Chapter 9: new rules
In an apparent move to empower themselves to be able to kick out Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, parliament has adopted new rules on the removal of leaders of Chapter 9 institutions.
The National Assembly has been working on the rules since Mkhwebane dared Speaker Thandi Modise to fire her or face her wrath because parliament did not have the power to dismiss her.
While the constitution dealt with the hiring of the public protector, it was silent on the procedure for removal.
Existing Rules of the National Assembly and section 194 of the constitution only set broad parameters for the removal of office bearers or commissioners in Chapter 9s, also known as institutions supporting constitutional democracy.
Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said in a statement that parliament had to start a process for new rules on what would constitute the grounds for misconduct, incapacity or incompetence.
They defined “misconduct” as the intentional or gross negligent failure to meet the standard of behaviour or conduct expected of a holder of a public office, while “incapacity” included a permanent or temporary condition that impaired a holder’s ability to perform his or her work and any legal impediment to employment; “incompetence” included a demonstrated and sustained lack of knowledge or skill to perform the duties effectively and efficiently.
However, Mothapo said, the rules were not necessarily directed at the public protector but applied to all Chapter 9s.