Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane‘s application to have the Constitutional Court judgement against her attempt to halt her possible impeachment rescinded won’t stop proceedings from going ahead, said the Committee for Section 194 Inquiry on Tuesday.
Mkhwebane’s lawyers on Monday informed Speaker of parliament Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula that she intended to apply to the Constitutional Court to have parts of its judgment, passed earlier this month, rescinded.
Mkhwebane reportedly indicated that papers would be lodged in the next 10 to 14 days.
The apex court’s ruling paved way for the Committee for Section 194 Inquiry to continue with the impeachment process. It is chaired by ANC MP Qubudile Dyantyi and has representatives from all political parties in Parliament.
Justice Nonkosi’s judgement ordered that Mkhwebane be allowed legal representation in the proceedings.
‘No legal obligation’
As MPs prepared for Tuesday’s meeting, Mkhwebane sent through another letter, requesting them to postpone the meeting in the light of her decision to go back to court, said Parliament’s senior legal adviser Siviwe Njikela.
“We responded and explained that as far we were concerned, there was no legal obligation to not continue, since there was no application or interdict stopping the process.
“The application has not been filed. Yesterday [Monday] they indicated that they would file in 10 to14 days. There is nothing before us other than that declaration of intent from the public protector.”
The majority of members agreed that the process should get underway. They hailed the formation of the committee for the removal of a head of a Chapter 9 institution as a “groundbreaking and pioneering” process that has never happened before.
‘Waste of time’
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa inquired from the legal team whether Mkhwebane’s own documents would be made available for perusal, even to non-members of the committee.
He wanted details on Mkhwebane’s investigations and reports to avoid “following one voice.”
“Can we be given her documents from there’s details of how many cases she worked on since she took over, how many were litigated, and out of those, how many she lost or won in the courts? I think that information is important for these proceeding.”
Additionally, Holomisa requested data on the number of Mkhwebane’s reports and how many were implemented by government.
“Also, they said she was a spy. Does that mean if one worked for intelligence agencies after 1994, one cannot work for government?,” Holomisa asked.
Al Jama-ah leader Ganief Hendricks asked if the process won’t turn out to be a waste of time and resources.
“Is there a chance that the two-thirds majority will be achieved in this matter? This will take our time, resources and could even eclipse how the JSC interviews for chief justice turned out. Aren’t we wasting our time?,” he asked.
The committee would be given all documents once the evidence leader was appointed, said attorney Fatima Ebrahim.
The terms of reference presented by the legal team were adopted by the committee members.
Said Dyantyi: “As things stand, the highest court in the land made a decision, nothing stops us from proceeding.”