Parliament must act after court ruling on Mkhwebane – DA

Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane can be seen during the release of her reports at the Public Protector's offices in Pretoria, 28 January 2020. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Mazzone said Mkhwebane’s interdict was an attempt by her to, ‘delay and frustrate’, the inquiry and invalidate a legitimate parliamentary process to have her removed.

The DA says that now that the Western Cape High Court has dismissed Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s application to halt Parliament’s removal proceedings against her, speaker Thandi Modise should not delay in appointing an independent panel for the process.

Mkhwebane’s bid to to halt parliamentary removal proceedings was dismissed with costs on Friday, News24 reported.

In a statement, DA Chief Whip Natasha Mazzone said Modise should appoint an independent panel to determine whether there was a prima facie case for Parliament to proceed with the removal proceedings.

“The Democratic Alliance welcomes the decision by the Western Cape Division of the High Court dismissing the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s frivolous application to interdict Parliament’s inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

“Mkhwebane’s tenure as Public Protector dirties the once proud reputation of this vital Chapter 9 institution of holding the Executive to account without fear or favour. Under her guidance, the institution has suffered blow after blow in South African courts and leaves a clear impression of toothlessness and ineptitude,” Mazzone said.

Mkhwebane’s court battle began in February after she filed an urgent application for an interdict to halt her removal process, which was initially set in motion by Modise’s approval of the DA’s motion, News24 reported.

Public interest

Judge Vincent Saldanha ruled, among other things, that there would be, “serious prejudice to the public interest, coupled with separation of powers harm to the National Assembly if the process does not ensue”.

Saldanha said the relief Mkhwebane sought would not only impact her position, but prevent the National Assembly from holding other Chapter 9 institution heads accountable.

On Thursday, the National Assembly Programming Committee heard that it could proceed with the removal process, pending the ruling, unless the court ordered it not to.Modise is in the process of appointing an independent three-person panel to determine whether there is a prima facie case for Mkhwebane’s removal.

Mazzone said Mkhwebane’s interdict was an attempt by her to, “delay and frustrate”, the inquiry and invalidate a legitimate parliamentary process to have her removed.

“She’s done immeasurable damage to the Office of the Public Protector. South Africa needs someone who is independent and above reproach to head up this institution. South Africans need to know that the Public Protector is above reproach and is fully vested in their interests above those of the rich and powerful who seek to capture the country for their own nefarious purposes.”

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