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Mkhwebane failed the public

The Public Protector (PP), Busisiwe Mkhwebane, failed the public and was more concerned about her own interests than protecting the public.

The process to remove her from office was the first of its kind since 1994 where an attempt was made to get rid of the chairperson of a Chapter 9 Institution.

Chapter 9 Institutions play an important role in protecting the public by acting as watchdog over state institutions. In this way, the democracy itself is protected.

The parliamentary process carried out by the appointed Section 194 Committee to investigate the PP’s competency over the past eighteen months was also the most comprehensive, thorough and fair of its kind since 1994.

The Committee’s report on the investigation covers 404 pages.

Right from the start of the investigation, the PP and her legal team’s strategy was clear to me: to draw the investigation out for as long as possible so as to undermine the process. And that is exactly what happened.

Her senior legal representative, Adv Dali Mpofu, vehemently denied this. But after eighteen months and at least R36 million in legal costs, no-one can deny that I was right.

Another strategy was to portray the PP as the vulnerable and innocent victim of a conspiracy. In the process, millions and millions of taxpayers’ money was squandered – while they are precisely the people who she was supposed to protect.

No ordinary citizen has the privilege of trying to justify their incompetence in this way using tax money.

To add insult to injury for the public, Mpofu referred to the R13,1 million which he had already received by 2022 as small change – “peanuts”. All while approximately 60% of the country’s youth is unemployed and starving.

The Constitution clearly stipulates that the PP can only be removed in the case of misconduct, incapacity or incompetence. The Committee highlighted numerous examples of misconduct and incompetence.

The Constitutional Court had also found in the Reserve Bank case that Mkhwebane’s investigation into the matter was flawed and not up to the standard expected of the PP’s Office.

The excuse that she must be replaced because she ruled against government also does not hold up. The former PP also did that, but she was competent and it was, therefore, not necessary to remover her.

There is no other choice but to get rid of Mkhwebane. The public’s faith in the Office of the PP must be restored.

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