Political parties move on ad hoc committee to look into Mkhwebane removal saga

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Political parties have submitted the names of members who will serve on the ad hoc committee that will look into whether there are grounds for the removal from office of Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane 

The committee will be made up of 26 members, with at least one from each party.   

Last month, a panel of experts headed by retired Justice Bess Nkabinde found there was prima facie evidence of incompetence or misconduct against Mkhwebane 

The largest parties in parliament, the ANC, the DA and the EFF are sending senior members to the committee. 

The ANC delegation includes Deputy Chief Whip, Doris Dlakude who is likely to lead both the delegation and the committee.  

The DA’s representatives include Parliamentary Caucus leader Annelie Lotriet. This is the party that tabled the motion, through its Chief Whip Natasha Mazzone, for Mkhwebane to be removed.  

The EFF, which is opposed to Mkhwebane’s removal, is sending its President Julius Malema.  

The IFP will be represented by Zandile Majozi and the Freedom Front Plus by Corne Mulder.  

These five parties are the only ones that will constitute 11 voting members while the rest will each have one non-voting member.  

The ANC will have the final say in all decisions as it has six voting members and the other four together have five.   

Last month, the ANC Chief Whip in Parliament, Pemmy Majodina, said she was satisfied with the reasons provided by ANC MPs who had not participated in the vote on a motion that could see the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, removed from office. 

The ANC had 230 MPs, but only about 170 voted. 

In the run-up to the vote, several ANC members had publicly stated that they would not vote in favour of a DA-led motion. 

According to reports, some of those like Mervyn Dirks and Supra Mahumapelo were not present at the sitting. 

More than 60 ANC MPs didn’t cast their votes in favour of the inquiry. 

Political analyst, Ralph Mathekga, said that had immediately sparked comments of dissent within the parliamentary caucus. 

“The public divisions regarding this within the ANC, it has actually brought the party under the spotlight where people will maybe begin to ask the question as to whether is this party well aligned? Is the ANC positioned to heed the public mood, to listen to the public mood, and prioritize those issues such as fighting corruption, that South Africans are most concerned about?”  

Mathekga said this could have an impact on the general confidence in the ANC.   

“If the party comes out of this thing with the sharp divisions, in the end, it will be clear that the factional divisions within the party are now beginning to impact the functions of the state institutions. I think we have seen that in the past. It’s just that this is another escalation of that.” 

But the acting spokesperson of the ANC Caucus, Nomfanelo Kota, said the reasons, which ranged from poor internet connectivity to the virtual sitting to bereavements, had been accepted. 

ANC’s stance in the video below:

Mkhwebane confident she will be cleared of any wrongdoing:

Earlier today, Mkhwebane’s application for leave to appeal a High Court ruling about the pension package of former South African Revenue Service (SARS) Deputy Commissioner, Ivan Pillay was dismissed.

At the end of 2020, a full bench of judges in the High Court in Pretoria overturned Mkhwebane’s report that found Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan had irregularly approved the early retirement of Pillay with benefits in 2010.

The judges found Mkhwebane’s findings that Gordhan acted unlawfully, was irrational as were her recommendations.

The Public Protector had asked for leave to appeal the judgement but today heard her application for appeal was unsuccessful, with the judges saying there is no prospect that another court will come to a different conclusion.