DA welcomes independent panel looking into Mkhwebane's fitness to hold office

National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise announced late on Wednesday that retired Constitutional Court judge, Justice Bess Nkabinde, will chair the panel, which will include two senior counsel – advocates Dumisa Ntsebeza and Johan de Waal.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg on 22 July 2019. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) has welcomed the three-member independent panel that will determine whether or not Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane should face an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise announced late on Wednesday that retired Constitutional Court judge, Justice Bess Nkabinde, will chair the panel, which will include two senior counsel – advocates Dumisa Ntsebeza and Johan de Waal.

No date for the panel to begin its work has been announced. However, once it starts, it will have 30 days to report back to the National Assembly.

The panel’s job will be to decide, on the basis of information put before it, whether there is prima facie evidence to support the DA’s motion that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane should be removed from office. It will not conduct hearings, but Mkhwebane must, in terms of the rules, be given an opportunity to respond in writing to the allegations against her.

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone described the panelists as “legal heavyweights”. They were chosen from names submitted by political parties.

"I think that the DA has given enough evidence to prove our case, to prove that there is prima facie evidence that the Public Protector has enough wrongdoings against her to be removed from office and I
think that the panel is one that Parliament can certainly trust, the South African public can trust and one that we can be proud of."

The committee, once it starts work, will have 30 days to decide whether or not there are grounds for a parliamentary inquiry into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.

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