Parliament, Tuesday, 11 July 2023 – The Chairperson of the Committee for Section 194 Enquiry into Public Protector (PP) Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office has noted that Adv Mkhwebane has not indicated whether she will be making any final closing arguments pertaining to the allegations in the motion before the committee.

Committee Chairperson, Mr Qubudile Dyantyi, said up to this point, Adv Mkhwebane has failed to meet any of the deadlines that are stipulated in the new path that the committee was forced to take so as to fulfil its constitutional mandate and finalise its work.

According to the new timetable, the PP had to submit written notice to the committee secretariat indicating if she will make a closing statement and the format in which it will be made by no later than Friday, 7 July. Once again, the committee provided an opportunity to the PP to explain her version of the allegations before it, but she failed to respond.

This is not the first deadline missed by Adv Mkhwebane since the committee was forced to forge a new path after various challenges and delays arose in relation to the PP’s legal assistance, even though the PPSA made another R4 million available in additional funds and the PP was granted permission to retain all three of her counsel at increased fees.

Last week Adv Mkhwebane also ignored the deadline to respond to written questions posed by Members and evidence leaders. She was also due to notify the committee by Monday, 19 June 2023, whether she would be responding to questions in writing or orally. She was granted another opportunity, until 22 June, to submit any additional affidavits or documentation in support of Part B of her statement or in relation to the evidence leaders’ presentation to the committee on Part A of her statement to the extent that there is a part that was not addressed in her oral evidence or written statement.

Adv Mkhwebane did not meet the deadline of 19 June and did not submit any additional information for the committee’s consideration. On 25 June 2023, two sets of questions – one by Members of the committee and one by evidence leaders – were sent to Chaane Attorneys, Adv Mkhwebane’s attorneys of record. This due date was also not adhered to.

Mr Dyantyi emphasized that the deadlines set by the committee will not be extended any further. He said: “We remain at the 28 July as our deadline for the consideration of the draft report for its adoption. In fact, to the contrary, her continued non-response to questions and deadlines means that we may produce a report much sooner than initially planned date because there would be no reason for the Chairperson not to direct evidence leader to do the summation earlier than planned or to convene a committee meeting earlier than 28 July if this is practical.”

The committee was established on 16 March 2021 to conduct a constitutional enquiry into the PP’s fitness to hold office. The timelines on the way forward are available on request. The committee is expected to finalise its work on 28 July 2023. Committee documents can be found at Committee for Section 194 Enquiry - Parliament of South Africa


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