Parliament, Monday, 11 September 2023–Today, the National Assembly (NA) adopted the report of the Committee for Section 194 Enquiry, which recommended the removal of Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane from her position as the Public Protector based on its findings that she had misconducted herself and is incompetent. A total of 318 Members voted for the removal of Adv Mkhwebane from office while 43 voted against and one (1) abstained.

In March of last year, the NA established the Committee for Section 194 Enquiry in accordance with NA Rule 129 and Section 194(1)(b) of the Constitution. The Committee is the largest in the NA and consists of members representing every party in the NA.

In December 2019, the Chief Whip of the Official Opposition submitted a motion in the NA to begin the process of removing Advocate Mkhwebane from her position. The motion, which was ruled in order by the former Speaker of the NA , Ms Thandi Modise was referred to an Independent Panel established by her to conduct a preliminary assessment. The Speaker wrote to political parties represented in Parliament, calling for nominations for the Panel. The three-member panel, consisting of Justice Bess Nkabinde (chairperson), Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC, and Advocate J De Waal SC, submitted its report in February 2021 in which it found that there was prima facie evidence that Adv Mkwhebane had misconducted herself and was incompetent as alleged in the motion.

The NA adopted the report of the Panel and agreed to refer the motion to the Committee to conduct an Enquiry into the charges contained therein. The Committee invited the public to submit evidence in May 2022 before commencing with its hearings on July 11 of last year.

The Committee appointed Advocates Nazreen Bawa, SC and Ncumisa Mayosi as evidence leaders to assist the Committee. The Committee heard oral evidence from 24 witnesses, who were also cross examined by Adv Mkhwebane’s legal representatives. The Committee further received a two part written statement from Adv Mkwhebane in response to the Motion. Adv Mkhwebane, however, did not respond to written questions from Members or the evidence leaders. Last month, the Committee adopted its draft report which was sent to Adv Mkwhebane for comment before it was finally adopted and tabled in the NA for consideration.

The resolution of the National Assembly will be referred to the President of the Republic for the removal of the Public Protector Adv Mkwhebane from office in accordance with the provisions of section 194 (93) (b) of the Constitution.

Media Enquiries – Moloto Mothapo