Like Public Protector Busisiwe Mkwhebane, the EFF wants Parliament to halt her impeachment after the Western Cape High Court found fault with two of the rules for the process.
Mkhwebane asked the court to declare the rules for the removal of a Chapter 9 head unconstitutional. While the court did not do this, it did find fault with two of the rules.
Judges Elizabeth Baartman, Lister Nuku and Mokgoatji Dolamo ruled that they be amended to allow a Chapter 9 head legal representation when appearing before a Section 194 committee.
It also ruled that judges shouldn’t be on the independent panel that decides whether there is a prima facie case against a Chapter 9 head.
After the judgment was handed down on Wednesday, the Office of the Public Protector released a statement, saying that flowing from the judgment, it “follows therefore that the present process must be halted with immediate effect.”
“To continue on the basis of the old unamended and partly unconstitutional Rules, as if nothing has happened, would constitute an attack on the authority of the courts, the rule of law and the constitutional rights of the Public Protector,” reads the statement.
“A call is accordingly made to the National Assembly to do the right thing and allow for the inevitable process of amending the Rules before their lawful implementation.”
The EFF, in a statement on Thursday morning, said that it agreed with the court’s rulings on legal representation and judges serving on the independent panel.
“The Presiding Officers [National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Amos Masondo] must admit that the processes followed thus far are unconstitutional and should therefore stop the activities of the committee established to hound the Public Protector,” reads the EFF’s statement.
“The principle which we have articulated consistently is that those who have problems with findings, rulings and remedial action of the Public Protector must approach the courts for judicial review. Hounding the Public Protector and subjecting her to a long litigious process will deprive her office of the necessary attention it deserves to protect vulnerable South Africans, the majority of whom cannot afford to approach the courts for justice.”
Section 194 of the Constitution allows for a process to remove a head of a Chapter 9 institution on the grounds of incapacity, misconduct or incompetence.
The EFF also asked Parliament not to appeal the Western Cape High Court’s ruling.
In a statement on Wednesday, Parliament said it was consulting its legal team and would make a determination on the implications of the judgment on its independence and how it determines its internal processes.
“The manner in which the Section 194 Committee proceeds will be based on legal advice,” reads the statement.