The DA rejects the position adopted by the ANC members serving on the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services that it is “premature” to initiate an inquiry into the fitness of the Public Protector, Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to hold office.
The majority party has once again used its numbers to shield the Mkhwebane from scrutiny and has, as a consequence, abrogated the Committee’s oversight responsibilities.
They conveniently ignored the fact that the High Court described her preliminary report in the ABSA/CIEX matter as “incoherent, confused and confusing” and found that her “explanation and begrudging concession of unconstitutionality offer no defence to the charges of illegality, irrationality and procedural unfairness.”
Indeed, Mkhwebane’s own advocate argued, in the Constitutional Court, that she showed bad judgment, but did not act in bad faith, when she did not disclose her meeting with then-president Jacob Zuma.
Once again, the ANC has chosen to pull Parliament’s teeth instead of using their Constitutional powers to exercise oversight.
Section 194 (1) of the Constitution explicitly empowers Parliament to consider and remove the Public Protector on-
(a) the ground of misconduct, incapacity or incompetence;
(b) a finding to that effect by a committee of the National Assembly; and
(c) the adoption by the Assembly of a resolution calling for that person’s removal from office.
We are also puzzled by the EFF’s decision to abstain from today’s vote, despite sharing our opinion that Mkhwebane was not fit to hold office.
Understandably, neither the ANC nor the EFF want to admit that they made a mistake by endorsing Mkhwebane. However, South Africa doesn’t have to remain saddled with an incompetent, compromised Public Protector just because the Coalition of Corruption wants to save face.