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Panel to consider Mkhwebane's removal unlikely to start work this year

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Panel to consider Mkhwebane's removal unlikely to start work this year

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkwhebane

26th November 2020

By: News24Wire

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The independent panel which, will determine whether there is a prima facie case for Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's removal, will probably only start its work next year.

On Wednesday, National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise announced in a statement that former Constitutional Court Judge Bess Nkabinde would chair the panel, which also includes advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, SC, and advocate Johan De Waal, SC.

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Parliament indicated that Modise would later announce the date on which the panel will start its work. Once the panel starts its work, it has 30 days to compile a report with recommendations to the National Assembly.

At Thursday's meeting of the National Assembly Programming Committee, Democratic Alliance (DA) chief whip Natasha Mazzone, who brought the motion to institute removal proceedings against Mkhwebane, said she was "very pleased" that Modise had appointed the panel.

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She asked for an indication when the panel will start its work. She said it is highly unlikely that it will be this year, as it will soon be the holiday season and Parliament will rise after next week.

She said it was a "matter of national importance and of national urgency".

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Secretary to the National Assembly, Masibulele Xaso, said there wasn't a date for the panel to start at the moment, and that they were still tending to some "preliminary issues", including contracts.

He said Modise would announce the date soon. He agreed with Mazzone that it would be difficult for the panel to "stop and start" over the holiday season.

In a statement released shortly after the meeting, Mazzone said the DA welcomed the appointment of the panel.

"This has been months in the making, thanks to the unrelenting pressure from the DA. We hope that the panel will waste no time in beginning its work as these proceedings are a matter of national importance," she said.

"The DA is pleased that Parliament is now another step closer to holding Mkhwebane to account, despite numerous attempts by her to delay, frustrate and invalidate a legitimate parliamentary process to remove her.

"In the interest of accountability and respect of State institutions, the Office of the Public Protector must and should continue to be the vanguard that protects the interests of the vulnerable, something which is a rare sight under Mkhwebane's leadership."

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