The MP who nominated Busisiwe Mkhwebane to the ad hoc committee that elected a new public protector has distanced his party from her nomination, saying he did not know her when he nominated her.
This as a subcommittee of the National Assembly’s rules committee met on Friday to discuss the rules for the removal of the head of a Chapter 9 institutions, such as the public protector.
IFP PM Christian Msimang said he felt the need to declare a possible conflict of interest.
He said he had nominated Mkwhebane in 2016.
“I nominated her as a member of the ad hoc committee [that appointed the public protector]. She was not a candidate of the IFP,” Msimang added. “I did not know her. I based my nomination on her CV.”
He said all parties bar one had supported her nomination.
ANC MP Richard Dyantyi said the subcommittee was busy with drafting rules that were not specific to an individual.
The subcommittee also received briefings from the National Assembly’s table staff and DA chief whip John Steenhuisen.
Steenhuisen concurred with the table staff that an advisory panel should determine whether there was a prima facie case for the removal of a Chapter 9 head, and the speaker of the National Assembly should appoint this panel.
He said it would remove the “partisan sting” from the proceedings and stop frivolous cases.
“It should not be an easy process to remove the head of a Chapter 9 institution. Their independence should be jealously protected.”
He said the rules should also leave room for genuine errors, adding as such, it was important to differentiate between mistakes made in good faith and conduct in bad faith.
Steenhuisen and the table staff also agreed the person affected should be allowed to defend him or herself against the removal proceedings.
The head of a Chapter 9 institution will also be allowed legal counsel but must interact with the committee that will investigate his or her removal.
The subcommittee also asked the table staff to draft specific definitions for the grounds of removal.
The table staff will present this to the subcommittee in early October.
Once the subcommittee reaches an agreement on the draft rules, it will be referred to the rules committee, which will submit its recommendations to the National Assembly for approval and adoption.
The matter was referred to the rules committee by the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services after the DA lodged a request to remove Mkhwebane from her post after several adverse court findings against her.
As parliament does not have rules that set out a procedure to remove the head of a Chapter 9 institution, it was decided to ask the rules committee to draft rules before proceeding with the DA’s request, a move the party supported.