MPs say DA ‘pre­ma­ture’ on PP

The Witness - - NEWS -

PUB­LIC Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane yes­ter­day sur­vived a DA pro­posal that Par­lia­ment start pro­ce­dures for her re­moval.

Af­ter con­sid­er­ing a feisty 25-page de­fence submitted by Mkhwe­bane, who was not present, the jus­tice port­fo­lio com­mit­tee voted that it was pre­ma­ture to be­gin pro­ceed­ings.

ANC MPs on the com­mit­tee said there was an ap­pli­ca­tion along sim­i­lar lines still pend­ing in the North Gaut­eng High Court.

“I sec­ond the pro­posal made by hon­ourable [Stan] Maila that it is too pre­ma­ture to en­ter­tain the mat­ter now,” said Maila’s col­league, ANC MP Sello Tleane.

EFF MP Thilivhali Mu­laudzi ab­stained on the grounds that he needed more time to con­sult the party, and DA MP James Selfe ob­jected to the ANC’s counter-pro­posal.

Ear­lier this year, DA MP John Steen­huisen pro­posed that pro­ce­dures be ex­pe­dited to re­move Mkhwe­bane from of­fice. The DA wanted to probe Mkhwe­bane’s de­ci­sions in of­fice since be­ing ap­pointed in 2016, which it says have been “in­com­pe­tent” — one of the three cri­te­ria in which the fit­ness of the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor can be tested by law. This in­cluded a high-pro­file court re­view that crit­i­cised her Absa-CIEX re­port in Fe­bru­ary.

In her de­fence, Mkhwe­bane said she was se­lected out of 78 nom­i­na­tions and submitted that fit­ness to hold of­fice is not grounds for re­moval of the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor as al­leged by Steen­huisen, and that there was no charge of se­ri­ous mis­con­duct against her to jus­tify start­ing the re­moval process.

She said her per­for­mance “speaks for it­self”, with her of­fice fi­nal­is­ing 21 176 out of 25 288 complaints in the year 2016/17 and 2017/18. Sta­tis­tics for 2017/18 are still be­ing au­dited and may change slightly.

Hav­ing re­ports taken on re­view is also not grounds for her re­moval. In her 20 months in of­fice she has pub­lished 50 in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­ports and of those, 12 were taken on ju­di­cial re­view. She claimed that only the Absa re­port had parts of it set aside.

She said Steen­huisen was be­hav­ing in an un­con­sti­tu­tional man­ner and his pro­posed course of ac­tion threat­ens the con­sti­tu­tion­ally guar­an­teed in­de­pen­dence of her of­fice and po­si­tion. — News24.

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