A showdown is looming between Thandi Modise and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane after political parties backed the speaker in the pair’s legal battle. Picture: Reuters
A showdown is looming between Thandi Modise and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane after political parties backed the speaker in the pair’s legal battle. Picture: Reuters

Political parties back Modise in bid to remove public protector

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Feb 9, 2020

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Cape Town - A showdown is looming between Thandi Modise and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane after political parties backed the speaker in the pair’s legal battle.

Political parties and Modise insisted on Saturday there was nothing legally preventing Parliament from removing Mkhwebane despite her court application to block the move.

This comes after Modise extended the deadline for parties to submit the names of people to sit on the independent panel to assess whether there was prima facie evidence against Mkhwebane.

Spokesperson for Parliament Moloto Mothapo said yesterday there was nothing legally stopping them from going ahead with the process.

He said once the deadline of Wednesday, to submit the names of people to sit on the panel was met, Modise would embark on a process of appointing fit and proper persons to serve on the panel.

“With regard to the papers (filed by Mkhwebane), Parliament will oppose the application in defence of the powers of Parliament and holding Chapter 9 institutions accountable,” said Mothapo.

The DA, IFP, Cope and African Christian Democratic Party also backed the Speaker to go ahead with the process.

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone said the process followed by Parliament was lawful and constitutional.

ACDP MP Steve Swart said the process to remove Mkhwebane would go ahead and they support Modise in the matter.

“We are saying there is nothing to prevent the speaker from continuing with the process. We believe the rules are lawful and constitutional. There is nothing in law that prevents the speaker from continuing,” he said.

The IFP’s Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the party expected the process to go ahead despite the court action by Mkhwebane.

“We have always said the public protector must subject herself to due process. Where we fundamentally differ with the public protector is when the protector questions the role of Parliament,” said Hlengwa.

He said if Parliament was good enough to appoint Mkhwebane, it was also good enough to hold her accountable.

He said since Mkhwebane had cited all the parties in her court application, the IFP was likely to oppose her application.

“If she believes she has done nothing wrong, she has nothing to worry about. We, as the IFP are engaged in this process objectively.”

Mkhwebane launched her court bid this week after she questioned the process to remove her. She said it was unconstitutional and unlawful.

Mothapo would not say when they would file their papers against Mkhwebane. But Parliament would not be deterred and the process would go ahead as planned.

POLITICAL BUREAU

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