The chairperson of parliament’s portfolio committee on justice and correctional services, Mathole Motshekga, has responded to the African National Congress’ (ANC) disapproval of an inquiry into public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.
Motshekga has dismissed the ANC’s assertions that the intended inquiry was merely an “opportunistic witch-hunt” by opposition parties designed to intimidate Mkhwebane and bend her to their “warped views”.
“The committee yesterday [Tuesday] did not deal with the merits or demerits of the referral made to us by the speaker. It dealt with whether or not we should establish an ad-hoc committee or use the committee [portfolio committee on justice] to investigate [the public protector’s fitness to hold office],” Motshekga on Wednesday told SABC News.
He said the oversight committee would not comment on the merits or demerits of the referral by National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete, as it had not dealt with them. The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) wrote to Mbete last month asking parliament to begin a process to remove Mkhwebane.
In a statement earlier on Wednesday, ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the governing party viewed the intended inquiry in a “very dim light”. Ironically, the move to establish the probe was supported by a majority of ANC MPs in the justice committee.
“Disagreement or discomfort with the investigations and outcomes of investigations of the Public Protector does not render the incumbent unfit for office, it simply means the aggrieved party does not agree and should therefore seek other remedies, including judicial review of the Public Protector’s rulings, as provided for in our legislation,” said Kodwa.
He said Mkhwebane was appointed to her current position in October last year after an exhaustive and thoroughgoing process by parliament, which declared her a “fit and proper person to hold such office”.
The public protector has been under fire from opposition parties following the release of her Absa report in which she recommended that parliament change the constitution to amend the powers of the South African Reserve Bank.
This recommendation received negative responses from parliament, Absa, Sarb and political parties.
Watch the video below:
— Bulelani Phillip (@BulelaniPhillip) October 11, 2017