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Suspend Advocate Mkhwebane pending inquiry into her fitness to hold office, says DA

Democratic Alliance (DA) has on Wednesday called on President Jacob Zuma to suspend Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane from her position as Public Protector, pending Parliamentary inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

DA Shadow Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Glynnis Breytenbach said President Zuma was empowered to suspend Advocate Mkhwebane.

“Now that the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services has agreed to our request to initiate proceedings to remove her, Zuma must suspend her pending the inquiry,” said Breytenbach.

According to the Constitution, said Breytenbach, Zuma may suspend a person from office at any time after the start of the proceedings of a committee of the National Assembly for the removal of that person.

“Advocate Mkhwebane has demonstrated numerous times that she is not fit to hold the office of the Public Protector and the DA has opposed her appointment from the start,” added Breytenbach.

The most glaring examples of her alleged misconduct include:

  • Troubling actions in the ABSA/Bankorp “life-boat” report, including ignoring requests from the Minister of Finance for documents, using a select few documents’ misrepresenting having considered interviews which she did not conduct and cannot provide the minutes for, and failing to demonstrate why she believes that large sums of money are recoverable;
  • Misconduct in several cases, including hiding submissions received from Black First Land First Group and failing to ensure a transparent record of her decision in the matter of the Bapo ba Mogale community’s trust;
  • Failing to provide timeous reports on, among others, the Vrede Dairy Farm case, phase 2 of the State Capture inquiry, and the awarding of Presidential Protection Services to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

“The fractures in the ANC Caucus has once again come to the fore with their Members serving on the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services voting in favour of an inquiry into Advocate Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office only for a subsequent press release to slam it. Once again the work of Parliament is undermined by ANC infighting,” said Breytenbach.

Breytenbach said the office of the Public Protector was a crucial institution in the fight against injustice and the rot of State Capture, adding that Advocate Mkhwebane was not the person to lead it.

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