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Parliament forges ahead with Mkhwebane’s impeachment process despite her legal threats

Parliament is forging ahead with public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's impeachment process. File photo.
Parliament is forging ahead with public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's impeachment process. File photo.

The impeachment process against public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is forging ahead in parliament despite her intention to challenge the move in the Constitutional Court.

On Tuesday the section 194 committee that will probe her fitness to hold office appointed two advocates, senior counsel Nazreen Bawa and Ncumisa Mayosi, to lead evidence on behalf of parliament in the impeachment process.

This despite objections from the EFF and ATM, which on numerous occasions on Tuesday asked the committee to halt the process and wait for the court outcome.

EFF MPs Julius Malema and Omphilwe Maotwe said there was no reason why the process had to be rushed and that it may send a wrong message to the public and set a precedent that the committee disregards ongoing court challenges.

“If we want this process to be respectable and not projected as if we are pursuing certain agendas except to arrive at what is the objective of this committee, surely the most acceptable thing to do will be to give the Constitutional Court process a chance to proceed with the hope the court will resolve this matter quickly. Once that is done we can proceed,” Malema said.

“We’re not in a hurry to arrive at achieving justice because what we’re going to establish here is going to be a very serious precedent for those coming after the current protector.”

According to Malema, the committee had thus far been unanimous in accommodating all types of concerns raised, and the legal challenge by Mkhwebane should not be treated differently.

“I know we might hold different views and most might be feeling differently but we must not be seen to be impatient. If it means giving her a long rope, let it be, but we must be the type of a committee that has accommodated her and all types of concerns, and we move together as a collective so that whatever we agree to is a collective wisdom t not driven by a political or other agenda not known to us, but an agenda in which we restore the integrity of the office of the public protector,” he said.

ATM MP Vuyo Zungula also said the impeachment process “must be suspended” until after Mkhwebane’s court challenge was concluded.

“ Even the president had to suspend any intention from his side to suspend the public protector simply because the matter is before the court. It makes no sense that this committee would proceed on a matter before the court. When anything is before the court it is sub judice, therefore it does not make sense for us to proceed. I wanted you as chair and the committee to note our objection as the ATM,” Zungula said.

Committee chairperson Richard Dyantyi stuck to his guns, saying most members of the committee had agreed the court process would not affect proceedings.

Parties which agreed the process should continue include the ANC, DA and Freedom Front Plus.

Mkhwebane and President Cyril Ramaphosa have been engaged in what the committee dubbed a “festival” of legal letters around the latter’s intention to uspend her pending the outcome of the impeachment process.


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