NEWS

Public Protector Removal Proceedings Won't Go Ahead

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane will not face an inquiry into her conduct after MPs vote against it.

30/11/2017 05:18 SAST | Updated 30/11/2017 05:22 SAST
Deaan Vivier/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane during a media briefing to mark 100 days in office on February 02, 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa.

The DA's attempt to have Parliament institute an inquiry into the conduct of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane breathed its last breath on Wednesday.

The National Assembly voted to adopt the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Service's report stating that there was "no basis" to institute an inquiry into Mkhwebane's tumultuous first year in office.

READ: Reserve Bank Slams Busisiwe Mkhwebane For 'Abusing Her Office'

The portfolio committee resolved on October 25 that an inquiry was not necessary, in a spectacular U-turn after initially agreeing to look into the matter two weeks prior, even agreeing to sit on weekends.

DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach said that the ANC was clearly divided on Mkhwebane.

"The chairperson (Mathole Motshekga) himself advocated for an ad hoc committee and was roundly criticised by his own members. He obviously did not receive the hymn sheet in time," she mocked.

Breytenbach cited Mkhwebane's recommendation that Parliament remove the clause in the Constitution to protect the rand, and an allegation that she consulted the Presidency about one of her reports as evidence for an inquiry.

"This is the Public Protector the ANC wants," Breytenbach claimed.

She is a Public Protector who does not have the slightest grasp about what it means to be independent.

Mkhwebane 'a deeply compromised person'

EFF MP Thembinkosi Rawula said Parliament should take the chance to reconsider the appointment of Mkhwebane, who he claimed "represents none of the values" a Public Protector should stand for.

"It ought to be the responsibility of this House to correct the mistake we made to give the office of the Public Protector to such a deeply compromised person," he said.

He also slammed Mkhwebane's directive that Parliament amend one of the nation's laws as "incompetence".

"This is power not even the courts have," Rawula said.

ACDP MP Steve Swart said it was very clear and on record that the inquiry would be held by the portfolio committee, and that he was flabbergasted by the ANC's U-turn.

ANC whip in the justice committee Makgathatso Pilane-Majake, however, disagreed with her opposition counterparts.

Opposition walkout

She said Mkhwebane showed an understanding of her role, and her mistakes were not grounds for her to be removed.

"The DA's request was politically motivated. The DA from the onset was the only political party that did not support the appointment of the Public Protector.

The Public Protector had made a mistake and she acknowledged it.

The NFP was the only opposition party to support the ANC's position to dismiss the request for an inquiry.

The vote passed by 156 votes to 14, with the majority of opposition MPs having walked out.

-- News24