Knives still out for Busisiwe Mkhwebane
Johannesburg - The axe is still hovering over Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's head, with some MPs pressing on with a bid to have her removed from office four years before her term of office expires.
On Tuesday, they indicated that there was no reason to delay the process, adding that it had to be expedited as a matter of urgency.
The ANC study group in the justice committee said it supported the body’s decision to refer the matter of Mkhwebane’s removal to the rules committee to develop rules for a proper process that would be followed in the future.
ANC member and the committee’s whip, Hishaam Mohamed, said the process had to be fair and transparent.
Mkhwebane has come under pressure from Parliament with opposition parties demanding that she be fired.
However, the public protector has denied any wrongdoing, saying there was no justification for the calls to remove her from office.
The public protector has since indicated that she intended to finish her term in office and see her contract expire in 2023.
But the MPs were not budging and by Tuesday sought to write to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise, urging her to ensure that rules committee acted swiftly on formulating laws around the procedure that needed to be followed.
Mohamed said the Constitution allowed for Mkhwebane’s axing on the grounds of misconduct, incompetence or incapacity.
“However, despite this provision, the Constitution does not explicitly state the mechanism that should be employed to remove an individual from the office of the public protector,” he said.
“Therefore, it is with this in mind that Parliament’s rules committee has been tasked with drafting a set of rules that will dictate what procedure should be followed when removing the public protector, or the head of any other Chapter 9 institution from office,” Mohamed said.
DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach, meanwhile, said that the letter to the speaker detailed the need to fast-track the process.
The justice committee said that the rules would have to accommodate all Chapter 9 institutions to avoid pitfalls in the future.
The committee’s chairperson, Bulelani Magwanishe, also expressed the urgency of the matter.
The committee has yet to indicate how many days it would set down to discuss and conclude the process in question.