Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
Parliament - The DA is not giving up its fight, following a decision this week to scrap a parliamentary inquiry into the fitness of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

The party now wants Speaker Baleka Mbete to intervene and refer the matter back to the justice and correctional services portfolio committee, which had decided not to probe Mkhwebane.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen, who lodged a complaint against Mkhwebane with Mbete, argued that the committee should have first given him the opportunity to motivate his case for the probe before taking a decision to cancel it.

The inquiry was at the request of Steenhuisen after Mkhwebane admitted in court to having overreached her powers in ordering Parliament to amend the constitution.

In her controversial remedial action, Mkhwebane had ordered changing the mandate of the SA Reserve Bank when she finalised her probe into the R1.1billion bailout given to Absa by the central bank during the apartheid era.

Seek reprieve

On Thursday, Steenhuisen warned that if the official opposition was not being heard on the matter, they would seek the court’s reprieve.

“I believe the decision not to proceed with the inquiry is irrational and unreasonable. I don’t believe Parliament fulfilled its obligations in terms of allowing the member who made the request for the inquiry to motivate it,” he said.

“I believe the irrational decision of the committee is challengeable,” Steenhuisen said.

The DA was due to meet its lawyers yesterday to obtain a legal opinion and decide on the way forward.

“We will obviously take it to the Speaker, and if she refuses to listen, we will have to approach the court to review the decision of the committee not to proceed,” he said.

But Steenhuisen was hopeful that Mbete would send it back to the committee “at the very least”, to allow him to motivate his case.

He insisted that it was completely wrong that the committee dismissed the request for an inquiry without even calling him to present his case.

“They just did not give me the opportunity to state my case”

Steenhuisen was adamant that Parliament had reneged on its responsibility to hold both the executive and other state departments accountable.

“The courts found that the public protector had grossly overreached and overestimated her powers in instructing Parliament to amend the constitution.

“That is a serious indictment on someone who is not only an advocate of the High Court of the Republic of SA, but also an office-bearer in the Office of the Public Protector.”

Daily News