Glynnis Breytenbach MP, Shadow Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development
The revelations that Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, first consulted President Jacob Zuma’s legal advisors and discussed further recommendations not included in her initial report into the ABSA/Bankorp bailout, casts serious doubt as to her independence.
This information has been revealed in annexures to the supplementary affidavit filed by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and clearly demonstrates that Mkhwebane does not operate in an impartial manner but rather seems to take her orders from the Union Buildings.
The DA will, therefore, write to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to request that this matter is dealt with by the relevant Portfolio Committee, in terms of Rule 337 and 338 of the National Assembly Rules.
Specifically, the DA in the Committee will call for removal proceedings to be initiated urgently. In terms of Section 194 of the Constitution, the Portfolio Committee has the power to make a finding of “misconduct, incapacity, or incompetence” against the Public Protector. Thereafter, the National Assembly must adopt a resolution calling for removal, which requires a two-thirds majority.
The DA has, from the get go, had serious doubts as to Mkhwebane’s suitability for the vital role of Public Protector. She has confirmed these doubts numerous times, including:
- When she failed to act when President Jacob Zuma was trying to interdict the release of the State Capture report last year, which gave the first inkling of her bias;
- When she jumped to the defence of the President by laying criminal charges against former Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, for releasing the transcript of her interview with the President;
- When she has been sitting on key Gupta-related investigations for months; and
- When she admitted to stepping outside of her mandate by recommending changing the Constitution regarding the mandate of the SARB, showing that she has very poor understanding of her own powers and the limits thereof.
The Public Protector is Constitutionally mandated to investigate misconduct by government departments and entities and to protect the public’s interest. Clearly, Mkhwebane is acting in the interest of the already captured Number 1 and must be removed before she is allowed to compromise the once proud office any further.