Mkhwebane is prepared to break the law to drive political agendas - DA

By Drum Digital
20 June 2017

By Aphiwe Boyce

Democratic Alliance (DA) expressed serious disquiet at the ‘remedial action’ proposed by the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, in which she instructed Parliament’s Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development to amend the Constitution in relation to the powers of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

DA’s Shadow Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Glynnis Breytenbach said Mkhwebane’s recommendation goes beyond what she is legally empowered to do. Breytenbach said Public Protector’s proposal is indicative of her long-term plan to render the Public Protectors office ineffective. “The effect of the remedial action would be to instruct the justice committee to promote the action, which in itself appears sinister and is a cause for great concern,” she said.

Breytenbach said her party will therefore seek a meeting with the Head of the Parliamentary Legal Services, requesting a confirmation that a Public Protector instruction for Parliament to amend the Constitution is illegal and to determine if Parliament will be taking this action on review, given the grave constitutional implications. “The SARB have received a legal opinion confirming that the ‘remedial action’ is both outside of Mkhwebane’s powers and illegal and has indicated their intention of having the matter reviewed…The remedial actions announced yesterday are very disturbing and they mean that the new Public Protector has either failed to understand her role and powers as Public Protector, or she simply is prepared to break the law to drive political agendas,” she stated.

DA added that Mkhwebane’s remedial action to amend the Constitution also undermines and usurps Parliamentary powers. “The National Assembly is the only institution empowered to amend the Constitution – once it has attained a two-thirds majority from MPs. Mkhwebane’s recommendation is also, therefore, a threat to Parliament’s legislative power.”

Breytenbach reiterated that her party strongly opposed Mkhwebane’s appointment to replace Thuli Madonsela as they believed that she was not the best candidate

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