Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane will appear in a Pretoria court again in March on several charges of perjury. File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane will appear in a Pretoria court again in March on several charges of perjury. File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Busisiwe Mkhwebane has a case to answer over sustained incompetence, says independent panel

By Sihle Mavuso Time of article published Mar 1, 2021

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Cape Town – The three-member panel that conducted preliminary assessment on allegations of misconduct and incompetence against Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she has a case to answer.

The panel said the charges, based on the findings of prima facie evidence of incompetence and misconduct, should be referred to a parliamentary committee to investigate Mkhwebane.

This comes after the report of the panel was submitted to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise last week and then made public on Monday.

The panel was mandated to conduct a preliminary assessment and make a recommendation on whether there is prima facie evidence showing that Mkhwebane has committed misconduct or is incompetent.

Parliamentary spokesperson Molotov Mothapo said in a statement that the panel had assessed the DA motion calling for Mkhwebane’s removal from office.

Mothapo said the panel found there was substantial information that constitutes prima facie evidence of incompetence. These includes evidence demonstrating Mkhwebane’s overreach and exceeding the bounds of her powers in terms of the Constitution and the Public Protector Act, repeated errors of the same kind, such as incorrect interpretation of the law, and other patent legal errors.

“According to the panel, these instances, cumulatively assessed, meet the threshold of prima facie evidence of sustained incompetence," Mothapo said.

He also said the panel had found there was sufficient information that constitutes prima facie evidence of misconduct.

The examples given include Mkhwebane's failure to reveal she had meetings with former president Jacob Zuma and the State Security Agency, her wrong findings on money laundering in the CR17 Campaign matter, and her unexplained doubting of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s bona fides.

"The panel recommends that, for the reasons contained in its reports, the charges based on the findings of prima facie evidence of incompetence and misconduct be referred to a committee of the National Assembly to investigate/inquire (if it so resolves) in terms of section 194 of the Constitution.“

Mothapo said the rules of the National Assembly stipulated that once the panel has made its recommendations, Modise should schedule these for decision by the House.

“If the House decides the inquiry should go ahead, it must be referred to a special section 194 committee, for formal inquiry. The Speaker must inform the president of any action or decision coming from the recommendations," Mothapo added.

Political Bureau

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