PP doesn't need legal representation in impeachment matter, Parly tells ConCourt

Parliament told the Constitutional Court that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane does not require legal representation in the impeachment process against her.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - Parliament told the Constitutional Court that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane does not require legal representation in the impeachment process against her.

Mkhwebane should speak directly with the National Assembly, it added.

National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is seeking leave to appeal directly to the Constitutional Court against the findings of another court which deal with the denial of full legal representation for Mkhwebane during the parliamentary inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

The Western Cape High Court found that the inclusion of a judge violated the principle of the separation of powers.

Constitutional Court Justice Steven Majiedt said that of particular concern to him was the decision not to afford Mkhabane legal representation.

"We do understand that truth and the veracity could only properly be tested where there is a contestation of facts through cross-examination and it does concern me greatly that a legal representative will not be able to cross-examine and more importantly make submissions," said Majiedt.

Justices Zukisa Tshiqi and Leona Theron raised the same issue.

Advocate Andrew Breitenbach, representing Parliament, argued that a head of a Chapter Nine institution should be able to address matters based on their own personal knowledge.

"The answer that I can give in relation to the Chapter Nine office bearer whose impeachment is still sought is that the charges concern them. They will be able to address them from their own personal knowledge," said Breitenbach.