Parliament attending to DA request to have Public Protector removed from office
Politics / 3 June 2019, 10:26am / MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA
Cape Town - National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise is seeking advice on how to deal with the DA’s request for the removal of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane from office.
DA chief whip John Steenhuisen wrote to Modise 10 days ago, asking the national legislature to institute the removal proceedings against Mkhwebane, after the North Gauteng High Court set aside her report into the Vrede Dairy Project.
The public protector might be removed from office on a finding of “misconduct, incapacity or incompetence” by a portfolio committee, followed by the adoption of a resolution by two-thirds of the National Assembly.
Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said Modise had responded to Steenhuisen, saying his request was receiving attention.
“In terms of the rules of Parliament, the Speaker is obligated to refer such a request to an appropriate structure of Parliament for its consideration,” Mothapo said.
In his latest letter to Modise, Steenhuisen said Mkhwebane had compromised the integrity of the Office of the Public Protector by showing a poor understanding of both the law and her own powers.
He also said Mkhebane’s office had not only stumbled from one blunder to the next, and felt that the public had lost faith in her ability to competently and fairly represent their best interests.
Steenhuisen has accused Mkhwebane of jumping to the defence of former president Jacob Zuma by laying criminal charges against her predecessor, Thuli Madonsela, for releasing the transcript of her interview with him.
He also said she admitted to stepping outside of her mandate by recommending changing the constitution regarding the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank when her report was set aside by the court.
Steenhuisen also said Mkhwebane had first consulted Zuma’s legal advisers and discussed further recommendations not included in her initial report into the Absa-Bankorp bailout.
The ANC has yet to take a stand on whether to support Mkhwebane’s removal from office.
Mkhwebane’s spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said the public protector was focused on bringing justice to the people of South Africa.
“She is about to post - in the latest annual report - a successful finalization of around 10 000 of a total of 14 000 that her office dealt with during the twelve months leading up to March 31, 2019.
“This will be an add on to a successful run since taking office, during which period she has dealt with nearly 50 000 matters, finalizing around 70% of those,” Segalwe said.
He also said during the same period, Mkhwebane produced 100 formal investigation reports.
“More than 70 of these reports have not been challenged in court and only two of her reports have to date been set aside by the courts. She is focused on building on these achievements and won’t allow room for any distractions,” Segalwe added.
Meanwhile, Parliament is expected to set up committees this week.
Mothapo said a meeting of the chief whips forum and the National Assembly Rules Committee were planned for Wednesday.