Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice and correctional services has voted against the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) proposal to hold an inquiry into public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.
On Wednesday morning, African National Congress (ANC) MPs said they had only agreed that the oversight committee was the correct platform to look into the complaint referred to it by National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete, but not to hold an inquiry.
Earlier this month, the committee said in a statement the DA’s proposal was put to a vote after its chairperson, Mathole Motshekga, recommended that the committee should consider establishing an ad-hoc committee to probe the public protector’s fitness to hold office, but this was rejected by ANC MPs.
Mkhwebane has received widespread criticisms over her controversial Absa/Bankorp report, in which she had ordered parliament to change the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank. The public protector also faces allegations that she met with the Presidency and the State Security Agency to attack and undermine the authority of the central bank.
The ANC had come to Mkhwebane’s defence after the portfolio committee announced it would hold an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.
Party spokesperson Zizi Kodwa described the intended inquiry as an “opportunist exercise requested by the opposition for political expediency”. He said Mkhwebane had not been found guilty of misconduct, incapacity or incompetence.