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ANC: Probe into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office a witch-hunt

The ANC says disagreement or discomfort with the investigations of the Public Protector does not render her unfit for office.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane visited Masiphumelele to inspect the work done by the City of Cape Town after a complaint was laid with her office. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress (ANC) has slammed a decision by Parliament's Justice Committee to launch an inquiry into Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's fitness to hold office.

It says the call by the opposition is nothing more than an opportunistic witch-hunt.

Ironically, it was the committee’s ANC caucus who agreed to investigate the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) complaints themselves after rejecting a proposal for an ad hoc committee to deal with the matter instead.

Citing concerns over potential legal conflicts and a hefty work load, chairperson of the justice committee Mathole Motshekga’s proposal for an ad hoc committee, was rejected by members of his party.

The national ANC says it views the intended inquiry into Busisiwe Mkhwebane, in a dim light.

Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa says disagreement or discomfort with the investigations by the Public Protector, does not make Mkhwebane unfit for office.

Kodwa adds her decision to question the mandate of the Reserve Bank and to recommend the repayment of money lent by Absa’s predecessor Bankorp, has rattled cages and unsettled entrenched interests.

He says the proposed inquiry is a witchhunt

'VENDETTA'

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu says the call for an inquiry to investigate misconduct complaints against Public Protector is frivolous. He says such an inquiry is aimed at attracting publicity.

But it was ANC MPs on the committee who voted in favour of dealing with the matter themselves.

Now Mthembu has added his dissatisfaction, blaming the DA for launching a vendetta against Mkhwebane.

He says the request to institute removal proceedings against the Public Protector has no grounds.

Mthembu is calling on the committee to reject the DA’s call to investigate the Public Protector but is has already been agreed to.

DA COMPLAINT

The DA laid a complaint with the National Assembly Speaker about her fitness to hold office.

The party also wants her deputy, Kevin Malunga, to be probed for cancelling two municipal investigations.

Initially reticent to deal with the matter, the ANC out-voted the opposition in favour of handling the probe itself.

Less than a year in office, and already the DA believes that Mkhwebane should be relieved of her duties.

But Parliament’s Justice Committee was at odds on Tuesday as to how to handle the complaint.

Opposition parties supported a proposal by chairperson Mathole Motshekga that an ad hoc committee would be better placed to handle the matter.

The African Christian Democratic Party’s Steve Swart said: "MPs on an ad hoc committee that were not implicated in that judgment, that were not instructed to amend the constitution, would have been the better course."

But ANC MPs said that despite the committee’s busy schedule, they would rather find the time to deal with a matter they viewed as of "national importance".