Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s inquiry into fitness to hold office on ice pending ConCourt judgment
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Cape Town - The parliamentary process on the removal of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane from public office has been put in abeyance pending the ruling by the Constitutional Court on three separate direct appeals before it.
This was the word given to the National Assembly Programme Committee meeting on Thursday.
Parliament started an inquiry into the fitness of Mkhwebane to hold office after it received a motion from the DA.
However, Mkhwebane challenged the parliamentary rules on the removal from office of heads of Chapter Nine institutions.
The Western Cape High Court found unconstitutional the rule barring her legal representation during the proceedings and the appointment of a judge in an independent panel sifting the motion calling for an inquiry into her fitness.
The DA and National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula made a direct appeal to the ConCourt and Mkhwebane lodged her own appeal.
The three applications were recently heard by the Concourt and the judgment was reserved.
Briefing the National Assembly Programme Committee, the institution’s Secretary Masibulele Xaso said since the matter was before the court, they would have to wait for the decision of the court.
“At this point the matter is held in abeyance because both these issues have direct bearing on how that committee conducts itself when it deals with this matter,” Xaso said.
But, DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone asked that the parliamentary legal services make a presentation on the sub judice rule to the committee as it provided that a matter before the court could be discussed as long the merits of the case were not.
“We must have a firm understanding of what the sub judice means,” she said, adding that it would help refresh their memories.
Mapisa-Nqakula agreed to her request, but she said “whatever we discuss related to this process will be a sub judice matter”.
EFF MP Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi could not help express her wish for the outcome of the case in the Concourt.
“I wish Busisiwe Mkhwebane to win this case for control in the court of law,” Mkhaliphi said.