While opposition parties celebrate the parliament’s approval for an inquiry into Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s removal following growing questions on whether or not she is fit to hold the office of the Public Protector, the ANC outrightly disapproves it, saying it is an act of witch-hunt.
The parliament had in its sitting this week, approved the proposal by the Democratic Alliance (DA) for Mkhwebane to be removed from office.
The Democratic Alliance had last month initiated the proceedings against the Mkhwebane who is just about a year in her office as the Public Protector.
The party. supported by a few others like the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), indicated that Mkhwebane is acting in the interest of President Jacob Zuma and his allies, including the controversial Gupta family.
Well, the governing ANC which seems to be the only party that is throwing its weight behind Mkhwebane rejected a proposal for the establishment of an ad hoc committee to consider her removal.
Explaining why they would not support the proceeding on Mkhwebane’s removal, the ANC MPs said the proposal is wrong because:
- It is designed by the opposition to intimidate her into silence. “An opportunist exercise requested by the opposition for political expediency”.
- Unlike the past advocate, Mkhwebane has focused her attention on serving the masses of our people rather than solely conducting Hollywood-style investigations
- She has dared to question the mandate of the Reserve Bank and called upon Absa, successor to apartheid-era bank Bankorp to repay monies lent to them by the Reserve Bank
- Constitutionally, the Public Protector may only be removed from office on the grounds of misconduct, incapacity or incompetence — which the ANC believes she is not guilty of.
“Disagreement or discomfort with the investigations and outcomes of investigations of the Public Protector does not render the incumbent unfit for office, it simply means the aggrieved party does not agree and should, therefore, seek other remedies, including judicial review of the public protector’s rulings,” the ANC said, kicking against Mkhwebane’s removal.
“[Mkhwebane] has been at the receiving end of a concerted campaign to discredit her since her appointment almost a year ago. The proposed inquiry is merely a witch-hunt designed by the opposition to intimidate her into silence and bend her to their warped views on what constitutes the work of the Public Protector,” the party said.
The ANC contested this with the opposition party under heated parliamentary members. At first, the party objected to the discussion taking place citing short notice. Blows were exchanged occasionally with some harsh words following them.
“We cannot be kowtowed by the DA. I don’t even think this matter is relevant for any consideration by the committee. If we were to look at the reasons I see here, they are just neither here nor there,” said ANC MP Bongani Bongo.
“I don’t think we need to waste Parliament’s time by setting up an ad hoc committee. We must say to the Speaker there is no basis for the issues raised here. All we need to do is capacitate the Office of the Public Protector so that it can have the capacity to execute its mandate properly,” he said.