Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Danie van der Lith/African News Agency (ANA)
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Danie van der Lith/African News Agency (ANA)

Bid to stop Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s removal put on ice

By MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA Time of article published Mar 24, 2020

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Cape Town - Parliament has confirmed that the application by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to interdict her removal from public office has been postponed indefinitely, as agreed by interested parties.

“The parties participating in the application by the public protector for an interim interdict of the parliamentary process, which was scheduled for hearing on March 26 and 27, have agreed that it be postponed until further notice.

“This agreement has been made an order of the Western Cape High Court,” parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said on Monday.

Mothapo’s statement comes after reports surfaced on Monday stating that Mkhwebane’s attorney, Theo Seanego, wrote to Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe to ask pthe case be indefinitely postponed “due to Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent suspension of the business of the National Assembly until further notice, including the process of the motion for the impeachment of the incumbent public protector”.

Her office took to Twitter to caution the journalist who tweeted about the postponement, saying the wrong impression had been created that Mkhwebane was delaying the matter when that was not the case.

“Let’s kindly refrain from tweeting wrong info about the PP, whose legal team was ready to proceed with Part A, but were asked by other interested parties to postpone indefinitely. The Speaker’s legal team confirmed this.”

Mkhwebane also entered the fray, tweeting from her personal account complaining about “wrong narrative” in the reporting. “It is not my legal team which asked for the postponement. Refrain from misleading the public ... fair reporting must be adhered to,” she wrote.

When the letter from Mkhwebane’s attorney to Judge Hlophe was shared, her office stated in a series of tweets that the African Transformation Movement (ATM) had requested the postponement due to coronavirus.

“The PP disagreed, as her legal team was ready for the hearing. Other parties such as the Speaker agreed with ATM’s proposal. In the end, it fell on the PP as the applicant to inform the Judge President of the parties’ agreement,” Mkhwebane’s office said.

Neither the ATM nor the DA, which is opposing the application, responded to the request for comment.

But Mkhwebane’s office noted that other media reported she had requested the postponement. “This has led to some interpreting this to mean she is playing for time.”

Political Bureau

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