The Democratic Alliance (DA) has said removal proceedings against Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane should continue without any further delays.
DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone said in a statement on Wednesday that the DA had written to the speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise to request an update on the removal proceedings against Mkhwebane.
“The DA’s proposal for the removal of the public protector was accepted by the speaker on 26 February 2020 and we submitted our nominees to serve on the independent panel – which will determine whether there is a prima facie case for parliament to continue with the removal process – well before the 6 March deadline,” she said.
Mazzone said a clear timeline of the process needed to be outlined.
“It is for this reason that the DA has asked the speaker for an update on the progress on the appointment process of the independent panel and when this will be finalised. We are of the view that the chosen panellists need to urgently start evaluating the merits of the case via virtual meetings,” she said.
She said parliament had been open for two weeks and numerous committee meetings were in full swing on important issues other than the Covid-19 pandemic despite the proceedings being inevitably postponed due to it.
“The DA submits that the Covid-19 cannot be held up as an excuse and the removal proceedings against the public protector should, therefore, continue without any further delays.
“As the Covid-19 lockdown has continued, we have seen several reports and allegations of public office bearers abusing their positions at the expense of the South African public. As such, we will require an independent, competent public protector to investigate these abuses without fear or favour,” she said.
Mazzone said Mkhwebane was clearly not the right person for the job.
In December, Mazzone lodged an initial motion to institute Mkhwebane’s removal with Modise three days after the National Assembly adopted rules for the removal of the head of a Chapter 9 institution like the public protector.
Modise gave the green light for this motion, but Mazzone withdrew this motion and lodged another with more evidence.
The speaker also approved the motion and asked parties in parliament to nominate candidates for a panel of three independent persons to assess whether there was a prima facie case for Mkhwebane’s removal, as the rules required.
(Compiled by Molefe Seeletsa)