Panel finds prima facie evidence of Mkhwebane’s ‘incompetence and misconduct’

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

  • There is prima facie evidence of incompetence and misconduct towards Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, an impartial panel discovered.
  • The panel recommends that the National Assembly continues with an inquiry into her health for office.
  • The National Assembly must first take into account the panel’s report.

An impartial panel discovered there was prima facie evidence of incompetence and misconduct on the half of advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

The panel really helpful that Parliament proceeded with an inquiry to find out whether or not she must be eliminated as Public Protector.

In November, Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, appointed Justice Bess Nkabinde, advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza and advocate Johan de Waal to the panel.

Their report was launched on Monday.

READ | Panel recommends Parliament institute removing proceedings towards Busiswe Mkhwebane

The panel thought-about data such because the movement to institute removing proceedings by DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone, fees most well-liked towards Mkhwebane, quite a few experiences, pleadings filed in litigation in varied courts towards and by her, judgments, and Mkhwebane’s written response to the panel.

“The findings, following the preliminary assessment, are that there is substantial information that constitutes prima facie evidence of incompetence,” reads a press release from Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo.

Examples of such incompetence are:

  • the prima facie evidence demonstrating Mkhwebane’s overreach and exceeding the bounds of her powers in phrases of the Constitution and the Public Protector Act;
  • repeated errors of the identical variety, reminiscent of incorrect interpretation of the regulation and different patent authorized errors;
  • failure to offer audi (proper to be heard) to the affected individuals;
  • incorrect factual evaluation; and
  • sustained lack of information to hold out duties or lack of ability or talent to carry out the duties successfully and effectively as required by the Constitution.

“According to the panel, these instances, cumulatively assessed, meet the threshold of prima facie evidence of sustained incompetence.

“The panel additionally discovered that there’s ample data that constitutes prima facie evidence of misconduct.”

The examples of misconduct are:

  • Mkhwebane’s failure to reveal that she had meetings with the former president of the Republic and the State Security Agency;
  • to honour an agreement with the SARB, thereby displaying non-compliance with a high standard of professional ethics as required by the Constitution and to investigate the third complaint regarding the alleged involvement of certain politicians in the Vrede Dairy Project;
  • her alleged modification of the final report and providing untruthful explanation to a review court as to why that was done, as well as her patently wrong findings on money laundering in the CR17 Campaign matter, and her unexplained doubting of the bona fides of the president (the latter found to constitute prima facie evidence of both incompetence and misconduct).

As such, the panel recommends that the charges, based on the findings of prima facie evidence of incompetence and misconduct, be referred to a committee of the National Assembly to investigate.

The rules require Modise to schedule the recommendations for a decision by the National Assembly.

If the House decides the inquiry should go ahead, it must be referred to a special section 194 committee, for a formal inquiry.

Modise must inform the president of any action or decision emanating from the recommendations.

The process first got underway in December 2019, when Mazzone lodged her motion with Modise days after the National Assembly adopted rules for the removal of the head of a Chapter 9 institution. Mazzone, in early 2020, withdrew her initial motion and replaced it with one bearing more evidence.

ALSO READ | Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane confident she will be cleared in perjury case

On Monday, Mazzone welcomed the panel’s finding and urged Parliament to proceed without delay.

“The DA believes that it’s of the utmost significance that Mkhwebane is eliminated as Public Protector and that somebody competent, credible and impartial is appointed on this submit to regain the general public’s belief on this essential Chapter 9 establishment – and to make sure that as soon as once more the pursuits of the susceptible can be protected above the pursuits of the politically linked,” Mazzone stated in a press release.

The course of acquired interrupted when Parliament needed to grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Mkhwebane unsuccessfully tried to acquire a court docket interdict to halt the method, pending her problem to the principles the National Assembly adopted for such a course of.

The pending case doesn’t stop Parliament from continuing with its course of.

News24 approached the Office of the Public Protector for remark, which shall be reported as soon as acquired. 

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