Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane Picture Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency

Parliament - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane will be called before Parliament's justice portfolio committee next week before MPs decide on whether or not they will institute an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

Mkhwebane failed to pitch for a meeting of the committee on Wednesday due to a family emergency, but MPs will ask her for a full explanation of her absence next week and her failure to delegate other officials to answer allegations she made appointments to her office outside the dictates of the Public Finance Management Act.

A letter from Democratic Alliance chief whip John Steenhuisen to the National Assembly Speaker's office was also circulated. MPs will have to decided whether an inquiry into her fitness to hold office will be held, given that several complaints have been made about her not understanding her mandate.

Read: Mkhwebane has gone rogue, claims DA MP

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s job under scrutiny

Justice portfolio committee chairman Mathole Motskega suggested MPs hold in abeyance a discussion on whether an inquiry should be held until Mkhwebane is given a hearing.

"It is trite law that before you judge you must hear the other side and we have to respect the law ourselves that we cannot make a decision which may prejudice any person unless we have heard that person and therefore this committee, in my view, is not competent to deal with that matter," he said. 

Mkhwebane will now be asked to first respond to the call for an inquiry before MPs decide on the way forward.

Since taking office in 2016, Mkhwebane has come under fire on various fronts. Last year a high court set aside her ruling that Parliament amend the Constitution and change the mandate of the Reserve Bank. The ruling was made in a report in which she also found that R1.125 billion should be recovered from Absa Bank for an apartheid-era bail-out granted to Bankorp, which was later bought by Absa.

Mkhwebane was accused of overreaching her powers.

She has also been accused of protecting politicians when she investigated the Vrede Dairy farm project, into which government pumped millions meant for poor beneficiaries, but which was allegedly looted by the Gupta family and its associates. 

African News Agency/ANA