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MPs opt not to launch inquiry into Mkhwebane's fitness to hold office

The Justice portfolio committee report says it would be premature to launch a process to remove Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane from office.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: @PublicProtector/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is off the hook… for now.

Parliament’s Justice portfolio committee has decided against launching an expedited inquiry into her fitness to hold office, despite strong objections from the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP).

The committee adopted a report to this effect a short while ago. It follows a request by DA chief whip John Steenhuisen in February last year that an inquiry be held, following adverse court findings against Mkhwebane.

In an about-turn, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) sided with the ANC, coming out in full support of Mkhwebane.

The committee report says it would be premature to launch a process to remove Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane from office. It notes that legal proceedings related to one of the adverse judgments against her are still continuing. Mkhwebane is challenging the Constitutional Court’s order that she personally repay some of the costs in the ABSA-CIEX matter where she was found to have gone too far in recommending the Reserve Bank’s mandate be changed.

DA and ACDP MPs were opposed and have labelled the report "a disgrace".

The DA’s Werner Horn: "This report in no way deals with how this committee could arrive at the conclusion that ultimately we should not embark on a wholesale or formal investigation into the fitness or otherwise to hold office by the incumbent [Mkhwebane]."

EFF MP Thilivhali Mulaudzi defended the party’s flip-flop, saying that Mkhwebane is doing a good job and should remain in place.