#FireMkhwebane: President must suspend Public Protector as Parliament contemplates her removal
11 October 2017
The DA calls on President Jacob Zuma to suspend Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane from her position as Public Protector pending Parliament’s inquiry into her fitness to hold office.
President Zuma is empowered to suspend Adv. Mkhwebane now that the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services has agreed to our request to initiate proceedings to remove her, as per Section 2(1)(c) of the Public Protector Act (No. 23 of 1994). According to Section 194(3)(a) of the Constitution:
(3) The President—
(a) may suspend a person from office at any time after the start of the proceedings of a committee of the National Assembly for the removal of that person;
Adv. Mkhwebane has demonstrated numerous times that she is not fit to hold the office of the Public Protector and the DA has opposed her appointment from the start. The most glaring examples of her alleged misconduct include:
- A failure to provide sound reasoning for her findings in several matters, most notably the ABSA/CIEX case, where she fails to provide transparency and impartiality;
- Disregard for Constitutional and legal parameters with her apparent willingness to receive submissions from President Zuma and the State Security Agency without offering other affected parties opportunity to comment;
- Troubling actions in the ABSA/Bankorp “life-boat” report, including ignoring requests from the Minister of Finance for documents, using a select few documents’ misrepresenting having considered interviews which she did not conduct and cannot provide the minutes for, and failing to demonstrate why she believes that large sums of money are recoverable;
- Misconduct in several cases, including hiding submissions received from Black First Land First Group and failing to ensure a transparent record of her decision in the matter of the Bapo ba Mogale community’s trust;
- Failing to provide timeous reports on, among others, the Vrede Dairy Farm case, phase 2 of the State Capture inquiry, and the awarding of Presidential Protection Services to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The fractures in the ANC Caucus has once again come to the fore with their Members serving on the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services voting in favour of an inquiry into Adv. Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office only for a subsequent press release to slam it. Once again the work of Parliament is undermined by ANC infighting.
The Office of the Public Protector is a crucial institution in the fight against injustice and the rot of State Capture, and Adv. Mkhwebane is not the person to lead it.
Issued by Glynnis Breytenbach, DA Shadow Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, 11 October 2017