Thandi Modise stands firm on new rules which could unseat Mkhwebane

2020-02-02 17:15
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkwhebane. (Jan Gerber, News24, file)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkwhebane. (Jan Gerber, News24, file)

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The constitutional rules and regulations being applied to the removal process for Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane are in line with the law.

This is according to a statement released by Parliament on Sunday. Speaker Thandi Modise responded in the statement to a letter she received from Mkhwebane, in which the Public Protector claims the legal grounds to remove her were not sound.

In the letter, the embattled Chapter 9 institution head alleged that the rules of the House relating to the process of removing office-bearers was unconstitutional and unlawful.

The letter followed an announcement that Modise would refer a motion tabled by the DA, requesting that Parliament initiate proceedings for Mkhwebane's removal from office, to an independent panel of experts to conduct a preliminary assessment.

Safeguard against abuse of power

"The Speaker has confirmed that the substantive motion complied with the form requirements in the rules. The Speaker alone may not unduly obstruct the right of any MP to table a duly compliant motion submitted in line with section 194 of the Constitution," said parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo.

He said the independent panel of experts still had to be established before "any decision has been made". He added that parties had until February 7 to submit preferred nominees for the panel.

Mothapo added that the National Assembly and the rules of Parliament "safeguard against any risk of abuse of power or unfairness, including the inquiry process outlined in the new rules".

"Parliament's processes and the rules adhere to the rules of natural justice, including the audi alteram partem rule, and are informed by the relevant constitutional principles of fairness, transparency and accountability.

"Accordingly, there exists no legal impediment or grounds for the Assembly not to proceed with the implementation of the new rules."

Mkhwebane would be the first public protector to be subjected to this process.

REVEALED | Busisiwe Mkhwebane's 'radical economic transformation' outburst after staff questioned ex-CEO's hiring

She has been accused of having ties to the Jacob Zuma-linked radical economic transformation (RET) faction of the ANC, which is seen as being at odds with President Cyril Ramaphosa and those close to him, such as Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Mkhwebane is currently locked in legal battles with both Ramaphosa and Gordhan over her findings against both men in separate investigations.

On Friday, former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo said the ANC would not vote with the DA in its quest to remove Mkhwebane.

"We need to put it on record that the Democratic Alliance['s] political antics of wanting to divide the African National Congress is not going to work. It's bound to fail. It's going to collapse," said Mahumapelo. He spoke outside the Cape Town Magistrate's Court moments after attending the appearance of former state security minister Bongani Bongo, who is facing a corruption case.

ALSO READ | Mahumapelo: DA's bid to oust Mkhwebane and divide ANC will fail

But on Sunday, the ANC distanced itself from Mahumapelo's comments, saying it had not yet discussed the party's position on the matter.

"The ANC caucus in Parliament, guided by the national office, is the sole authority mandated to pronounce on positions of the ANC on matters before it – not individual members, unless so delegated," ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said in a statement.

"Comrade Mahumapelo spoke in his personal capacity and his views do not represent the organisation's," Mabe added.

Meanwhile, Eyewitness News is reporting that Mkhwebane has indicated she will head to court to stop the process that could see her removed.

Her spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, is quoted as saying,"Once again, we stress her preparedness to submit herself to the process, but it must be a fair process."

Read more on:    public protector  |  busisiwe mkhwebane  |  thandi modise  |  politics
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