Public protector defends no-show in parliament

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane
Image: Supplied

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s failure to attend a parliamentary meeting yesterday morning seems to have strengthened the resolve of MPs to have her removed from office.

Mkhwebane was scheduled to appear before the justice oversight committee to explain a policy on the appointment of a special adviser to her office.

But now in her next appearance‚ she will not only be explaining that policy‚ but will have to give reasons for pulling out of yesterday’s meeting‚ and reasons for not sending her deputy, Kevin Malunga, or other officials to stand in for her.

MPs will also use the occasion to discuss a proposal to remove her from office and they want her to be present when such a discussion takes place.

Mkhwebane cited a “family emergency”‚ which she said she had tried in vain to rearrange.

The public protector had also failed to forward to the committee copies of her presentation or a list of officials who would have been part of her delegation had she attended the meeting.
This failure to submit documents and list‚ a practice she has previously performed‚ raised questions with MPs who claimed it was an indication that she had had no intention of attending the meeting.

The DA’s Glynnis Breytenbach called on other parties to seriously consider Mkhwebane’s removal.

Mkhwebane said yesterday that she had had every intention of attending the meeting until those plans were scuppered by a last-minute family emergency.

“However‚ due to the unforeseen family emergency she was forced to make a late cancellation of her intended attendance and rendered an apology to the committee‚” her spokesman Oupa Segalwe said.

She also addressed comments from committee members that she should have sent another official to fill in for her.

“[Mkhwebane] was of the view that the agenda items required her personal attendance.

“Advocate Mkhwebane hereby assures all concerned about her recognition of and the respect she accords the National Assembly as the authority to which she is accountable in terms of Section 181(5) of the Constitution.” – TimesLIVE