Suspension of Public Protector long overdue

Years of complaints and adverse judgments finally result in suspension

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09/06/2022 16:57:58

 Suspension of Public Protector long overdue

OUTA welcomes the President’s suspension of Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane pending an inquiry by Parliament into her fitness to hold office.

“OUTA welcomes and support’s the President’s decision,” says Advocate Stefanie Fick, OUTA Executive Director.

OUTA believes she should have been suspended already. We believe her removal has no significant impact on her office’s investigations, including investigations against President.

“Advocate Mkhwebane failed in her constitutional duty to protect the public against corruption, failed to apply the law properly and cost taxpayers millions of rand defending her incompetence. The removal process is taking too long and her suspension is welcomed. She spent valuable resources on frivolous court cases, which could have been used to investigate cases and hire more personnel,” says Fick.

Her legal bills to defend her position have reportedly cost South Africans R67 million in two years.

“Various courts, including the Constitutional Court, not just disagreed with her but lambasted her for being incompetent. The Public Protector is a Chapter 9 institution with the obligation to protect the ‘little guy’ against the State and she failed miserably to uphold her constitutional duties,” says Fick.

“She is not only the Public Protector, she is also an officer of the court, who is facing perjury charges. Parliament must as a matter of urgency conclude the removal process. They have all the ammunition they could possibly need.”

OUTA has campaigned for three years for Mkhwebane to be removed from her position due to lack of competence.

In June 2019, OUTA petitioned Parliament for an inquiry into Mkhwebane’s conduct and competence, in the light of the various court findings against her, and subsequently laid a criminal complaint against her. In September 2019, OUTA sent an additional submission to Parliament support of our June 2019 petition. In August 2019, OUTA laid a criminal complaint with the SAPS against Mkhwebane.

Mhkwebane was appointed with effect from October 2016 for seven years and has served most of her term despite years of complaints against her and adverse court findings against her reports. Her term ends in October 2023.

More information

A soundclip with comment by OUTA's Advocate Stefanie Fick is here.

More information on OUTA’s calls for Mkhwebane’s removal is here.  

Picture: GroundUp