African National Congress (ANC) veteran Mathole Motshekga has been removed both as a member and the chairman of Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice.
The step was announced in parliamentary papers on Wednesday morning, along with fellow ANC MP Vincent Smith’s appointment as a member of the committee to fill the newly vacated position.
The justice committee was due to discuss Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s submission as to why it should not initiate a process of removing her from her post.
The business of the day was postponed while MPs deliberated on the process they need to follow to appoint a new chairperson or acting chairperson to preside over the meeting.
Motshekga was considered a highly partisan chairman and frequently clashed with opposition MPs.
He also chaired the ad hoc committee that cleared former president Jacob Zuma on any wrongdoing in the Nkandla scandal.
Motshekga was replaced by senior ANC legislator Vincent Smith.
The opposition welcomed Motshekga’s removal from the post.
Democratic Alliance MP Glynnis Breytenbach said: “The DA is elated that Dr Motshekga has been removed from the justice portfolio committee. Provided a competent chairperson is elected to replace him, it could improve the efficacy, objectivity and output of the committee considerably.”
Steve Swart from the African Christian Democratic Party said the committee had been “struggling”.