MPs forge ahead with impeachment, despite Mkhwebane's mooted rescission application

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Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
  • Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane intends to apply to rescind the Constitutional Court ruling that allowed Parliament to proceed with her impeachment.
  • MPs on the Section 194 committee decided to forge ahead nonetheless, after legal advice that nothing prevents them from doing their work.
  • The committee also adopted a programme that will see them finish their work by late September.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has made a last-ditch effort to prevent her impeachment from proceeding in Parliament.

It did not have the desired effect.

Three weeks ago, the Constitutional Court effectively gave Parliament the green light to continue with the impeachment. Mkhwebane must now be allowed legal representation when the hearings take place.

The process does not have to start from scratch because the court found nothing unconstitutional had taken place in the process so far.

This was confirmed by Parliament's legal services when the committee handling the impeachment met on Tuesday. It is called a Section 194 committee after the section of the Constitution allowing for a Chapter 9 institution head's removal.

However, the committee was also informed Mkhwebane wrote a letter to the legal services and National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula informing them she intended to apply to the Constitutional Court for a rescission order.

READ | Busisiwe Mkhwebane's impeachment set to resume next week

Mkhwebane also asked Parliament to halt its process, pending her mooted rescission order.

Parliamentary legal services told the MPs on the Section 194 committee there was currently no court order preventing them from continuing with their work. They also wrote back to Mkhwebane informing her of this.

Shortly before Tuesday's 14:00 meeting, she responded, again asking Parliament to postpone its business.

"The highest court has given a judgment, and we are following that judgment," said parliamentary legal advisor Barbara Loots.

Legal advisor Sivwe Njikela said there was no legal impediment to the committee's work.

MPs from the DA, GOOD, FF Plus and ANC all agreed the committee should continue with its work. No one objected. 

The committee adopted a terms of reference, which would allow Mkhwebane to use a legal representative, as the Constitutional Court ordered, and question witnesses.

MPs will also be allowed to question witnesses called by Mkhwebane. There will also be an evidence leader.

The committee adopted a programme to see that it completes its work by the end of September. It must determine whether Mkhwebane should be removed from her position.

The committee will report to the National Assembly, where a two-thirds majority will be required to remove her.

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