Suspended Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has slammed the Section 194 committee report into her fitness to hold office, calling it illegal.
The committee submitted a draft report on Friday recommending that Mkhwebane be removed from office.
This, after finding that there were grounds to “sustain charges of misconduct and incompetence against her”.
In a statement on Friday, Mkhwebane said the report was adopted before she was given time to respond to the allegations against her.
“The so-called draft report was discussed and adopted at a time when the committee was fully aware that my legal attorneys had withdrawn on August 3 due to their ill-treatment at the hands of the chairperson and the committee.
“The process by which the committee ‘endorsed’ the decisions of the chairperson not to recuse himself for the serious allegations of corruption, extortion and bribery against him was also fatally flawed in that no proper and fair hearing was conducted but the DA and ANC partnership abused its majority to rubber stamp the non-recusal decision,” she said. Mkhwebane said it was impossible that the committee could find her “guilty” of charges related to the Reserve Bank, Vrede and Human Resources matters when she had not led any oral evidence on those topics.
“The entire process is nothing but a travesty of justice which is riddled with these and other glaring illegalities,” she, said.
The committee, however, in a statement said at no stage did it refuse or hinder Mkhwebane from being legally represented.
It added that they have assisted Mkhwebane by halting the process to resolve funding issues and secure additional funding, despite that not being part of the mandate of the committee.
“The majority of members that participated in the meeting were in favour of the removal of the suspended PP and stated that this decision was based on the overwhelming and conclusive evidence placed before it,” the committee said.
African Transformation Movement (ATM) leader Vuyo Zungula said the process was nothing but a “witch-hunt designed to impeach Mkhwebane for finding against powerful politicians”.
“The process has been in violation of CC ruling as the PP hasn’t had legal representation and she was still on the stand.
“How can the committee reach a conclusion when a key witness hasn’t even finished testifying? There is also the issue of a tainted chairperson, bribery allegations that have not been investigated and dealt with.
“The evidence that had been shared with the public shows prima facie that the chairperson ought to be thoroughly investigated,” Zungula said.
DA MP Annelie Lotriet said Mkhwebane had been afforded ample opportunity to obtain legal representation.
“Throughout the committee has been more than reasonable.
“She is also not correct in saying that the committee has adopted the report before she had time to respond. The draft report has been sent to her for comment. She has until 21 August to submit her comments on it. Only after considering her comments will the committee adopt a final report with recommendations to the NA. The PP has to test her allegations of illegalities in a court of law if she so decides,” she said.