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MPs agree to begin impeachment of Busisiwe Mkhwebane

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to face impeachment in Parliament. Picture: Theo Jephta African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to face impeachment in Parliament. Picture: Theo Jephta African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published May 11, 2022

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Cape Town - Parliament is forging ahead with the inquiry into Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, for her fitness to hold office, after members of the Section 194 committee agreed to start the process in June.

The ad hoc committee plans to complete the process by the end of September, after listening to evidence from witnesses and giving Mkhwebane an opportunity to respond.

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ANC MPs and other parties agreed there were no legal impediments stopping them from proceeding with the impeachment of Mkhwebane, after the Constitutional Court ruled against her in the rescission application.

Parliament’s legal adviser Siviwe Njikela said the Western Cape High Court application by Mkhwebane and the latest rescission application have no bearing on the work of Parliament.

“The matter before the High Court, as you correctly point out, was postponed to May 18 and 19, and the basis of that application, as you will recall, was that there was a rescission application which has since been decided on May 6. We don’t know what will be argued on May 18 and 19, based on what has already happened. But, like I indicated, there is a different application for a rescission of a rescission, which is a curveball for all of us.

“I am reluctant to go into the merits. But that was the basis of May 18 and 19, that there was a rescission which has since been decided. On the issue of the sub-judice rule that General (Bantu) Holomisa has raised, we have always maintained that, right from the beginning, the work of Parliament cannot be trumped by what is before court. Otherwise Parliament will be paralysed in every instance,” said Njikela.

Chairperson of the committee Qubudile Dyantyi said the Section 194 inquiry will now have to go ahead and urged members to focus on their work and not be distracted.

ANC deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude said, from the presentation of the legal adviser, there was nothing stopping them from continuing with their work.

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ANC MPs also said the issue of the SMS was immaterial, as that was handled by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

This related to an SMS sent by Ismail Abramjee to counsel for Parliament, that forced the postponement of the interdict application in the Western Cape High High Court last month to May 18 and 19.

ATM leader Vuyo Zungula said the issue of the SMS cannot be swept under the carpet, as it was serious.

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He said there was a police investigation into the SMS and another probe by the chief justice.

He said the committee cannot pre-empt what will happen to these investigations.

But other parties said the impeachment proceedings against Mkhwebane must go ahead and there was nothing stopping the committee.

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The legal advisers of Parliament said evidence leaders, advocates Nazreen Bawa, SC and Ncumisa Mayosi, are busy analysing the evidence.

The work will begin in June.

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