Con­fu­sion reigns over Parly in­quiry sta­tus

The New Age (Free State) - - NEWS -

Tues­day Oc­to­ber 10

“Par­lia­ment’s port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on Jus­tice and Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices to­day re­solved to agree to a re­quest to hold an in­quiry into pub­lic pro­tec­tor ad­vo­cate Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane’s fit­ness to hold of­fice.

The mat­ter was put to a vote af­ter the chair­per­son of the com­mit­tee, Dr Mathole Mot­shekga, in his in­tro­duc­tion of the mat­ter rec­om­mended that the com­mit­tee con­sider re­fer­ring the mat­ter back to the Speaker. The re­quest was ini­tially made by the DA to the Speaker and then re­ferred to the com­mit­tee for it to deal with the mat­ter. Mot­shekga high­lighted the huge work­load of the com­mit­tee, in­clud­ing out­stand­ing leg­is­la­tion that needs to be fi­nalised. Thus, he was un­sure whether this com­mit­tee will have the nec­es­sary time to deal with the mat­ter and also whether the com­mit­tee was the right fo­rum or com­pe­tent author­ity to deal with such a mat­ter.

He pro­posed that the com­mit­tee re­fer the mat­ter back to the Speaker and an ad hoc com­mit­tee be ap­pointed to deal with it. He said the ap­point­ment of the pub­lic pro­tec­tor was done by an ad hoc com­mit­tee and, there­fore, an in­quiry into the re­moval should be done by an ad hoc com­mit­tee. He said prece­dence and law ex­isted in this re­gard.

Mot­shekga said that should the com­mit­tee be in favour of con­duct­ing the in­quiry, he would likely have to re­cuse him­self as the re­me­dial ac­tion by the pub­lic pro­tec­tor stated that Par­lia­ment and the chair­per­son of the Jus­tice and Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices Com­mit­tee should change the Con­sti­tu­tion to amend the pow­ers and man­date of the South African Re­serve Bank.

This view was sup­ported by some mem­bers of the com­mit­tee. How­ever, af­ter a short cau­cus, the ma­jor­ity felt that the com­mit­tee is the cor­rect fo­rum/ mech­a­nism to deal with such an in­quiry as it per­formed over­sight over the work of the of­fice of the pub­lic pro­tec­tor. The com­mit­tee fur­ther re­solved to hold th­ese meet­ings out­side of nor­mal par­lia­men­tary hours, af­ter hours or over week­ends, should there be a need for it.

The re­quest re­ferred by the speaker is two-fold. Firstly, to re­quest Par­lia­ment to pro­ceed to re­move the pub­lic pro­tec­tor, as she has over­reached her pow­ers in the SARB and the Absa/Bankorp mat­ter. The sec­ond re­quest re­lates to the deputy pub­lic pro­tec­tor, ad­vo­cate Kevin Malunga, for al­legedly un­law­fully ter­mi­nat­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions into a for­mer mayor and mu­nic­i­pal man­ager.”

Wed­nes­day Oc­to­ber 11

PAR­LIA­MENT’S port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on jus­tice and cor­rec­tional Ser­vices would like to set the record straight re­gard­ing in­cor­rect me­dia re­ports. The chair­per­son of the com­mit­tee at no stage sided with cer­tain mem­bers dur­ing a meet­ing to de­cide on the re­fer­ral by the speaker.

Com­mit­tee chair­per­son Dr Mathole Mot­shekga said that at the start of yes­ter­day’s meet­ing he made a pro­posal to the com­mit­tee as to how the mat­ter could be dealt with.

He said due to the work­load of the com­mit­tee and it pos­si­bly be­ing con­flicted as the pub­lic pro­tec­tor re­port rec­om­mended in its re­me­dial ac­tion that the com­mit­tee chair­per­son should amend the Con­sti­tu­tion to limit the pow­ers of the South African Re­serve Bank, he pro­posed the mat­ter be re­ferred to the speaker for an ad hoc com­mit­tee to at­tend to the mat­ter.

Mot­shekga said an ad hoc com­mit­tee rec­om­mends the ap­point­ment of the pub­lic pro­tec­tor and the ad hoc com­mit­tee con­sid­ers the re­moval of the pub­lic pro­tec­tor. The mat­ter was put to a vote. “At no stage did I, as the com­mit­tee chair­per­son, par­tic­i­pate in the vote or side with any par­ties. I merely high­lighted the com­mit­tee’s work­load and the pos­si­ble fo­rum to deal with the mat­ter when I made the pro­posal to the meet­ing. Me­dia re­ports stat­ing oth­er­wise are thus in­cor­rect. I never sided with any par­ties and acted im­par­tial as a chair­per­son.”

Mathole Mot­shekga

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