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Mkhwebane’s impeachment: impact on office of the public protector

Sameera Casmod | sameerac@radioislam.co.za
12 September 2023 | 08:15am SAST
1-min read

Picture: SABC News

Johannesburg- In an interview on Radio Islam International, Tessa Dooms, a political analyst and the director of programs at the Rivonia Circle, shared her insights into the impeachment of former South African Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

According to reports, Mkhwebane’s impeachment was inevitable, and a “Stalingrad approach” was taken by her legal team as an attempt to delay the impeachment proceedings.

Dooms spoke about the implications of the matter. She noted that Mkhwebane’s ten-year term, originally set to end in October, would now be cut short. She pointed out that the intersection of politics and bureaucracy was a significant factor in the challenges faced by South Africa’s governance system. The politicisation of the bureaucracy, Dooms argued, contributed to the situation that led to Mkhwebane’s impeachment.

Addressing Mkhwebane’s options after her removal from office, Dooms stressed the complexity of the situation. She highlighted the need to differentiate between issues of competence in judgments and management. Much of the impeachment proceedings, Dooms pointed out, centred around management issues within the Public Protector’s office rather than the judgments she had made. She also noted that Mkhwebane’s perspective had not been adequately heard during the process, which could be a crucial element in her legal recourse.

The interview then turned to the political dynamics surrounding the impeachment vote in parliament, with 318 votes in favour and 43 against. Dooms commented on the reasons behind some parties’ opposition to Mkhwebane’s removal. The DA’s rationale, according to Dooms, raised concerns about the Public Protector’s proximity to security agencies and the potential for political collusion. However, she expressed disappointment that the politics of the day seemed to overshadow the merits of the case, with many parties grandstanding for political purposes.

Regarding the future of the Public Protector’s office, Dooms raised concerns about the potential politicisation of the role. She expressed hope that the incoming Public Protector will avoid becoming entangled in the ANC’s internal politics, emphasising the importance of maintaining transparency and accountability, especially in handling high-profile cases.

In conclusion, Dooms underlined the need for the Public Protector’s office to remain impartial and avoid becoming a political pawn. She cautioned against the office being used for political campaigning and stressed the importance of open, transparent, and accountable governance.

Listen to the full interview on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat here.

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