Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she is not running away from the parliamentary process to determine her fitness to hold office. However, the embattled incumbent says she intends to appeal a Western Cape High Court decision that paved the way for the Parliamentary process.
The Constitutional Court this week found that she had lied under oath about meetings with former President Jacob Zuma. She had wanted to access his personal tax records.
Mkhwebane says she only hopes the parliamentary process will be fair.
“It relates to the work which was done by the office and all the evidence is there and that is a matter for us to show evidence before the courts and it’s for them to decide. I’m ready for it though we still have a pending matter I’m waiting for the validity of the rules. I’m not running away from being subjected to the process, I’m willing to be subjected to the process but it’s still a matter of courts and we will appeal it.
National Assembly Speaker to access Mkhwebane’s fitness for office
National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise has appointed retired Constitutional Court Justice Bess Nkabinde, Advocate Dumisa Ntsebenza and Advocate Johann de Waal to determine whether there is prima facie evidence that Mkhwebane is not fit to hold office.
This, after the National Assembly adopted a motion by DA Chief Whip Natasha Mazzone calling on the House to institute proceedings to remove Mkhwebane claiming she was not fit to hold office.
Mkhwebane’s court application
Mkhwebane approached the Western Cape High Court to stop Modise from going ahead but, her application was dismissed by the full bench of the court in early October.
Judge Vincent Saldanha ruled that Mkhwebane had not made a clear and strong case for the Parliamentary processes to be suspended. In his ruling, Judge Saldanha said he was satisfied with the arguments by Parliament that the Public Protector has several remedies available to her.
Even if she is dismissed but later wins her case against the constitutionality of the process to remove her, she could seek an order for reinstatement on the basis that she was removed through an unlawful process among others.
Mkhwebane wanted the High Court to halt the process pending a determination on the constitutionality of the National Assembly rules for removing the head of a Chapter 9 institution from office.
In terms of the National Assembly rules, an independent panel – possibly headed by a judge – must be appointed after a substantive motion has been received.
Mkhwebane’s tenure as Public Protector has not been an easy one
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