South Africa: Parliament's Impeachment Inquiry Into Public Protector 'The Ultimate Accountability Mechanism - and in the Public Interest'

Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane (file photo).
analysis

The parliamentary inquiry into Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's removal from office must go ahead because the public interest of holding her to account outweighs any possible harm, went Thursday's legal argument against Mkhwebane's application to interdict Parliament.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's advocate Dali Mpofu has argued for an interdict to stop Parliament's impeachment inquiry until the court decides whether the rules are constitutional and valid.

That hearing on Parliament's rule, "Removal of Office Bearers in Institutions Supporting Constitutional Democracy", has now been scheduled for 24 to 26 November 2020, the Western Cape High Court heard on Thursday. The date is still to be confirmed by Judge President John Hlophe.

While Parliament is not opposed to a hearing on its rules, it wants the inquiry to go ahead. Or as National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise put it in her court papers"

"... (E)ven if adv Mkhwebane will suffer the imminent and irreparable harm on which she relies (in her interdict application), it will be far outweighed by the serious prejudice to the separation of powers and the public interest in the timeous conclusion of the section 194 process that will ensue if the interim interdict she seeks is granted."

Modise's advocate...

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