Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

Mkhwebane seeks Section 194 chair’s removal as Ramaphosa welcomes ConCourt ruling

The ConCourt dismissed Mkhwebane's application to have her impeachment declared unconstitutional.

Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is still seeking to have Section 194 Inquiry chairperson, Qubudile Dyantyi removed from his position.

Mkhwebane filed a new recusal application calling for Dyantyi’s removal over bribery allegations levelled against the committee’s chairperson.

ALSO READ: Mkhwebane extortion claims could open final committee report to legal challenge

Her husband, David Skosana, laid a complaint with the police in June alleging that late ANC MP Tina Joemat-Pettersson had approached him to elicit bribes for herself, Dyantyi and ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina in exchange for making Mkhwebane’s impeachment inquiry “go away”.

While Dyantyi denied the allegations, Mkhwebane has laid a complaint with Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests.

Four MPs who are also members of the Section 194 Inquiry have recused themselves from the Ethics Committee.

Recusal application

Dyantyi had initially asked Mkhwebane to submit a formal and written application for his recusal by 9 June, but the public protector missed the deadline citing the absence of her legal representation at the inquiry.

A month later, Mkhwebane has finally sent the recusal application via her lawyers, Chaane Attorneys.

The latest applications comes after the public protector was granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in her case against Dyantyi and Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Kevin Mileham.

A conditional cross-appeal was also granted to Dyantyi in regards to the costs by the Western Cape High Court.

Mkhwebane sought to appeal the high court’s previous ruling, which dismissed her application to have Dyantyi and Mileham recused from her impeachment inquiry.

Missed deadlines

Mkhwebane’s application also comes as the Section 194 Committee seeks to complete its work earlier than anticipated following her failure to meet the committee’s deadlines.

The committee had resolved unanimously on 9 June that it would change its process and send written questions to Mkhwebane after she repeatedly appeared at the inquiry without her legal team.

She has then since missed four deadlines to file oral and or written replies or submissions to sets of questions by committee members and evidence leaders.

RELATED: Mkhwebane must answer 630 questions, but ‘can she read’ them?

The committee was now considering compiling its draft report on its inquiry into Mkhwebane’s fitness for office.

“In fact, to the contrary, her continued non-response to questions and deadlines means that we may produce a report much sooner than initially planned because there would be no reason for the chairperson not to direct the evidence leader to do the summation earlier than planned or to convene a committee meeting earlier than 28 July if this is practical,” Dyantyi said in a statement on Tuesday.

Mkhwebane suspension

Mkhwebane on Thursday suffered yet another court defeat after the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) found that there were “rational reasons” for President Cyril Ramaphosa to suspend the public protector.

She was suspended in June last year, a day after an investigation into the president’s conduct regarding the Phala Phala farm scandal was announced.

However, the ConCourt concluded that the mere fact that Mkhwebane was investigating Ramaphosa wasn’t enough to say there was a conflict of interest in him suspending her.

READ MORE: NPA’s ID denies Tina Joemat-Pettersson was threatened with arrest over Mkhwebane ‘extortion’

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa has since welcomed the judgment, according to the Presidency.

“The Constitutional Court judgment affirms the fact that the president acted within the rule of law and also affirms the president’s adherence to due process and fairness as you all know the suspension followed the decision by the National Assembly to institute as Section 194 process against Advocate Mkhwebane.

“So in short, we welcome the decision [as it] confirms that at all times the president endeavours to act within the prescripts of the law,” Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya on Thursday.

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