Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane could face impeachment proceedings

01 March 2021 - 14:13 By andisiwe makinana
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. File photo.
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. File photo.
Image: Moeletsi Mabe

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane could be the first head of a Chapter 9 institution in SA to face impeachment proceedings.

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone revealed this in a statement issued on Monday where she welcomed the finding by the independent review panel that there is a prima facie case for parliament to institute removal proceedings against the public protector.

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the legislature would issue its own statement later this afternoon.

“We are pleased by these findings and urge parliament to institute the removal proceedings against Mkhwebane without delay,” said Mazzone.

“During her tenure as public protector, the courts have made damning findings against Mkhwebane, where her fitness to hold this vital post has been called into question numerous times,” she added.

Mazzone cited several court findings against Mkhwebane among the reasons the public protector should not hold office.

Among them was that the Constitutional Court found that she acted in bad faith and was not honest with the high court regarding her investigation process in the Reserve Bank matter.

Other reasons cited by Mazzone included that she laid criminal charges against her predecessor Thuli Madonsela, for releasing a transcript of an interview she had with former president Jacob Zuma, and her appeal to overturn judge Ronel Tolmay’s scathing judgment of her poor handling of the Estina dairy farm matter and the report thereof, was dismissed by the North Gauteng High Court.

“Her independence and credibility have also been called into question on a number of occasions and she has failed to inspire trust within the public,” said Mazzone.

She said the DA believes it is of the utmost importance that Mkhwebane is removed as public protector and that “someone competent, credible and independent is appointed in this post to regain the public’s trust in this crucial Chapter 9 institution and to ensure that once again the interests of the vulnerable would be protected above the interests of the politically connected”.

The DA tabled the motion calling for an inquiry into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office in February 2020.

Mazzone said Mkhwebane had time and again demonstrated an inability to conduct her work independently. She also questioned the public protector’s understanding of law and her mandate.

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