Public Protector expresses her disappointment at Committee’s decision to continue its investigation

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The Public Protector says it’s disappointing that Parliament’s Section 194 Committee has decided to continue with the inquiry into her fitness to hold office. This is despite her letter to Parliament.

She is contesting the Constitutional Court’s decision on her rescission application, which was dismissed on Friday last week.

Mkhwebane says a decision on her rescission application should not have been taken pending the outcome of the investigation by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo into a controversial SMS saga by Ismail Abramjee.

The provisional date set to start the inquiry is July.

Public Protector’s Spokesperson Oupa Segalwe says, “The Public Protector is on record that any lawful inquiry should proceed as soon as possible. She is confident that no legitimate inquiry will find her guilty of the charges brought by the Democratic Alliance. However, the decision to start an inquiry in the present atmosphere which is littered with allegations of conflict of interest, illegality, and even alleged corruption and other criminal conduct is totally unacceptable. The allegations of Chief Justice Raymond Zondo implicating Mr Ismail Abramjee and one or more persons within the constitutional court which will have a huge bearing on all the related processes should be awaited by all reasonable persons or institutions.”

Impeachment proceedings

The Section 194 Committee says Mkhwebane’s application to the Constitutional Court for rescission, as well as the investigation by the Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo of a controversial SMS has no bearing on its work.

Public hearings on her impeachment process are set to begin in July. The committee will kick start the process of removing Mkhwebane from office on the 3rd of next month. The majority of committee members agreed that the impeachment process must start.

“There is nothing that is stopping us from continuing I didn’t hear him saying that there is an interdict on the committee from proceeding with its work,”  says ANC Deputy Chief Whip Doris Dlakude.

“People have the right to take all applications that they want but certainly this committee should not be paralysed by stalling tactics from outside the committee. We have a clear mandate and until such time we hear that mandate is not valid, we have a duty to proceed,” says DA MP Leon Schreiber.

There were, however, those who had a different view.

“The investigation that the Chief Justice has committed to do, we don’t know what those investigations could unearth. They could unearth a lot of things we can’t just sweep under the carpet or just relegate it to something that might not influence ConCourt judges,” says ATM leader Vuyolwethu Zungula.

“Whether the Chief Justice’s office has responded to the so-called investigations and what have been the findings as we may have to go slowly and get clarity from his office,” says UDM leader Bantu Holomisa.

The public will also be given an opportunity to give evidence in support of or against Mkhwebane’s impeachment during the hearings. The committee also wants to be furnished with all the cases that Mkhwebane has presided over during her term of office and those she was challenged on and lost or won.

VIDEO: Parliament’s meeting over Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office: Lulama Matya