Advocate Dali Mpofu is delivering his closing remarks at the High Court in Cape Town in the case brought by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to challenge Parliament’s impeachment rules. Mpofu says the new rules are unconstitutional.
He also says the National Assembly Speaker, Thandi Modise, acted unfairly against Mkhwebane and that she was biased.
Earlier, legal representatives of two organisations that have been admitted as friends of the court, Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) and Corruption Watch, said the rules were in line with what happened in other jurisdictions around the world.
Advocate Michelle Le Roux argued that the process was important to ensure that there was public trust in the work of the office of the Public Protector.
“If there’s any cloud over that individual that occupies the office of Public Protector not only will it undermine public trust and confidence in the office but it may lead to the public officials that she is required to hold accountable disregarding the office or dismissing her attempts to hold them accountable when exercising the public protector’s important functions.”
Mkhwebane is challenging the rules of Parliament which provide a mechanism for incumbents of Chapter Nine institutions to be removed from office. The Public Protector has questioned the constitutionality of the rules.
Among the grounds for this is that the rules seek to amend the Constitution via the back door by adding gross misconduct as one of the grounds for her removal.
She has also said the rules cannot be applied retrospectively because they had not been adopted at the time of her alleged misconduct. The Public Protector has also questioned why the rules do not allow her to be represented by her lawyer in the proceeding of the ad-hoc committee that will investigate her suitability to hold office.
Below are some of the arguments that have been presented in court: