Public Protector hearing postponed after ANC pulls committee chairperson

29 August 2018 - 13:38
By Andisiwe Makinana
Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane
Image: Moeletsi Mabe Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane

A parliamentary meeting to consider Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's submission as to why she should not be removed from office was postponed on Wednesday morning.

The National Assembly's justice and correctional service committee met briefly but could not continue with its agenda because the ANC had removed the committee's longstanding chairperson Mathole Motshekga.

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Vincent Smith was elected the committee's new chairperson.

He requested that he get time to familiarise himself with the committee's business including the item on today's agenda – the DA's request for Parliament to expedite the procedure to remove Mkhwebane from office.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen lodged a complaint with National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete requesting that the National Assembly initiate procedures to remove Mkhwebane from office. This followed a high court judgement that she had grossly over-reached her powers‚ had shown poor understanding of the law and of her own powers and had sacrificed her independence and impartiality with regards to the Absa/Bankorp report.

When Steenhuisen appeared before the committee in June‚ he argued that sufficient grounds existed to‚ at the very least‚ warrant an inquiry into Mkhwebane's fitness to hold office.

In her response‚ Mkhwebane warned Parliament against instituting a process to have her removed from office‚ saying threats to dismiss her on the basis of what is reflected in her reports constituted interference with the functioning of her office and were tantamount to a criminal offence punishable in terms of the law.