EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi on Tuesday lashed out at Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane after she refused to appear before a parliamentary special committee established to investigate the fitness of the SABC board to hold office.
Following an application to interdict the inquiry by the only remaining board member of the public broadcaster, chairperson Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe, Mkhwebane informed the ad hoc committee she didn’t understand why it was still sitting, given that there was only one board member remaining.
The new public protector enraged MPs, as she was expected to testify as part of about 30 witnesses. She said it was her prerogative to decide if she should come to parliament and wanted three of her staff members to speak on her behalf, provided it was “in camera”.
Ndlozi said the new public protector shouldn’t have a choice on whether she should appear before the special committee, as parliament was her boss, “finish and klaar”.
The EFF supported Mkhwebane’s candidacy.
“We must take exception with how the new public protector is addressing us. A lot of people we hire here in parliament, but they don’t want us to hold them accountable. They think someone else outside of parliament may be the one.
“The new public protector must be told that this is the institution that, constitutionally, she reports to. Her insistence that the committee’s work was irrelevant due to the fact that only one board member remained was worrying,” he said.
Ndlozi also raised doubts about Mkhwebane’s commitment to her office and serving the country’s citizens.
“That’s very disrespectful. I’m worried about a public protector that speaks like that. Which public is she protecting? It’s in the interest of the public that she comes to parliament.”
Committee chairperson Vincent Smith said six witnesses from its list of about 30 had indicated they would not be able to give testimony, among them Mkhwebane’s predecessor, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, who said she would be out of the country during the hearing dates.