Pro­tec­tor responds to claims

Jus­tice com­mit­tee wants Mkhwe­bane to an­swer ques­tions

Daily News - - NEWS - JA­SON FELIX

PUBLIC Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane says she has been the vic­tim of re­lent­less at­tacks on her since her con­tro­ver­sial re­port on Absa, while the DA’s move to axe her hit a snag.

The Na­tional As­sem­bly com­mit­tee on jus­tice, yes­ter­day de­cided she must be given an op­por­tu­nity to re­spond to the DA’s sub­mis­sion, be­fore a de­ci­sion on whether to hold an in­quiry into her fitness to hold of­fice or not.

“I am ap­ply­ing the con­sti­tu­tion as it is,” Mkhwe­bane said. “I think that I am also show­ing that as an in­de­pen­dent Chap­ter 9 in­sti­tu­tion and do­ing my work with­out fear or favour no mat­ter who is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated. So I think that per­cep­tion that you can­not find against a cer­tain per­son… I don’t think we should en­cour­age that sort of be­hav­iour as a coun­try. I think we need to make sure that we re­spect the law if there is a com­plaint against them.”

“I was very shocked to hear the com­ments from some peo­ple. The public pro­tec­tor can in­ves­ti­gate cases that fall un­der the ex­ec­u­tive ethics code.

“I am obliged to in­ves­ti­gate this.

“There was a case where the pre­mier of Lim­popo said it was okay for politi­cians to lie. He was then dis­missed. So it’s in­ter­est­ing now to see these is­sues be­ing de­lib­er­ated on. I am fol­low­ing the con­sti­tu­tion.”

Mean­while, DA chief whip John Steen­huisen made a pre­sen­ta­tion to the com­mit­tee where he listed rea­sons that war­ranted the re­moval of Mkhwe­bane. One of the rea­sons is the scathing judg­ments against Mkhwe­bane in re­cent times.

In a state­ment ear­lier this week, Steen­huisen said her find­ings against Pre­mier He­len Zille were now part of this grow­ing list of ab­ject find­ings.

He also cited the Absa mat­ter and the Vrede Dairy Project mat­ter in which she com­pletely ig­nored per­ti­nent ques­tions, Steen­huisen said.

MPs said they needed to dis­cuss the mat­ter.

Steen­huisen said the ev­i­dence was out in the public that Mkhwe­bane failed to do some of her work.

How­ever, com­mit­tee chair­man Mathole Mot­shekga, said he agreed with other MPs, who said the rules of nat­u­ral jus­tice must be fol­lowed in the mat­ter.

“There is a rule of nat­u­ral jus­tice that we must hear the other side, and that other side is the public pro­tec­tor,” said Mot­shekga. He said they would give Steen­huisen’s pre­sen­ta­tion to Mkhwe­bane to re­spond.

But there was no dead­line put for her to re­spond.

Be­fore the meet­ing started though, Mot­shekga said it was un­fair that Steen­huisen be given a chance to make rep­re­sen­ta­tions while mem­bers of the public could not find time to make pre­sen­ta­tions to Par­lia­ment.

“We re­ally need to con­sider what we are do­ing here to­day.

“To­day it is the DA’s chief whip; to­mor­row the ANC’s chief whip wants to come here, then the EFF, then the ACDP. We don’t even give mem­bers of the public a chance to speak at our meet­ings,” he said.

ACDP MP Steve Swart said: “with re­spect, I dis­agree with you”.

“The Speaker re­ferred this mat­ter to our com­mit­tee and we have to dis­cuss this.

“It is not the first time this is­sue comes up. It’s a mat­ter of na­tional im­por­tance.”

PIC­TURE: CINDY WAXA/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY(ANA)

Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane in Par­lia­ment, where a re­quest was made that the Jus­tice Com­mit­tee set up a for­mal in­quiry to as­sess her fitness to hold of­fice.

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