Parly to establish committee for Mkhwebane's impeachment inquiry

The decision opens the way for the first-ever impeachment process of a head of chapter 9 institution.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on 4 December 2017. Picture: Thomas Holder/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - The National Assembly on Tuesday endorsed an independent report that said there was prima facie evidence of misconduct against Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

This means Parliament can now proceed with an inquiry into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.

The decision opens the way for the first-ever impeachment process of a head of chapter 9 institution.

MPs on Tuesday debated and voted on whether or not Parliament should launch the probe as recommended by an independent panel.

READ: Modise reveals request to suspend Parly debate on inquiry into Mkhwebane

The vote in favour of an impeachment inquiry into Mkhwebane has divided parties in the National Assembly.

For the African National Congress (ANC) the divisions are more internal with some members boycotting the sitting.

The ANC has 230 seats in the National Assembly but only 168 were present for the vote.

But ANC deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude said the party supported the motion.

“The ANC supports the motion to establish a Section 194 multiparty committee, which will deal with this matter.”

The Economic Freedom Fighters has threatened further court action should the process go ahead, saying the matter was sub judice.

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Party leader Julius Malema said: “When you started you said a sub judice matter is a matter that is awaiting the judgment of the court and I don’t agree with that because once a matter is before a court and a date has been set, that is sub judice.”

Inkatha Freedom Party MP Narend Singh said the inquiry would ensure Mkhwebane got a fair hearing.

Parliament will now move ahead with the process by establishing an ad hoc committee to lead the inquiry.

WATCH: Parliament votes yes to probe into Public Protector's fitness to hold office

DIVIDED OPPOSITION PARTIES

Opposition parties are divided on whether embattled Mkhwebane should face a parliamentary impeachment inquiry.

While some like the official opposition DA support the move, others say Parliament should suspend its proceedings and wait for pending court cases.

EFF MP Natasha Ntlangwini said: “If this motion passes, we will immediately approach the courts to stop this process.”

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa also voiced his opposition to the inquiry.

“UDM strongly believes that if there is anyone that should be removed from office, it is the current ANC executive members.”

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone, who laid the complaint against Mkhwebane, said MPs had a constitutional obligation.

“It was by order of the court that rules were established, which we followed as members of Parliament to ensure that the motion that came before the House would be just and would be done in the correct fashion.”

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