Knives are out following another court ruling, but Mkhwebane is safe ... for now

Public protector Busiswe Mkhwebane
Public protector Busiswe Mkhwebane

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane whose fitness to hold office has been a subject of debate and faced numerous calls to vacate her office is safe for the meantime, at least for the next month to be specific.

The portfolio committee on justice and correctional services, through its chairperson Bulenani Magwanishe, has revealed that although it had received numerous requests to look into the fitness of Mkhwebane, to hold office, it could only attend to this matter in September.

Magwanishe on Wednesday confirmed that he had received communication from the office of the speaker Thandi Modise “regarding a request to look into the fitness of Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane to hold office.”

But he said that “the committee has not had an opportunity to discuss this request”.

His committee “will discuss the request and map out a way forward at the first possible opportunity when it resumes its work after the Parliamentary recess period, provisionally set down for September 3. It is only after that the committee would be able to comment further on this matter.”

The South African Federation of Trade Unions, Corruption Watch, and The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse are among a host of organisations that have called on the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services to force Mkhwebane out of office.

Following the damning and scathing Constitutional Court judgment – which not only dismissed Public Protector’s appeal against personal cost order by the North Gauteng High Court but which also branded her a liar, calling her dishonest – the federation of trade unions joined the growing list calling for Mkhwebane’s head to roll.

Read: Mkhwebane vows to clear her name: 'I am not a liar, I did my work in good faith'

Corruption Watch also joined the list when the organisation last week called on Parliament “to initiate an urgent investigation” to determine whether Mkhwebane was fit to hold office.

On Monday Mkhwebane suffered her fourth major defeat in the country’s courts when Judge Sulet Potterill – who was castigated by EFF leader Julius Malema last week because she was white – granted an interim interdict to Pravin Gordhan in the North Gauteng High Court

Potterill ruled that Mkwebane was not “entitled” to entertain complaints that were older than two years and that her findings on the so-called South African Revenue Services (Sars) rogue unit were “flawed”.

The Public Protector report, which was released earlier this month, instructed President Cyril Ramaphosa to initiate disciplinary hearings against Gordhan within 30 days of the release of the report.

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