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LETTER: Public Protector must face the music — now

Busiswe Mkhwebane’s litigation to ward off or delay the long overdue proceedings for her removal from office offends the basic tenets of the rule of law

21 APRIL 2022 – 14:19

Public Protector Busiswe Mkhwebane has taken to shooting herself in both feet. Her complaint to the Judicial Service Commission regarding the strongly worded judgment of the majority of the Constitutional Court against her, penned by retired Justice Chris Jafta, is so wide of the mark, misconceived and inappropriate that it can best be regarded as a stratagem in a scheme of delaying tactics rather than as a serious complaint.

Her litigation to ward off or delay the long overdue proceedings for her removal from office offends the basic tenets of the rule of law. Finality in litigation ought to be achieved when the highest court in the land has ruled on a matter. While a tenuous procedural right to claim rescission of the final ruling of that court exists, it ought not, in the public interest, hold up the proceedings required by the constitution. The National Assembly has a duty to act diligently and without delay when any Public Protector goes rogue. There is ample evidence that the music needs to be faced without delay and that dilatory skirmishing should not be countenanced by the courts.

It is worth noting that as long ago as January 2017 Accountability Now asked the justice portfolio committee to get answers to 13 questions posed to the then newly appointed Public Protector, answers to which would reveal her competence, probity, integrity, and fitness for office. As her oversight body, the committee is empowered to exact accountability. To date it has not done so even though the Public Protector admits that she is accountable to parliament. It is not too late to ask her to answer the questions she has been ducking. Her answers are bound to be revealing.

Paul Hoffman, SC
Director, Accountability Now

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