Public Protector Busi Mkhwebane File picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

 Parliament - The office of the African National Congress chief whip has welcomed the outcome of Parliament's justice portfolio committee which voted against an inquiry into Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's fitness to hold office.
 
This comes after National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete tasked the committee to determine whether a complaint by Democratic Alliance (DA) chief whip John Steenhuisen warranted further investigation.

The committee reached a decision that there was no basis to institute removal proceedings against Mkhwebane.

On Wednesday night the ANC said the committee also received a letter from the public protector’s office which showed that allegations that Deputy Public Protector Kevin Malunga  had unlawfully closed an investigation were false.

ANC caucus spokesperson Nonceba Mhlauli said the letter showed that the investigation DA referred to in their letter of complaint is still ongoing.

“This demonstrates the desperate lengths the DA would go to in pursuit of their witch-hunt against the Office of the Public Protector,” said Mhlauli.

“The ANC’s principled support of both Mkhwebane and Malunga was based on their continued commitment to serve the masses of South Africa without fear or favour,” said Mhlauli.
 
The ANC reiterated that media reports suggesting that the committee had previously resolved to conduct an inquiry into the fitness of the Public Protector to hold office were misleading.

“A previous meeting of the committee had voted on whether the justice committee was the correct forum to deal with the referral from the Office of the Speaker on this matter. The vote was merely on who should deal with the request. Thus the committee had not resolved on the merits of the allegations contained in the complaint of the DA,”said Mhlauli.

The party said the committee only responded to the allegations on Wednesday after having considered their merits.  

However, the DA says it will likely head to court over Wednesday's decision.

Political Bureau