Parliament must act on Public Protector — DA

The Democratic Alliance (DA) wants one of the first tasks of the newly installed National Assembly to be the removal of Busisiwe Mkhwebane as Public Protector.

The official opposition has written to Speaker Thandi Modise calling for Parliament to institute removal proceedings against Mkhwebane.

The party says it is because of the ruling by the Pretoria high court which found Mkhwebane’s report into the Vrede dairy farm project ‘invalid and unconstitutional’.

The Estina dairy farm saga, in Vrede in the Free State was supposed to be an empowerment project for more than one hundred black farmers. Public money to the tune of R200-million , which was meant to benefit the farmers instead found its way to the bank accounts of the controversial Gupta family.

READ MORE: Mkhwebane ‘astonished’ by Vrede report ruling, may fight back

Mkhwebane’s initial report made no findings against former Free State Premier and now ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, and Mosebenzi Zwane who was Free State Agriculture MEC at the time.


Zwane — who was also mineral resources MEC in former president Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet — was sworn in as a member of Parliament on Wednesday.

“We have long stated that Mkhwebane is not the right person to serve as the head of such a critical Chapter 9 body. It is for this reason the DA has submitted another request to the Speaker of the National Assembly in terms of Section 194 of the Constitution, to have the Public Protector removed,” DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said.

It wouldn’t be the DA’s first attempt to remove Mkhwebane.

Just before the last Parliament was dissolved in February, the National Assembly’s justice committee turned down the DA’s call for her removal.

At the time, former committee chairperson Madipoane Mothapo called the attempt “premature”.

Steenhuisen says Mkhwebane has shown herself to be an inadequate public protector with some questionable reports tabled, including stepping outside her mandate while calling for a constitutional amendment with regards to the South African Reserve Bank.

She also consulted Zuma’s legal advisers and discussed further recommendations not included in her initial report into the ABSA/Bankorp bailout.

“Over the past three years, Mkhwebane compromised the integrity of the office of the Public Protector by showing a poor understanding of both the law as well as of her own powers. In addition to this, she has also brought the independence of her office into question,” Steenhuisen said.

READ MORE: Release of Public Protector report on Nkwinti interdicted

National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise will most likely leave any decision to go ahead with probe into Mkhwebane’s conduct in the hands of the Justice Committee.

Parliamentary committees are yet to be formed and chairpersons have not been appointed.

This will only happen after President Cyril Ramaphosa makes an announcement on the restructuring and size of government and Cabinet appointments.

Parliamentary committees usually oversee a corresponding government department over which they must conduct oversight.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit is a Reporter, Journalist, and Broadcaster.

Related stories

‘Veteran’s stripes’ vs ‘kind and fair’

This weekend the Democratic Alliance will choose between two starkly different visions for its future

Durban city manager says NPA erred in his bail conditions

The corruption-fraught metro is coming to grips with having a municipal manager who is on bail for graft, yet has returned to work

Former state security minister Bongo back in court

Bongo and his co-accused will appear in the Nelspruit magistrate’s court in Mpumalanga over charges of fraud, corruption and theft

Does the Expropriation Bill muddy the land question even further?

Land ownership and its equitable distribution has floundered. Changes to a section of the constitution and the expropriation act are now before parliament, but do they offer any solution?

Eusebius McKaiser: Reject the dichotomy of political horrors

Senekal shows us that we must make a stand against the loud voice of the populist EFF and racist rightwingers

Under Mbali Ntuli the DA would offer South Africans a new political home

The KwaZulu-Natal MPL, who is running against John Steenhuisen for the post as party leader, embodies the hopes and dreams of the majority of citizens
Advertising

Subscribers only

The shame of 40 000 missing education certificates

Graduates are being left in the lurch by a higher education department that is simply unable to deliver the crucial certificates proving their qualifications - in some cases dating back to 1992

The living nightmare of environmental activists who protest mine expansion

Last week Fikile Ntshangase was gunned down as activists fight mining company Tendele’s expansions. Community members tell the M&G about the ‘kill lists’ and the dread they live with every day

More top stories

Fifteen witnesses for vice-chancellor probe

Sefako Makgatho University vice-chancellor Professor Peter Mbati had interdicted parliament last month from continuing with the inquiry

Constitutional Court ruling on restructuring dispute is good for employers

A judgment from the apex court empowers employers to change their workers’ contracts — without consultation

Audi Q8: Perfectly cool

The Audi Q8 is designed to be the king in the elite SUV class. But is it a victim of its own success?

KZN officials cash in on ‘danger pay for Covid-19’

Leadership failures at Umdoni local municipality in KwaZulu-Natal have caused a ‘very unhappy’ ANC PEC to fire the mayor and chief whip
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday