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.”