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Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane decries start of Parliamentary inquiry in midst of probe

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 12, 2022

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Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has decried the start of the Section 194 inquiry into her fitness to hold office while there is a probe by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo under way into an SMS sent to counsel for Parliament.

Mkhwebane said it was unjustifiable for MPs to press ahead with the inquiry in the prevailing atmosphere.

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She said it would be wrong to begin the process when the other outstanding issues had not been resolved.

The public protector has laid criminal charges against Ismail Abramjee after he sent an SMS to counsel for Parliament, when they were in court last month seeking an interdict to stop the inquiry.

The SMS related to a judgment on the rescission application.

Justice Zondo has promised to launch an investigation into the SMS saga.

Members of the Section 194 committee agreed on Wednesday that the impeachment process of Mkhwebane should start.

The ball will get rolling in June and the hearings are scheduled to start in July when witnesses will appear to give evidence.

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But Mkhwebane said it was premature to start with the inquiry as the other issues had not been resolved.

“However, the decision to start an inquiry in the present atmosphere, which is littered with allegations of conflicts of interest, illegality and even alleged corruption and other criminal conduct, is totally unacceptable. The outcome of Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s investigation into allegations of corruption implicating Mr Ismail Abramjee and one or more persons within the Constitutional Court, which will have a huge bearing on all the related processes, should be awaited by all reasonable people and institutions. No legitimate court or parliamentary step ought to be taken until the outcome of the pending investigation is known,” said Mkhwebane.

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