Par­lia­ment to dis­cuss Pro­tec­tor’s fit­ness to hold of­fice

CityPress - - News - AN­DISIWE MAK­I­NANA an­disiwe.mak­i­nana@city­

Par­lia­ment will dis­cuss Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane’s fit­ness to hold of­fice, an un­prece­dented move which comes barely a year af­ter she took up the post on Oc­to­ber 15 last year.

Chair­per­son of the Na­tional Assem­bly’s port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on jus­tice Mathole Mot­shekga told City Press that his com­mit­tee would this week deal with the DA’s re­quest to in­sti­tute pro­ceed­ings in­tended to re­move her from of­fice.

The mat­ter was re­ferred to that com­mit­tee by Na­tional Assem­bly Speaker Baleka Mbete and was pub­lished in Par­lia­ment’s of­fi­cial pa­pers on Septem­ber 28.

The DA is not only tak­ing aim at Mkhwe­bane. It wants her deputy Kevin Malunga probed for al­leged mis­con­duct.

City Press un­der­stands that this week’s meet­ing will deal with the mat­ter and also whether there is sub­stance to the DA’s com­plaint.

“The com­mit­tee will look at it next week and see how we ad­dress that in light of the mat­ters that are al­ready be­fore the com­mit­tee,” said Mot­shekga. He said the com­mit­tee’s pro­gramme for the rest of the year was full and in­cluded deal­ing with ur­gent pieces of leg­is­la­tion.

“Mon­day, I will go to Par­lia­ment, Tues­day do all the nec­es­sary con­sul­ta­tion and also put the mat­ter be­fore the com­mit­tee for con­sid­er­a­tion,” he said.

The DA wrote to Mbete last month, ask­ing for the in­sti­tu­tion of a process to re­move Mkhwe­bane. It cited sec­tion 194 of the Con­sti­tu­tion, which makes pro­vi­sion for the re­moval of a Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor from of­fice on the ba­sis of “mis­con­duct, in­ca­pac­ity or in­com­pe­tence”. Such a de­ci­sion would how­ever re­quire the sup­port of two-thirds of the Na­tional Assem­bly.

“It is our sub­mis­sion that the con­duct of the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor over the past 10 months has am­ply demon­strated that she is not fit to hold the of­fice she cur­rently oc­cu­pies,” the DA said.

This in­cluded her “grossly over­reach­ing her pow­ers” when she rec­om­mended that the Con­sti­tu­tion be amended to al­ter the man­date of the SA Re­serve Bank (Sarb), in her re­port on the Absa/Bankorp mat­ter re­leased on June 19.

The party cited Mkhwe­bane’s at­tempt to dic­tate to Par­lia­ment to whom she is ac­count­able and how and when leg­is­la­tion should be amended. In do­ing so she had dis­played poor un­der­stand­ing both of the law and her own pow­ers.

The party claimed Mkhwe­bane sac­ri­ficed her in­de­pen­dence and im­par­tial­ity when she con­sulted with the Pres­i­dency and the State Se­cu­rity Agency on re­me­dial ac­tion to be rec­om­mended in the Absa/Bankorp re­port.

This was re­vealed in a sup­ple­men­tary af­fi­davit which the Sarb filed in the North Gaut­eng High Court in Pre­to­ria.

Mkhwe­bane has de­nied any wrong­do­ing.

The DA wants an in­quiry into al­le­ga­tions that Malunga un­law­fully ter­mi­nated an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into fraud and ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture al­legedly com­mit­ted by Mondli Gun­gubele, the for­mer mayor, and Khaya Ngema, for­mer mu­nic­i­pal man­ager, of the Ekurhu­leni mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

The Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor’s of­fice has pre­vi­ously said an in­ter­nal in­quiry was con­ducted af­ter the com­plaint against Malunga was re­ceived.

“Af­ter con­sid­er­ing all sides and ver­i­fy­ing the ev­i­dence, the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor de­cided not to re­fer the mat­ter to the Na­tional Assem­bly for fur­ther ac­tion,” the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor’s spokesper­son, Cleo Mosana, said in July.

Is the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor fit to hold of­fice? Do you think she is com­pro­mised?

SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word PRO­TEC­TOR and tell us what you think. In­clude your name and prov­ince. SMSes cost R1.50

SCRU­TINY Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane

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