National Assembly to decide on Mkhwebane impeachment inquiry next week

The House will on Tuesday consider the report of the independent panel that was appointed to decide whether Mkhwebane had a case to answer.

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

CAPE TOWN - The National Assembly will decide next week whether or not to establish an inquiry that could lead to the removal of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

The House will on Tuesday consider the report of the independent panel that was appointed to decide whether Mkhwebane had a case to answer.

In their report, retired Constitutional Court Justice Bess Nkabinde and senior advocates, Dumisa Ntsebeza and Johan de Waal, found prima facie evidence of both incompetence and misconduct on the part of Mkhwebane.

The panel recommended that the charges of incompetence and misconduct be referred to a committee of the National Assembly for a formal inquiry.

READ: DA urges Parly to urgently institute removal proceedings against Mkhwebane

The question that will come before the National Assembly on Tuesday is whether or not the report of the independent panel be adopted – for which a simple majority of 50 plus one is required.

If the House votes against, the matter will end there - and Mkhwebane will be off the hook. If the vote is in favour, a multi-party committee will have to be established to carry out an inquiry into the removal of the head of a Chapter 9 institution.

That committee will then have to report back to the House. If it recommends that Mkhwebane be removed, a two-thirds majority of the House will be required to endorse this.

READ: DA’s Mazzone: SA deserves a better PP than Mkhwebane

The process is already politically fraught, given the factional battles playing out within the African National Congress (ANC).

The party’s secretary general Ace Magashule has already said the ANC would not vote with the Democratic Alliance, which brought the motion for the impeachment inquiry; the ANC Women’s League and the Umkhonto weSize Military Veterans’ Association have taken similar positions.

National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise is on record as saying it would be a shame for SA’s democracy if parties rejected the report as it would be in the best interests of the country, Parliament and Mkhwebane herself if the process was undertaken by the committee.

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