The Democratic Alliance (DA) has condemned the African National Congress (ANC) in parliament after its MPs on Wednesday used their majority in the portfolio committee on justice to vote against the DA’s motion to hold an inquiry into public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.
DA’s shadow minister of justice, Glynnis Breytenbach, says the party will consider all avenues possible to ensure a full review of Mkhwebane’s fitness for office as the head of the Chapter 9 institution.
The public protector 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. Mkhwebane 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 has once again chosen to use their numbers to protect the compromised Public Protector, Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane, at the expense of fulfilling their mandate and ultimately at the expense of all South Africans who deserve an effective and uncompromised person in the role,” Breytenbach said in a statement on Wednesday.
On Wednesday morning, ANC MPs said they had only agreed that the portfolio committee on justice was the correct platform to look into the complaint referred to it by National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete, but not to hold an inquiry.
Breytenbach said the DA had long maintained that Mkhwebane was “unsuitable for the role and with each passing day, it becomes more and more obvious that this is true”.
“Parliament has failed before to properly exercise its oversight role, in the Nkandla matter. This failure was confirmed by the Constitutional Court judgement, which stated that the National Assembly in that matter ‘flouted its obligations’, and acted in a manner that was ‘inconsistent with the Constitution and unlawful’.
“We should learn from these mistakes, but the ANC seems doomed to do the same again, in a true illustration of their inability to self-correct,” she said.