Removal of evidence leaders in Section 194 to have serious ramifications, Parliament warns

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Parliament’s legal services have warned that should the Evidence leaders serving in the Section 194 inquiry be removed, it will have serious ramifications for the process.

The Parliamentary inquiry probing suspended Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office, has dismissed her application to remove and replace the evidence leaders.

Mkhwebane’s legal team brought the application for the removal of evidence leaders Nazreen Bawa and Ncumisa Mayosi, on Monday.

Members of Parliament serving on the Section 194 Committee are considering the application.

Senior legal advisor in Parliament Fatima Ebrahim says the removal of Bawa and Mayosi would mean the process will have to start again and this would impact negatively the budget for the hearings.

“If the committee decides to remove the evidence leaders, as I have stated is their right, the hearing will most likely have to start over unless the PPC and the committee can reach an agreement on the admissibility of the evidence that has been submitted thus far.

“This is because chair every stitch of work done by the evidence leader may become tainted in some way or the other because of the allegations notwithstanding there were specific scenarios in these applications,” Ebrahim explains.

VIDEO | Suspended PP Mkhwebane applies for removal of evidence leaders in impeachment inquiry:

Mkhwebane has been dealt another blow in her attempts to halt the inquiry’s process probing allegations of incompetence and misconduct.

The evidence leaders were labelled as malicious and unfair. But they rebutted saying the removal application is nothing short of delaying tactics.

They say this is the sixth time the inquiry is being stalled through postponement applications or interdicts.

The ANC, DA, ACDP and GOOD Party objected to the latest removal application. However, the EFF and UDM supported the removal application, with the UDM urging Mkhwebane to go to the courts.

Parliament’s legal office has warned that any further delay in the process would affect timelines and waste resources as the process would need to start from scratch.

Mkhwebane’s term of office ends in October next year.  The inquiry envisages finalising the investigation by March.

Mkhwebane’s legal team

Mkhwebane’s legal team has not been pleased with MPs’ responses to their application for the removal of evidence leaders Nazreen Bawa and Ncumisa Mayosi.

The legal representative Dali Mpofu told the Section 194 Inquiry into the fitness of Mkhwebane to hold an office that they would go to court if they have to, to ensure the Public Protector’s rights are observed.

“If we were to go court-we will go to court make no mistake from that. We will not shake from those responsibilities. So nobody must think that we can be easily intimidated by these repetitive statements that this is the fourth or fifth, or the sixth or hundred application.”