busisiwe mkhwebane

Busisiwe Mkhwebane: Inquiry into her fitness to be decided

Andile Sicetsha - 16.03.2021

Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s inquiry into her fitness will be decided by Parliament today.

A hybrid Parliamentary plenary will meet at the National Assembly, on Tuesday, to decide on whether an inquiry into the fitness of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is warranted.

ANC divided on Busisiwe Mkhwebane

A week after an independent panel of judges published a report into the conduct of Mkhwebane in a number of infamous investigations, ANC Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina revealed that consensus within the party’s Parliamentary caucus has been reached on its stance on the matter.

The ruling party, Majodina said, will support the process, despite public outcry from some of its own senior members.

“We are not dealing with the merits of the case, whether someone should be removed or not. At this stage, the ANC caucus is very clear, it will be premature to conclude whether there will be voting for retention or against the removal of the public protector.

“Therefore, the National Assembly will be seized with a process and all that will be required at this stage is to agree on whether to proceed with the enquiry or not,” she said.

The fundamental purpose of this sitting is to make an informed decision on the recommendations of the independent panel’s report. In it, the panel found that Mkhwebane’s conduct, in a number of investigations — including the estina dairy farm report and the highly contested CR17 bank statements — contained enough prima facie evidence to call for an inquiry into her incompetence.

What happens if the plenary votes in favour of the report?

Should the hybrid plenary decide to pursue the report’s recommendations, the matter will be scheduled for a special ad-hoc committee whose duty is to dissect the purpose of the inquiry.

“The committee on Section 194 will conduct an inquiry for fairness and clarity, which will afford the public protector an opportunity to clear her name and respond to the wide allegations attributed by DA motion,” Majodina explained.

Mkhwebane is still on a sabbatical until the end of March. Standing in for her, is Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka.

The Public Protector is still facing a triple perjury charge and will be expected to appear at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Thursday 25 March 2021.