Court should not interfere in impeachment of Public Protector, Modise argues

These are some of the responses from National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and President Cyril Ramaphosa to Mkhwebane in her court battle to have Parliament's rules to remove her declared invalid.

FILE: The former Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise on 11 June 2019. Picture: @ParliamentofRSA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - There is no bias against Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and the National Assembly is constitutionally obligated to institute impeachment proceedings against her.

These are some of the responses from National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and President Cyril Ramaphosa to Mkhwebane in her court battle to have Parliament's rules to remove her declared invalid.

Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s High Court application continued on Tuesday with submissions from respondents Modise, Ramaphosa and the Democratic Alliance (DA).

Advocate Andrew Breitenbach, who's representing Modise, argued that courts ideally should not interfere in the impeachment of the Public Protector.

"The principle of the separation of powers requires that this court respect the fact that the power to determine the fitness of a person to continue to hold the office of the Public Protector has been assigned by the Constitution to the Assembly and the president. This means that this court should not interfere in the process in the Assembly unless interference is necessary.”

The DA's legal counsel, Advocate Steven Budlender, added that Mkhwebane’s call for the new rules to be set aside entirely was like throwing the baby out with the bathwater and could not be agreed to.

"Where the court has found a defect in a piece of legislation or a set of rules and it has proceeded to strike down the entire set of rules that have been enacted, there is no such case of which I'm aware."

Ramaphosa’s counsel, Advocate Karrisha Pillay, told the court that there was no basis for Mkhwebane to allege bias based on the president’s participation in the process.

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