Mkhwebane’s luck runs out as inquiry recommends her removal

The period of suspension of Busisiwe Mkhwebane has extended beyond expectations, casting a prolonged shadow over the adage “it is darkest before dawn”.

In her situation, however, the darkness appears to be constant, with no sign of morning light.

As the suspended public protector continues to sedulously fight to clear her name amid gross allegations of misconduct in and out of court, the Section 194 parliamentary committee probing her fitness to hold office has recommended that she be removed.

The committee convened a meeting on Friday to consider and adopt a report on the impeachment inquiry proceedings.

The meeting follows closely on the heels of a legal setback for Mkhwebane, which is a familiar experience for her.

In July, the committee made an announcement indicating that it acquired sufficient evidence from numerous witnesses which supported the conclusions of an independent panel, which found Mkhwebane guilty of four charges involving misconduct and incompetence.

Specifically, the committee’s findings highlighted instances of misconduct and incompetence relating to investigations involving the Reserve Bank, Vrede Dairy, SA Revenue Service, and the CR17 matter.

However, it seems there is a glimmer of hope for Mkhwebane, who enjoys the minimal support of certain MPs who find the impeachment process unjust.

This is a stance she has vigorously attempted to prove in court to the point of blowing her legal budget in the process.

During the meeting, Ganief Hendricks, leader of Al Jama-ah, confirmed his opposition to Mkhwebane’s dismissal.

Similarly, EFF MP Omphile Maotwe reiterated the party’s stance, stating that the proceedings against the embattled public protector lacked proper procedural fairness, indicating the red berets’ intention to challenge the matter.

Maotwe said: “We reject this report. It is unfair to ignore that she does not have legal representation for the sake of finalizing this process.

“The report is premature and demonstrates the determination of you as the chair and the entire committee to move with speed to impeach the PP [public protector], regardless of the litany of procedural mishaps committed by the committee since inception.

“This is a frivolous political process to punish a person who is non-compliant with a dominant narrative that seeks to hold up the head of state as the centre. The PP has not had legal representation in the committee from March.”

Meanwhile, the ANC, DA and ACDP MPs voted in favour of endorsing a recommendation for Mkhwebane’s removal.

While the situation seems dire, there is a final opportunity for Mkhwebane to present her case, which is well within her capabilities.

It remains to be seen whether she still has some strength in her to fight. However, her tenure is coming to an end and a new public protector is due.


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