JOHANNESBURG, South Africa’s opposition political parties are calling for Public Protector (Ombudsman) Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s head and want her to be held personally liable for legal costs of a review application to challenge her remedial action involving the central bank and Parliament.
This follows her announcement that she would not oppose the application by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and Parliament to set aside her remedial action which instructed Parliament to amend the Constitution in order to change the mandate of the SARB.
The leading opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) have accused Mkhwebane of gross incompetence, saying she is not fit for office.
The EFF has called for Mkhwebane to step down following her acknowledgement that she was wrong in her earlier decision. The party accused Mkhwebane of incompetence and EFF National Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said Tuesday that Mkhwebane’s legal blunder, for which she has apologised, demonstrates that she is not fit to hold office.
At its core, this is not so much about the costs; it is that she has demonstrated that she is not fit to hold office. She is not different from (National Assembly Speaker) Baleka Mbete, (President) Jacob Zuma, who in their own way of doing things always violate the Constitution until somebody takes them to court,” he added.
“So, had nobody taken her to court she would have marshalled the entire country into a wrong direction of violating the Constitution. So, she must do the honourable thing and step down. What she misunderstood is too basic … it is too basic knowledge.
Mkhwebane has conceded that she made a blunder saying her office will pay the legal costs of the review application.
However, the UDM says this is not enough and wants Mkhwebane to be held personally liable for the legal costs.
UDM Chief Whip Nqabayomzi Nkwankwa said: The legal costs for a mistake are very costly for the taxpayers, especially at a time when the economy is technically in a recession. These people make these mistakes because they are incompetent. They must pay the costs out of their pockets. We must make that very clear. Otherwise, we need someone else who is competent and who understands to discharge the mandate of that office.
DA Spokesperson on Justice and Constitutional Development Glynnis Breytenbach supported the views of other parties for the Public Protector to vacate her office. She said the latest blunder by Mkhwebane vindicated the DA’s position that she was not the right candidate for the job.
And now she says she made a mistake, she wants to withdraw the opposing application.She will pay the costs. It is the taxpayer’s money that she says she’s going to pay. So, it is very wrong to litigate on behalf of nother people’s money. She must pay herself.
The ACDP has threatened to ask Parliament to institute a formal inquiry into her fitness to hold office should she commit another legal blunder.
ACDP Member of Parliament Steve Swart said: I think she should, or Parliament should, make sure that she is mindful of the decision she has taken considering the far-reaching consequences of her (proposed) remedial action. Should it become necessary then obviously Parliament may have to institute an enquiry into her fitness to hold office. Remember, it is Parliament that appointed her into this office.
However, the Office of the Public Protector has rejected calls for Mkhwebane to step down. Its spokesperson, Cleo Mosana, said: The Public Protector has discharged her Constitutional mandate appropriately, and the issue we are dealing with here is the issue which was informed by the considerations in terms of the law, and to the outcomes. How is this going to be, rests upon the court to decide on the interpretation and there is nothing wrong that the Public Protector has done and there is no reason for anyone to be calling for her resignation.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK