The committee of inquiry into the suspended Public Protector, adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s finding is that she has been guilty of misconduct, and is therefore ineligible to hold her position.
Parliament’s art. 194 committee completed its investigation this past weekend and contained its findings in a draft report.
After the committee deliberated on the various charges against Mkhwebane, committee members came to the conclusion that they want to conduct another investigation into how she obtained a classified report from the Inspector General of Intelligence.
According to committee chairman Qubudile Dyantyi, the case regarding the illegal possession of the classified report has been referred to the State Security Agency for further investigation.
Mkhwebane had earlier argued that the report was submitted anonymously to her office, but the committee rejected this explanation.
“The committee members found that the classified report was illegally received and read through and that it amounts to misconduct,” says Dyantyi.
In March 2021, charges of misconduct and incompetence were brought against Mkhwebane over four of the investigations she handled as OB –
- her investigation into the South African Reserve Bank and her recommendations that the Constitution should be changed to amend the mandate of the Reserve Bank;
- her report on the Peace dairy project which was not done properly;
- her findings about the so-called “rogue” unit in the South African Revenue Service (SARS); and
- her wrong ruling on money laundering in the CR17 campaign inquiry.
The committee agreed on Sunday that they will uphold the charges of misconduct and incompetence against Mkhwebane.
As regards these charges, the committee found that Mkhwebane approached the investigation into the so-called “rogue” unit in SARS with a “predetermined outcome” and that she was not “impartial”. So she made biased decisions regarding the matter.
Regarding the CR17 campaign investigation, the committee concluded that Mkhwebane did not conduct the investigation in a manner that ensured “impartial or independent conduct of the investigation”. Committee members pointed out that Mkhwebane relied on the “wrong code of ethics to reach a finding”.
The committee also found, among other things, that Mkhwebane “harassed, victimized or intimidated” certain staff members or allowed Vussy Mahlangu, former chief executive of the OB’s office, to do so.
It was also found that Mkhwebane mismanaged the resources of the OB’s office and that she demonstrated her incompetence in her management of personnel.
Furthermore, the committee found that Mkhwebane squandered money for her office’s legal fees.
According to Dyantyi, the findings made this past weekend will be contained in a draft report. It will then be sent to Mkhwebane for her written input.
“We will give the OB a chance to respond to it before the final report is accepted and sent to the National Assembly.”
Dyantyi says the expectation is that the final report will be signed by Friday or even in a week.