Mkhwebane must go
The North Gauteng High court has today set aside the Public Protector’s, Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s, Bankorp-CIEX report, in which she found that ABSA should repay R1.1 billion.
In a devastating judgement for Ms Mkhwebane, she has been ordered to personally pay 15% of the costs, the other 85% to be paid by her office, yet another unnecessary waste of the taxpayer’s money.
This is not the first time she has wasted precious resources on frivolous court applications. Since her appointment, she’s wastefully incurred legal costs including:
- In July 2017, when she withdrew her opposition to an urgent application to set aside her remedial action amending the Constitution; and
- In February 2017, when she opposed President Jacob Zuma’s review application “merely to comply with the court rules” while still seeking a legal opinion – she only decided to commit to opposing the application in June.
By all accounts, Mkhwebane is utterly ineffectual and dangerously out of touch with her mandate as Public Protector.
The DA has always maintained that she is not suitable to head up the Office of the Public Protector, as a crucial institution in the fight against injustice and corruption.
This latest scathing judgment against her is more proof that she should be immediately removed. It also constitutes a scathing indictment of the ANC members of the Justice Portfolio Committee, who on the same grounds found by the court today, refused to consider our request to remove her.
The ANC instead chose to protect her in line with a thinly disguised party line.
Statement issued by Glynnis Breytenbach MP, DA Shadow Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, 16 February 2018
Parliament must remove the Public Protector for incompetence and misconduct
The DA has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete MP, requesting that she expedite the process to remove the Public Protector, Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane in terms of Section 194 of the Constitution which states that the Public Protector may be removed from office on:
(a) the ground of misconduct, incapacity or incompetence;
(b) a finding to that effect by a committee of the National Assembly; and
(c) The adoption by the Assembly of a resolution calling for that person’s removal from office
The Speaker must now see to it that the proceedings to have the Public Protector removed commence swiftly as Mkhwebane has repeatedly demonstrated that she is not to fit to serve as Public Protector. The decision by the High Court to set aside her Bankorp-CIEX report, in which she recommended that ABSA pay back R1.1 billion, was a damning indictment on her fitness to hold office.
She clearly does not understand her role as Public Protector and misconstrued the powers of her office when, in the same report, she proposed that the Reserve Bank’s mandate be amended.
The DA has repeatedly called for Mkhwebane to be fired as Public Protector as having her at the helm has harmed the integrity of the office she holds. Just last week, Mkhwebane said the DA was “unpatriotic” for criticising her work. Such remarks show that she is biased and that cannot be accepted from the head of a Chapter 9 institution.
We have previously instituted the process of Adv. Mkhwebane’s removal through the Justice Committee but it was shut down by the ANC members that form part of this committee towing the party line. Parliament can no longer sit idly by while this important office is rendered useless by the incumbent.
South Africa deserves an objective Public Protector who is committed to upholding the rights of all citizens and defending them without fear or favour and Mkhwebane has proved she is not the right fit.
The Speaker must now act with haste in order to ensure that parliament can do its work immediately by firing Mkhwebane which would begin to restore public confidence in this important institution.
Statement issued by Glynnis Breytenbach MP, DA Shadow Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, 18 February 2018