Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

No respite for Public Protector Mkhwebane as calls mount for her removal

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Feb 2, 2020

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Cape Town - Political parties have insisted they will press ahead with the submission of names to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, of people to serve on an independent panel to assess the prima facie case against Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

The DA, IFP, United Democratic Movement (UDM) and African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) said on Saturday the rules drafted by Parliament to remove the head of a Chapter 9 institution, including the public protector, were constitutional and in line with the law.

This follows a letter by Mkhwebane to Modise to question the process, saying it was unlawful and unconstitutional.

The Speaker had set a deadline for Friday for parties to submit names.

This comes as ANC MP Supra Mahumapelo said the ruling party would not support the DA motion to remove Mkhwebane.

ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina did not respond to questions on Saturday.

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone said Mkhwebane was wrong in her letter to the Speaker.

She said Mkhwebane must get constitutional advice on the powers of Parliament and that the DA would give the name of the person to serve on the independent panel before the deadline. However, Mazzone refused to divulge the name of their preferred candidate.

“We do have someone in mind, but the Speaker will be the first one we tell about that,” said Mazzone.

Narend Singh, the IFP chief whip, also said there was nothing wrong with the rules of Parliament.

“We participated in drafting the rules in the removal of heads of Chapter 9 institutions,” he said, adding if Mkhwebane was unhappy she had a right to take Parliament to court.

But Singh insisted Parliament followed the law in crafting the rules.

“Parliament is allowed to follow its own course in terms of taking issues forward,” he said.

Singh said the IFP’s national executive committee will meet tomorrow to come up with the names of people to serve on the independent panel.

ACDP MP Steve Swart said the rules adopted by Parliament were lawful. He said the process must continue on the removal of the public protector.

“If the public protector holds a different view, she is welcome to approach the court. We believe the rules are lawful and constitutional. We will urge the Speaker to continue with the process,” said Swart.

He said they would submit the name of a person to sit on the independent panel. Swart said the ACDP would want someone like a judge to serve in the panel.

Modise had more than a week ago outlined steps that would be followed in the removal of the public protector.

The DA had tabled the motion immediately after Parliament passed the new rules on the removal of a head of a Chapter 9 institution last December.

Political Bureau

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