MPs vote on suspended OB this afternoon


Members of Parliament will decide on Monday afternoon the fate of the suspended Public Protector (OB), adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

MPs will begin at around 14:00 in the Cape Town City Hall (where parliament is currently housed) to pass parliament’s s. 194 committee report on Mkhwebane to consider and debate.

A vote will then take place on the issue of whether the embattled OB should be removed from her post before her seven-year term expires on 14 October.

The support of two-thirds of MPs is needed to remove Mkhwebane: this means 267 MPs must vote in favor of the decision.

The vote follows after parliament’s art. 194 committee after a comprehensive investigation of almost two years found that Mkhwebane should be removed from her position on the basis of incompetence and misconduct as established by the evidence before the committee.

Siviwe Gwarube, DA chief whip, says the opposition party has maintained for seven years that Mkhwebane was not a suitable candidate to hold the office of OB in the first place.

“Today is not just a vote to remove the head of a chapter 9 institution for the first time, but a confirmation of the DA’s relentless commitment to the rule of law and to accountability.

“After years of opposition to this appointment, we look forward to closing this tumultuous chapter that will set a precedent for parliament on how an unfit head of a chapter 9 institution should be charged.”

Among other things, Gwarube refers to some of the most notable cases in which Mkhwebane has neglected her duties in the past seven years. This includes the attempt in 2017 when Mkhwebane as OB instructed parliament to nationalize the Reserve Bank and recommended an amendment to the Constitution. The Supreme Court set aside the recommendation.

Mkhwebane’s report on Absa was set aside in the same year after the Pretoria High Court found at the time that Mkhwebane acted beyond her powers, lied under oath and acted in bad faith.

Mkhwebane’s report on the controversial Estina dairy project on Peace in the Free State was also set aside in 2019.

RNews reported earlier that the art. 194 committee was set up on 16 March 2021 to conduct a constitutional investigation into Mkhwebane’s suitability to hold office.

The testimony of dozens of witnesses was heard during the investigation about the investigations that Mkhwebane conducted during her time as OB, reports that were reviewed and the culture in the office of the OB.

In the process, millions of rands were also paid for Mkhwebane’s legal representation during the trial.