Public Protector unfit to hold office and request for her removal most now be expedited
22 July 2019
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has taken note of today’s Constitutional Court judgment upholding a punitive costs order granted against the person of Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane in the North Gauteng High Court last year.
The DA has long held that Advocate Mkhwebane is not a fit and proper person to occupy the office of the Public Protector. In the almost three years that have passed since her appointment - to which we objected - she has done nothing to convince us of her suitability. It is for this reason that we wrote to the Speaker at the start of this parliamentary term to request that Parliament consider whether or not she is a fit and proper Public Protector.
Today’s judgment by the Constitutional Court found that the Public Protector acted in bad faith and was not honest with the High Court regarding her investigation process, putting forward several falsehoods and misrepresentations under oath. The Constitutional Court felt that her actions therefore warranted the personal costs order that the High Court had granted against her.
Today’s court judgment proves that the Public Protector’s failings go much deeper than simple technical errors. Simply put, she is not fit to hold the office she occupies and is in actual fact grossly incompetent.
A distinction must be drawn between the current incumbent of the office of the Public Protector, and the office itself. Nobody can argue that the current incumbent is by any stretch of the imagination a suitable occupant. The DA does however believe that every report produced by the office of the Public Protector should still be judged on its own merits.
The DA will therefore write to the Speaker to request that our complaint regarding the Public Protector’s fitness to hold office be expedited.
The DA will further study the respective judgments and court papers in order to determine whether or not there are grounds for perjury charges to be laid against Mkhwebane.
As a party the DA takes the rule of law seriously. We can not keep quiet when an office that is as important to our democracy as that of the Public Protector is occupied by a person wholly unable to do the job.
Issued by John Steenhuisen, Chief Whip of the Official Opposition, 22 July 2019