Cape Town - The committee investigating suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office is set to resume with her testimony today after the Western Cape High Court reserved judgment on her application to suspend the proceedings.
Mkhwebane had approached the high court to seek an order to review and set aside the committee’s decision from October 27 last year to dismiss her application for the postponement or adjournment of the inquiry, and to declare its decision to continue with its proceedings as presently constituted, to be unlawful, invalid and/or unconstitutional.
She also wanted the court to review and set aside the decisions by committee chairperson Qubudile Dyantyi (ANC) and committee member Kevin Mileham (DA) not to recuse themselves.
Mkhwebane had cited that Mileham was married to DA MP Natasha Mazzone, who submitted the motion to institute an inquiry.
Mkhwebane also wanted the court to order that Dyantyi and Mileham be removed from the committee for alleged bias.
She had also asked the court to set aside the committee and/or the speaker’s decisions in the form of “refusal and/or omissions to summon and/or subpoena” at least one witness and recall three others.
These were former SA Revenue Service (Sars) deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay, former Sars executive and self-declared whistle-blower Johann van Loggerenberg and former PPSA chief operating officer Basani Baloyi.
In his answering affidavit, Dyantyi requested the court to dismiss the matter with costs, inclusive of three counsels, with Mkhwebane bearing the costs.
On the claim of bias, Dyantyi said Mkhwebane’s application was an attempt to attack his and the committee’s interlocutory rulings. He said this was just one of a series of court challenges that she has launched to stymie the parliamentary process to hold her accountable.
Dyantyi said any delay in finalising the inquiry process, whether it led to Mkhwebane’s impeachment or vindication, goes against the public interest.
He emphasised the need to finalise the proceedings before Mkhwebane’s term of office expired in October.
Before the committee adjourned last week, Mkhwebane’s legal team had made a written request for a further extension for her statement. This followed Dyantyi’s previous agreement to extend the deadline from March 7 to March 9 and 14.