Chairperson Qubudile Dyantyi of the parliamentary inquiry into Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office has undertaken to reply to her application for him to recuse himself in two weeks’ time.
Mkhwebane’s lawyer, Dali Mpofu lodged the application on Wednesday, stating 12 grounds for their application.
During a heated meeting on Friday, most MP’s stated the application should be rejected off-hand as they said it did not have any merit.
However, Dyantyi said it was important that he gives a comprehensive reply.
The committee was originally supposed to complete its work by the end of this month. At the rate things are moving though, it may even go into the new year.
Some members have expressed their frustration at this turn of events, with others putting the blame on Mkhwebane and her legal’s team door. The lodging of the recusal application is therefore viewed by some in this light.
“The programme is far behind schedule, chair, far behind. Several weeks ago, it was already the longest committee hearing in the history of parliament as was said by honourable Mulder. And it is not without cost to the people of SA. Every minute wasted means additional cost, (it) means a house that is not built, and all things that we deal with every day as public reps on the ground where we face service delivery issues because of budget cuts. So one of the major reasons for this delay is the PP legal team’s impression that they are here to cross-examine witnesses in the way they do in the SA court,” says Marie Sukers of the ACDP.
The ANC’s Doris Dlakude agreed with those who say the application should be rejected.
“I want to agree that we reject this application because what is reflected on this application like a statement that was made in another committee some time ago where we were not even there is reflected on this application without even giving us context in which that statement was made, as to why it was made. We cannot allow an application that is based on material that we have no knowledge of,” says Dlakude.
The EFF is one of the parties that have so far made their support for the Public Protector clear.
MP Omphile Maotwe urged the chairperson to step down for the sake of progress.
“The last point made by the PP submission must guide us, chair. The fact that there is reasonable ground, at least by one side, it does not matter whether we like it or not, to say they are not being treated fairly. That’s what they are putting on the table. We can disagree, that is fine. But the fact that such ground exists we must take it and allow this committee to continue with another chair. Chair, you will not lose anything if you recuse yourself. If anything you will prove to this committee that the mandate of the committee is more important regardless of whom the chairperson is,” Maotwe explains.
While a majority of the committee felt that the application should be dismissed, Dyantyi said it was important for him to give a comprehensive response.
“There’s a need to respond to each of the 12 grounds in detail, paragraph by paragraph, in a very thorough way. And if one has to respond to the commas and full stops that are there, that’s exactly what we are going to have to do,” Dyantyi said.