Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. File photo: ANA
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. File photo: ANA

Public Protector's fate now lies with independent panel

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Jan 25, 2020

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Cape Town - Political parties have welcomed the decision of the Parliament speaker, Thandi Modise, to approve a motion to initiate a process on the removal of the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

The DA, IFP and ACDP said yesterday this will be an opportunity for Mkhwebane to defend herself against the allegations.

The official opposition lodged the complaint last year after Parliament approved new rules on the removal of a head of a Chapter 9 institution.

Yesterday Modise said an independent panel would be set up to deal with the process.

The speaker has written to parties to submit names of people who would serve on the panel.

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone said they wanted Mkhwebane to be removed. “In terms of the new rules, the process must start with a substantive motion in the National Assembly, after which the speaker must forward the motion and its supporting documentation to an independent panel to assess if there are grounds for setting up a special section 194 committee to consider the removal of the person in question,” said Mazzone.

“The speaker has already written to parties to nominate persons to sit on the panel and we are therefore encouraged that the process will move ahead with appropriate urgency,” she said.

IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said this was an opportunity for Mkhwebane to answer for herself.

“We have always said the public protector must be given an opportunity to defend herself on allegations against her and only a due process can deliver that,” said Hlengwa.

He said this was an important process that would give all sides a platform to state their case.

He said Parliament was within its right to set up this process because of its oversight responsibility.

“Our expectation is for the public protector to co-operate, if she has nothing to hide. This is an opportunity for her to clear her name.”

ACDP MP Steve Swart said they welcomed the approval of the motion by the speaker. He said Parliament had adopted new rules and it was up to the National Legislature to appoint an independent panel to determine if “there was prima facie evidence in the complaint”.

“We trust there will be proper and fair process to consider the facts and hear both sides,” said Swart.

The DA has in the past argued that Mkhwebane was not a fit and proper person for the position.

It said the judgments against her, including the CIEX report on the lifeboat of Absa by the Reserve Bank many years ago and the Estina dairy farm project, were an indictment against her.

She is still facing other legal challenges from members of the executive and the DA. She has in the recent past been issued with personal cost orders.

But Mkhwebane has maintained that she has done her job well.

Political Bureau 

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