Mkhwebane doing a 'marvellous job' and will not get the chop — Supra Mahumapelo

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane
Busisiwe Mkhwebane Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

ANC MPs who are seen as part of an anti-President Cyril Ramaphosa faction have hinted that they will oppose a parliamentary process to remove public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane from office.

In a move revealing how the ANC parliamentary caucus is likely to be divided over looming impeachment proceedings against Mkhwebane, ANC MP Supra Mahumapelo on Friday said she had done a sterling job. He did not believe anyone in the ANC would support her removal.

“It is not going to happen.” Mahumapelo used this line five times during a 13-minute address to journalists outside the Cape Town magistrate's court, while emphasising the point that the ANC could not support a “retrogressive” DA motion.

He accused the DA of seeking to divide the ANC in tabling the motion against Mkhwebane. Mahumapelo said by tabling the motion while not having the majority in parliament, the DA was hoping that some of the ANC's MPs would be tempted to support its motion.

“It's not going to happen and I thought we must make it very clear, it's not going to happen,” he said.

Mahumapelo was in court to lend support to ANC MP Bongani Bongo who was appearing on a corruption charge.

As he spoke to journalists, a handful of ANC members who included MPs, staff and hangers on nodded and murmured in agreement.

He said he did not see any reason to remove Mkhwebane as she was doing a “marvellous” job.

“Very soon we are going to release what some of us have done as analysis of the performance of the office of public protector, factual reasons why the public protector cannot go because she has done very, very well. It's not an official ANC position but according to me the public protector has done a sterling job,” he added.

Asked whether he had considered court rulings, including one by the Constitutional Court that found Mkhwebane had lied under oath, Mahumapelo replied: “It doesn't matter, it's part of law in the republic. You being found guilty doesn't result in you having to be necessarily removed from your position or reducing what you have done as a person to nothingness.

“It's a reflection by the court and it's okay, we observe it but it doesn't mean that she has failed in all aspects of the office of the public protector,” he said.

Mahumapelo accused the media of not focusing on the public protector's findings about poverty and the poor and only paying attention to the so-called high-profile cases.

He was adamant that the ANC would not allow “the antics of NGOs, the DA, the forces of retrogression and imperialism that are opposed to the agenda of the ANC and want to get to the ANC via the public protector. It's not going to happen”.

Mahumapelo did not believe there were ANC members who “harbour some ambition” to remove the public protector. But if there were any, they would have to raise their opposition to Mkhwebane in the structures of the ANC, including its caucus where “we will meet them”.

“We are waiting eagerly for that day to hear them. They can't exist, not in the ANC,” he said.

He said since its formation in 1912, the ANC had never had a position supporting people who were counter-revolutionary and organisations that were counter-revolutionary, who wanted retrogression in the country.

“It's not going to happen. Since our formation, it's our mission. The DA must forget about this particular matter and may focus on something else. They must leave the ANC alone.”

What happens then if the independent panel recommends action against Mkhwebane?

“That bridge we are going to cross it when we come to it. The ANC will discuss that matter at that particular point but I can tell you now in the ANC there is no decision to remove the public protector. The decision of the ANC is that Chapter 9 institutions must be supported and if there are issues relating to Chapter 9 institutions, those issues must be ventilated according to the rules of procedure that have been made,” said Mahumapelo.

Last Friday, National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise approved the DA's request for parliament to initiate proceedings for the removal from office of Mkhwebane.

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