Mkhwebane challenges removal from office

Mkhwebane challenges removal from office

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s legal bid to challenge Parliament’s decision to consider a motion for her removal is expected to be heard in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday, 12 August 2020.

Mkhwebane, who approached the courts in early February, also wants the parliamentary rules allowing for the removal of heads of Chapter 9 institutions to be set aside, arguing they would cause irreparable harm to both the said institutions and her career.

“In dealing with irreparable harm, the court has to counterbalance the harm to be suffered by the applicant (Mkhwebane) if the interim interdict is not granted”, the public protector argued in court papers.

“The approval of the motion itself is problematic for me as it feeds to this fable narrative, which malign me as being incompetent and dishonest”, she said.

The process – which was spearheaded by the Democratic Alliance (DA) – stems from as early as February 2019, when the opposition party proposed to Parliament that she be removed from her post.

Mkhwebane: ‘The President may have a perverse interest in removing me’

The public protector has also said she feared that President Cyril Ramaphosa would give the greenlight for her removal from office – should parliament approve the motion.

Mkwebane argued that Ramaphosa could act against her because of findings that she has made against him in relation to the R500 000 his CR17 campaign had received from scandal-plagued Bosasa.

“As soon as the speaker of Parliament [Thandi Modise] informs him that she had accepted the motion and request of the DA then I reasonably fear that the President may have a perverse interest in removing me,” she said. 

Modise: ‘Parliament within its rights’

In the court papers, Modise said Parliament was in good standing to pursue the matter and that, as a prerequisite, a committee would be looking into whether there were grounds for impeachment.

The speaker further said Mkhwebane would be given a fair opportunity to defend herself.

“Mkhwebane alleges the right of access to justice in Section 34 of the constitution applies to the assembly process under Section 194 of the constitution. For two related reasons, I dispute this allegation”, Modise said.

“First, an impeachment motion does not raise a legal dispute, one that can be resolved solely by application of law”

“Second, the ultimate decision-making body, the assembly, is not a court or an independent and impartial tribunal or forum,” she added.

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