After years of complaints, Public Protector Mkhwebane finally faces suspension
The suspension of Public Protection Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane seems finally in sight, according to reports that the President has asked her to provide reasons why he should not suspend her in the light of Parliament’s upcoming inquiry into her fitness to hold office.
OUTA asks why this has taken so long. It’s almost a case of too little too late, as Mkhwebane’s term expires in October next year. Most of her term has been controversial.
“Parliament should move faster to have her removed. Every day Advocate Mkhwebane remains in her current role is a day lost to meaningful protection of the public from the abuse of power in South Africa,” says Advocate Stefanie Fick, OUTA executive director.
In the face of all her blunders and the court judgments against her, the Public Protector should have done the honourable thing and stepped down, but has not. It is up to Parliament to move on its inquiry into her fitness to hold office and remove her.
Mkhwebane was appointed with effect from 15 October 2016 for a seven-year term.
Less than a year after her appointment she released her report on the Reserve Bank’s apartheid-era bailout of Bankorp, ordering Absa bank to pay back the R1.125bn bailout and the Reserve Bank to change its mandate. In February 2018 the court overturned this report, which became one of a number of judgments against her.
In June 2019, OUTA petitioned Parliament for an inquiry into Mkhwebane’s conduct and competence, in the light of the various court findings against her, and subsequently laid a criminal complaint against her.
Mkhwebane is currently facing perjury charges arising from a Constitutional Court judgment on her Bankorp report, and appeared in court over this during 2021.
On 10 June 2019, OUTA petitioned Parliament for Mkhwebane’s removal as Public Protector. This submission is here.
On 13 September 2019, OUTA sent an additional submission to Parliament support of our June 2019 petition; this submission is here.
In September 2021, the Pretoria High Court ordered Mkhwebane’s office to provide OUTA with records relating to her May 2019 report which exonerated former Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza (now Deputy President) from procurement irregularities on luxury vehicles purchased for his use. See here.
A soundclip with comment from OUTA’s Advocate Stefanie Fick is here.