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Review panel finds prima facie evidence exists for Mkhwebane’s removal

1 March 2021, 7:00 PM  |  Zalene Merrington  | 

The National Assembly must decide on the way forward after a report by the independent review panel recommended that prima facie evidence exists for the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to be removed from office.

The National Assembly rules stipulate that Speaker Thandi Modise must table the report and after consideration, the House must decide whether further investigation is needed.

The Democratic Alliance  (DA) brought a motion to Parliament for Mkhwebane’s fitness to be tested, following several damning court findings against her.

Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo says the panel has handed over the report to the Speaker.

The chief whip of the DA Natasha Mazzone says they want removal proceedings against Mkhwebane to be instituted without delay.

The panel, chaired by Justice Bess Nkabinde, was constituted by Speaker Thandi Modise to investigate whether evidence for possible removal exists.

Judge Johann Kriegler, Chairperson of Freedom Under Law comments on the issue:

Public Protector spokesperson Oupa Segalwe says they are unable to comment as Mkhwebane is on sabbatical leave until next month.

Mkhwebane challenges Parliament rule on removing heads of Chapter 9 institutions

In August last year,  the Public Protector went to court to challenge Parliament’s rules on how to remove the head of a Chapter Nine institution in the Cape Town High Court.

The court battle began in February 20202 after Mkhwebane filed an urgent court bid, seeking an interdict to halt the Parliamentary process to remove her from office.

Parliament adopted new rules, following a request by the DA for Mkhwebane to be removed from office.

The new rules are applicable to all heads of Chapter Nine Institutions.

In terms of the new rules, an independent panel of experts must be appointed, in consultation with MPs, to determine whether grounds exist for removal.

The panel has 30 days to conclude its work. Following the findings of the panel, an ad-hoc committee will be set up, if necessary.

Mkhwebane challenged these rules in court, arguing it’s unconstitutional and invalid, but it had been put on the back burner, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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