National Newz/12 September 2023,07:24am/ Mandla Nkosi
Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane: image supplied
By Mandla Nkosi: In a historic decision, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, the Public Protector of South Africa, has been officially removed from office following a majority vote by Members of Parliament (MPs) in the National Assembly. On Monday, 318 MPs voted in favor of her impeachment, while only 43 voted against, and one MP abstained.
The impeachment process was initiated after a Section 194 inquiry into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office, which had been ongoing for over 14 months. The inquiry found Mkhwebane guilty of both misconduct and incompetence, leading to the recommendation for her removal.
The decision was announced by Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who stated, “The result of the division is as follows: Yes 318, No 43, and abstention, one. The question is agreed to and Advocate Mkhwebane is accordingly removed from the office of the Public Protector according to the recommendation of this House.”
Mkhwebane’s removal marks a significant development in South Africa’s political landscape. As the Public Protector, she was entrusted with the responsibility of investigating and remedying improper conduct within the government and public entities. However, her tenure was marred by controversy and allegations of bias and incompetence.
Critics accused Mkhwebane of pursuing politically motivated investigations and making questionable findings. Her handling of high-profile cases, including those involving former President Jacob Zuma and other prominent politicians, drew widespread criticism and eroded public confidence in her office.
The Section 194 inquiry was established to assess these allegations and determine whether Mkhwebane’s actions warranted her removal. The inquiry’s conclusion, which found her guilty of misconduct and incompetence, provided a compelling case for her impeachment.
The removal of the Public Protector requires a two-thirds majority vote in the National Assembly, highlighting the significance of the decision reached by MPs. It demonstrates a commitment to upholding the integrity and credibility of public institutions and sends a strong message that those entrusted with public office must be held accountable for their actions.
With Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s removal from office, the process to appoint a new Public Protector will likely commence soon. The appointment of a competent and impartial successor will be crucial in restoring public trust in the office and ensuring the effective functioning of the Public Protector’s mandate.
As South Africa moves forward, the impeachment of Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane serves as a reminder of the importance of transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct within the country’s public institutions. It reaffirms the nation’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of governance and ensuring that those in positions of power are held to account for their actions.