Parliament is set to elect new Portfolio Committee Chairpersons next week and already a call awaits the Justice Portfolio Committee to resuscitate an inquiry into the fitness of the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane to hold office.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) made a fresh call for a probe into the Public Protector’s suitability to hold office after the North Gauteng High Court set aside her report on the Gupta-linked Estina dairy farm in the Free State. Mkhwebane has insisted she would appeal the judgment at the Constitutional Court.

She also wants the Constitutional Court to reverse an earlier High Court judgment ordering her to personally pay just under a million rands in legal costs.

The order arises from an adverse ruling against her, in the matter with the South African Reserve Bank.

She has told Parliament previously that there was only one adverse finding against her and an Inquiry into her fitness to hold office would be premature.

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) Executive Secretary, Lawson Naidoo, says Mkhwebane’s Constitutional Court appeals cannot hold back a Parliamentary process.

“This is not simply a matter of courts saying; you know they have a different view as to the veracity of the reports, but they actually have to question her modus operandi. They question her competency; they question her understanding of her mandate, which speaks directly to her capacity to hold office. So regardless of the outcome, I think those comments in themselves point to a lack of capacity on the part of the Public Protector to be able to continue to hold office. That will have to be something the committee will have to discuss. They certainly would be under no obligation to wait for all appeals that might be lodged by Advocate Mkhwebane before they start a process to consider her removal.”

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