MPs push on with Mkhwebane probe despite her fresh legal bid to overturn ConCourt ruling


In yet another blow to embattled Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, MPs serving on the parliamentary committee for Section 194 probing her fitness to hold office on Wednesday unanimously resolved to continue the process – despite her fresh legal bid to overturn the recent ruling of the Constitutional Court (ConCourt).

Described by MPs as “a Stalingrad” tactic, Mkhwebane is challenging the apex court’s decision to reject her impeachment rescission bid in the hope of stalling the Section 194 inquiry.

The move was rejected by the committee on the grounds that there was no legal impediment for it not to proceed with its work, especially on the basis of her application for rescission to the ConCourt, and no interdict prohibiting it from continuing.

After being briefed on litigation implications by parliamentary legal experts, MPs vowed to adopt a programme with provisional hearings starting on 11 July.

Mkhwebane will be allowed legal representation.

Her spokesperson did not comment. Accountability Now director advocate Paul Hoffman said Mkhwebane has run out of options.

“The implications of the committee’s decision is that the public protector is now going to be pursued by parliament, which is about time. There is no interdict in place preventing parliament from doing it.

“It seems that the only live bit of litigation about it relates to whether the president can or cannot suspend the public protector, which is a different issue. It has to do with whether he is in any risk of a conflict of interest. And if the court says he is, then it is for the deputy president to do the suspending instead of the president.

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“The public protector has run out of tarmac in which to duck and dive,” said Hoffman.

Like former president Jacob Zuma, Hoffman said Mkhwebane has followed “a Stalingrad strategy in relation to her impeachment.

“The very first time that somebody complained about her honesty and competence was in January 2017. From then on, she has been very successful in ducking and diving.

It has to come to an end at some stage and it seems to me that stage has now been reached.

“Her latest challenge to the Constitutional Court for a rescission is stillborn because the court will chase her away. It is not a basis for interdicting parliament from carrying on with its work, unless there is an interdict, and there is not.”

On an SMS sent to Andrew Breitenbach, a member of the parliamentary legal team, by consultant Ismail Abramjee claiming he “had it on very good authority” that Mkhwebane’s rescission case was going to be dismissed by the Constitutional Court, Hoffman said:

“I agree with MPs that SMS sent by Mr Abramjee is irrelevant.

“This has nothing to do with the constitutional obligation of the National Assembly to inquire into the fitness for office of the public protector.

“She has behaved unaccountably from the very inception of her appointment – a Zuma deployee who has used Zuma tactics in litigation very well. She has run out of options.”

Source: citizen