process with the aim of interviewing the candidates on Wednesday and Thursday next week.