In a historic move, the National Assembly has voted to remove suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane from her position, marking her as the first individual to be removed from this role since the inception of the position.
Majority Vote in National Assembly
On Monday, the National Assembly reached a consensus with a significant majority, voting 318 in favour of her removal against 43 who opposed the motion. This decision comes after a meticulous impeachment process where allegations of misconduct and incompetence were brought to the fore.
Charges and Controversies
Mkhwebane faced scrutiny over four charges pertaining to her conduct in politically sensitive investigations. These investigations encompassed high-profile cases including matters involving the South African Reserve Bank, the Vrede dairy farm scam, the South African Revenue Service, and the CR17/Bosasa issue.
The journey to this point has been marked by diverging opinions from various political parties, with some rallying support for her removal, while others staunchly opposed it.
Future Legal Steps
Despite facing this setback, Mkhwebane has expressed her determination to challenge the committee’s report through a judicial review. This move indicates that she is gearing up for a legal battle that seeks to scrutinize the grounds of her removal.
“Despite the lengthy and costly legal battle, Mkhwebane has indicated her intention to challenge the committee’s report through judicial review.”
Implications for Mkhwebane
Mkhwebane commenced her term as the Public Protector in 2016, a term that was initially set to end in October 2023. With her tenure cut short, questions arise regarding the financial implications for Mkhwebane. Reports suggest that she could have been eligible for a gratuity amounting to approximately R10 million had she completed her term.
As the nation watches, the discourse now moves to what lies ahead not just for Mkhwebane, but for the office of the Public Protector. This development indeed marks a significant chapter in South Africa’s democratic landscape, with many awaiting to see how this will shape the role and function of the Public Protector in the coming times. It also opens up a space for reflection on the standards and expectations set for individuals holding such a pivotal role in the nation’s governance structure.