Back to the drawing board for Parly after court finds PP panel unconstitutional

The court found that Parliament failed to carry out its constitutional obligation to pass legislation giving effect to the removal of the Public Protector, the Auditor-General and members of commissions established.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: @PublicProtector/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape High Court has found the independent panel established to investigate whether there is prima facie evidence against Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is unconstitutional.

Mkhwebane had approached the court to have Parliament’s rules which it's relied on to institute impeachment proceedings against her declared invalid.

Parliament will now have to start from scratch.

Mkhwebane said that the current parliamentary inquiry into her fitness to hold office had to be halted with immediate effect while the national legislature corrected its error.

The Public Protector welcomed Wednesday’s ruling which declared certain aspects of the current parliamentary rules for the removal of Chapter 9 institution heads as unconstitutional.

The court found that Parliament failed to carry out its constitutional obligation to pass legislation giving effect to the removal of the Public Protector, the Auditor-General and members of commissions established.

Her spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, has called on the National Assembly to do the right thing.

"A call is accordingly made to the National Assembly to do the right thing and allow for the inevitable process of amending the rules before their lawful implementation. The National Assembly should take the opportunity to rectify other weaknesses identified and criticised by the court, including those which may not necessarily have been declared unconstitutional at this stage. Any rushed process can only result in another wasteful, flawed and illegal outcome," Segalwe said.

The ruling came on the same day that the Section 194 parliamentary inquiry into Mkhwebane’s fitness held its second meeting.

Parliament's spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, said that the manner in which the Section 194 committee would continue going forward would be based on legal advice.

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