Mkhwebane says parliamentary process to remove her is 'unlawful and unconstitutional'

PP further says those deciding her fate were individuals who had publicly deemed her "incompetent"

Mkhwebane says parliamentary process to remove her is 'unlawful and unconstitutional'

28 January 2020

Public Protector BusisiweMkhwebane has broken her silence on the parliamentary process which seeks to remove her from office, calling it "unconstitutional" and "unlawful".

"I am advised that the rules are unconstitutional and unlawful, in that they amount to a violation of the constitutionally prescribed duty imposed on organs of state to protect the independence of Chapter 9 institutions," she said at a briefing on Tuesday in Pretoria.

Mkhwebane was delivering 12 investigative reports, and took the opportunity to address the motion to initiate proceedings for her removal from office as approved by National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise.

News24 previously reported that DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone had put in a request to Modise, three days after Parliament adopted formal rules for the removal of a head of a Chapter 9 institution in December last year.

In a statement on Friday, parliamentary spokesperson MolotoMothapo said the new rules expanded on the broad parameters in Section 194 of the Constitution - which provide for the removal of heads of Chapter 9 institutions -  and previous National Assembly rules, News24 reported.

Arguing that the rules were unconstitutional and unlawful, Mkhwebane stated that it did not accommodate the right to hear the other side of the story.

She added that, in addition, "they breach the rights of the Head of Chapter 9 institutions as provided for in the Section 34 of the Constitution, inter alia , in that they do not make provision for the requisite non-participation or recusal of a number of seriously conflicted parties in any of the envisaged processes, including the making of crucial decisions."

Mkhwebane further highlighted that the individuals who deciding of her fate were individuals who had publicly deemed her "incompetent" and "unfit to hold office".

"I liken this to a situation where a judge, magistrate or arbitrator condemns someone and is later expected to conduct a fair trial of the very person.

"The DA, is itself involved in litigation against me. I took the party to court to substantiate it allegations that I am a spy. This was a false claim and an insult aimed at undermining my office in violation Section 181 of the Constitution," she said.

The Public Protector further called out the conduct of Modise in making a public announcement about the process without informing her.

"To date, I have not heard from the Speaker. This is a violation of my rights to dignity, privacy and confidentiality and has the effect of undermining the effectiveness of this very important constitutional institution," she said.

As a result, Mkwebane wrote to the speaker on Tuesday morning, requesting an undertaking that "this grossly unfair" process be temporarily suspended until all her issues raised had been addressed adequately and amicably.