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Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane Dismissed from Office: A First in South African History

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

An era in South Africa’s political history came to an end on Monday as the suspended Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, was voted out of office. Assembled in Cape Town City Hall, Members of Parliament cast their decision via a 2pm roll call. Representatives from fourteen political parties, including the ANC, DA, and EFF, expressed their perspectives on the matter.

Sealing Mkhwebane’s fate, 318 of the 400 MPs gave their nod to Parliament's Section 194 Committee report advocating for her departure, with a dissenting minority of 43 voting against. Cope's Mosiuoa Lekota refrained from casting a vote, while ANC MP Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was conspicuously absent.

DA MP Siviwe Gwarube emphasized that Mkhwebane's dismissal should serve as a light bulb moment for the institution, underlining the necessity for always selecting fit-for-purpose candidates. She expressed that Mkhwebane's successor, due to be announced next Thursday, should be a competent candidate.

In her defence, EFF Treasurer General Omphile Maotwe struck out, alleging the move to be a political witch hunt by the DA and ANC aimed at defending President Cyril Ramaphosa. Likewise, UDM Leader Bantu Holomisa decried the decision, suggesting Mkhwebane was singled out as she "hit a raw nerve" with a contentious 2019 report.

ANC Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina, on the other hand, warned ANC members of repercussions for not toeing the party line, which supported Mkhwebane’s removal.

Amid heated debates and polarized views, Mkhwebane thus became the first public protector removed from a Chapter 9 institution, earmarking a significant moment for the Republic of South Africa.

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