Modise appoints retired judge and two senior counsels in panel for Mkhwebane’s removal
Cape Town - National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise has appointed a retired judge and two senior counsels to determine whether there was a case for Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to answer before forging ahead with an inquiry to remove her from office.
Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said Modise has appointed Justice Bess Nkabinde as chairperson of the panel along with advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza and advocate Johan de Waal.
This comes as Mkhwebane is appealing the Western Cape High Court ruling that gave the go-ahead for the inquiry after her interdict application was dismissed.
Mothapo said the constitution and the rules of the National Assembly provided for procedures to remove an office-bearer in Chapter 9 institutions.
DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone had earlier this year tabled a motion for the removal of the Mkhwebane.
"In accordance with the rules, the Speaker invited parties to submit nominations for the establishment of an independent panel to conduct a preliminary inquiry to assess the motion.
"The panel must consist of three fit and proper persons who must collectively possess the necessary legal and other competencies," Mothapo said.
He also said parties had submitted a list of nominees.
"The Speaker remains grateful to parties for their considered inputs."
Mothapo said that in considering the nominations, the persons were then approached.
Some of the nominees were, however, not available because of professional commitments and other considerations, he said.
"Pursuant to these considerations, the Speaker has appointed the following persons to the panel: Justice Bess Nkabinde (as Chairperson); Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza; and Advocate Johan de Waal.
Justice Nkabinde is a lawyer and has served in various judicial capacities, including as a judge in the Constitutional Court.
Advocate Ntsebeza is a senior counsel and has served in various positions and judicial capacities and commissions, including as an acting judge while Advocate De Waal is a senior counsel and also an academic.
Mothapo said the panel would start its duties on a date to be announced.
"The panel must determine whether there is prima facie evidence to show that the holder of a public office committed misconduct; is incapacitated; or is incompetent.
"In so doing, it must provide the holder of a public office with a reasonable opportunity to respond, in writing, to all relevant allegations," he said.
"It may not hold oral hearings but must limit its assessment to the relevant written and recorded information placed before it," Mothapo added.
Mothapo said in terms of the rules, the three-member panel would complete its work and report within 30 days.
"The report in turn must be scheduled for consideration by the House. The panel may otherwise determine its own working arrangements," he added.
On Tuesday, the Western Cape High Court reserved judgement in a leave to appeal by Mkhwebane to a ruling that dismissed her interdict application.
In her second part of the application, that is still to be heard, Mkhwebane wants Modise, among others, to recuse herself from the court action as a conflicted person.
She also wants the court to declare the rules to remove the heads of Chapter 9 institutions from office unconstitutional and to set aside Modise’s decision.