Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. File photo

CAPE TOWN - South Africa deserves an objective public protector who is committed to upholding the rights of all citizens and defending them without fear or favour, and Busisiwe Mkhwebane has proved she is not the right fit, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

The DA had asked National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to expedite the process to remove Mkhwebane in terms of section 194 of the Constitution, DA spokeswoman Glynnis Breytenbach said.

This section stated that the public protector may be removed from office on: (a) the ground of misconduct, incapacity, or incompetence; (b) a finding to that effect by a committee of the National Assembly; and (c) The adoption by the Assembly of a resolution calling for that person’s removal from office.

The speaker should now see to it that the proceedings to have the public protector removed commence swiftly, as Mkhwebane had repeatedly demonstrated that she was not fit to serve as public protector. The decision by the High Court to set aside her Bankorp-CIEX report, in which she recommended that ABSA pay back R1.1 billion to the government, was a damning indictment on her fitness to hold office, Breytenbach said.

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"She clearly does not understand her role as public protector and misconstrued the powers of her office when, in the same report, she proposed that the [SA] Reserve Bank’s mandate be amended.

"The DA has repeatedly called for Mkhwebane to be fired as public protector, as having her at the helm has harmed the integrity of the office she holds. Just last week, Mkhwebane said the DA was 'unpatriotic' for criticising her work. Such remarks show that she is biased and that cannot be accepted from the head of a Chapter 9 institution."

The DA had previously instituted the process of Mkhwebane’s removal through the justice committee, but it was "shut down by the ANC members that form part of this committee towing the party line". 

"Parliament can no longer sit idly by while this important office is rendered useless by the incumbent. South Africa deserves an objective public protector who is committed to upholding the rights of all citizens and defending them without fear or favour and Mkhwebane has proved she is not the right fit.

"The Speaker must now act with haste in order to ensure that parliament can do its work immediately by firing Mkhwebane, which would begin to restore public confidence in this important institution," Breytenbach said.

African News Agency/ANA