The ANC caucus in Parliament says it supports the process to set up an inquiry to look into whether Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is fit to hold office.
In a statement on Saturday, the ANC’s chief whip, Pemmy Majodina, said the caucus decided to support the setting up of the inquiry.
However, Majodina, added that it was too early for the party to decide whether to vote for or against her removal.
“Caucus held an extensive discussion on the matter and resolved to support the process. It acknowledged that we are in a process and are not, at this point, dealing with the merits or demerits of the case. Therefore, questions of voting cannot arise at this stage.”
She said, from their internal agreements, individual party members are not allowed to make public statements regarding the motion against Mkhwebane.
Only Majodina can make public statements on behalf of the party.
ANC members, like Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, have made public statements against Mkhwebane – and, in a tweet, he also referred to her as a “hired gun”.
Earlier this week, Mbalula apologised to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma after referring to her as “Zuma’s wife” during a Twitter meltdown.
Mkhwebane has opened a crimen injuria case against Mbalula.
The inquiry into Mkhwebane comes after a panel of experts, led by retired Constitutional Court Justice Bess Nkabinde, ruled that Parliament should institute an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.
Nkabinde and advocates Dumisa Ntsebeza and Johan de Waal found there was prima facie evidence of incompetence and misconduct on Mkhwebane’s part.
The rules on the removal of heads of Chapter 9 institutions state that, after receiving a report from an independent panel, Parliament has to decide whether to hold an inquiry or not.
Voting on whether to hold an inquiry will take place on Tuesday, 16 March.
Majodina said the inquiry will be conducted fairly – and it will allow Mkhwebane “an opportunity to clear her name and respond to the wide allegations attributed by the DA motion”.
“At this stage, the ANC caucus is very clear… it will be premature to conclude whether there will be voting for retention or against the removal of the Public Protector.”