Public Protector survives vote in DA bid for probe to remove her

2019-02-26 12:36
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Pic: Netwerk24)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Pic: Netwerk24)

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Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane will not be probed for possible removal from office following a majority vote by Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on Tuesday.

"As of now that report has been adopted by the committee – six against three," said acting chairperson Mothapo Moremadi. 

The opposition DA was fuming after the bid introduced by its chief whip John Steenhuisen was rejected in a report on the matter tabled before the committee. 

'Disgrace'

"It's nothing short of a disgrace," said DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach when confronted with a short report on recommendations. 

It ends with: "The committee recommends that the House does not support the request to expedite proceedings to remove the Public Protector, Adv. B Mkhwebane from office". 

The EFF, which had originally been unhappy with Mkhwebane's appointment, has softened towards her, much to the chagrin of the DA.

Thilivhali Mulaudzi, an EFF MP, was among the six people who voted for the adoption of the report recommending that it was premature to start an inquiry into Mkhwebane's early removal from office.

He recommended that her office should instead receive more support. 

Motivation

Mkhwebane had submitted a 28-page report to the committee motivating why she should not be removed. 

Some committee members felt that her tone was disrespectful to the committee, but this did not influence the majority decision that she should stay. 

Breytenbach said the DA would produce a minority report on the matter because it felt that the full discussions on the issue were not captured in the report which contained one page plus one paragraph on another page. 

She also submitted that the committee had "flip-flopped" on the matter.

The ACDP's Steve Swart agreed, saying: "I thought it was unanimous that we were quite upset with her attitude with this committee.

"There was no dissenting view. If we allow that to go through as it is, then it sets a dangerous precedent for the way Chapter 9 institutions treat this committee. So I think we should have some reference to that in this report."

The report made no mention of Mkhwebane's defence.

READ: Parliamentary committee's displeasure 'not enough to remove me' - Mkhwebane

The ANC's Gijimani Skosana said there would be plenty of opportunity to debate those issues after it was tabled and brought before the National Assembly.

In February 2018 Steenhuisen asked the National Assembly to expedite the procedures to remove Mkhwebane. 

Mkhwebane came under fire over a finding she made against Absa in a report on the Bankcorp-CIEX matter, and has to cover some of the costs incurred by the South African Reserve Bank out of her own pocket. 

The committee deliberated on the matter on December 5, according to the report, and decided that it was up to the National Assembly to determine whether her conduct rendered her unfit to hold office. The majority on the committee agreed that since legal proceedings relating to a judgment against her were still ongoing, it would be premature to institute removal proceedings.

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Read more on:    public protector  |  busisiwe mkhwebane  |  parliament 2019
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