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Modise receives panel's report on Mkhwebane's removal - but recommendation still under wraps

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Modise receives panel's report on Mkhwebane's removal - but recommendation still under wraps

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane

26th February 2021

By: News24Wire

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Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise has received a report from an independent panel that had to determine whether there is a prima facie case for advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane's removal as Public Protector.

However, the panel's recommendation would remain under wraps until next week.

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Modise appointed Justice Bess Nkabinde, advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC and advocate Johan de Waal SC in November last year to the panel.

"Owing to the specific nature of the matter, however, the panel requested that the 30-day period be extended. On 4 December 2020, the Speaker invoked relevant provisions of the Rules, which enabled her to frame a rule to extend the deadline to 90 days," reads a statement from Parliament's spokesperson Moloto Mothapo.

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"The panel has since completed its work and submitted its report to the Speaker. The Speaker expressed her appreciation to the panellists for their dedicated service. The report will be made available in the week of 1 March 2021."

The panel had to conduct a preliminary inquiry and assess whether there was prima facie evidence to show that Mkhwebane was guilty of misconduct; was incapacitated; or was incompetent.

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This is part of a parliamentary removal process that got underway last year after Democratic Alliance chief whip Natasha Mazzone lodged a motion to institute removal proceedings against Mkhwebane with Modise.

Mkhwebane unsuccessfully attempted to obtain a court interdict to halt the process, pending her challenge of the rules the National Assembly adopted for such a process - often called impeachment, even though the word isn't used in South African legislation.

The next step in the process is for the Speaker to schedule for the National Assembly to consider the panel's recommendations.

If the panel recommends that there is a prima facie case for Mkhwebane's removal, and the National Assembly adopts this position, the matter must be referred and President Cyril Ramaphosa must be informed.

The committee must then conduct an inquiry, and Mkhwebane would have the right to be heard by the committee. The committee must compile a report with findings and recommendations, which would be put to the National Assembly.

If the report recommends Mkhwebane's removal and is supported by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly, Ramaphosa must remove her.  

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