Jan Gerber/News24 Wire 
2 minute read
2 Mar 2021
8:16 pm

Besieged Mkhwebane ‘confident’ she will be cleared of wrongdoing

Jan Gerber/News24 Wire 

An independent panel, which was set up to determine whether there was a prima facie case for public protector’s removal, has recommended that Parliament move with proceedings.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: EPA-EFE

In November, National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise appointed Justice Bess Nkabinde as well as advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC and advocate Johan de Waal SC to the panel.

Their report was released on Monday.

Much of the 10 396 pages worth of documents consisted of court rulings and other court papers as well as representations by Mkhwebane.

The panel found “substantial information that constitutes prima facie evidence of incompetence” and “repeated errors” and “sufficient information” that constituted prima facie evidence of misconduct.

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In a statement released on Tuesday, the spokesperson for the Office of the Public Protector, Oupa Segalwe, said it noted the report which it received on Monday.

“The report is a pronouncement on the alleged existence of prima facie evidence against the Public Protector and not findings of wrongdoing,” added Segalwe.

“It should be noted that there are still court processes in relation to this matter. The Public Protector is confident that both the parliamentary process and the judicial proceedings, which are before the High Court and the Constitutional Court, will ultimately result in her being cleared of any alleged wrongdoing.”

After the parliamentary removal proceedings got underway early last year, Mkhwebane unsuccessfully asked the Western Cape High Court to halt the proceedings until after her legal challenge to the National Assembly’s rules for the removal of Chapter 9 head.She is currently awaiting a ruling on whether she can appeal the High Court’s ruling in the Constitutional Court.

Parliament has a legal opinion that it can continue with its process.

Segalwe said they wanted to assure the public the Office of the Public Protector was fully operational and the ongoing parliamentary process had no direct bearing on its functioning.

“Staff across the office’s 18 service centres around the country remain hard at work, processing all incoming complaints of maladministration and improper conduct in line with the office’s constitutional mandate.”

The next step in the parliamentary process is for the National Assembly to consider the panel’s recommendation that it has an inquiry into Mkhwebane’s fitness for office.

If it adopts such a motion – for which a simple majority is required – the case will be referred to a committee that will conduct the inquiry, which will allow Mkhwebane to address it.

If this committee recommends she be removed, a motion to that effect will be put to the National Assembly, which requires a two-thirds majority to pass.

News24 Wire 

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