Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, lashed by MPs

PARLIAMENT – Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Wednesday failed to pitch up for a briefing to Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice due to a “family emergency”.

But Members of Parliament (MPs) were not happy with the eleventh-hour cancellation or the fact that she did not send her deputy to account.

Mkhwebane was meant to answer questions about allegations she made appointments to her office outside the dictates of the Public Finance Management Act.

Democratic Alliance MP Werner Horn said the fact that she sent a letter to the committee late on Tuesday, instead of calling the committee, was an indication she held Parliament in contempt.

“I don’t think it would be an embellishment to say this public protector has gone rogue,” Horn added.

Mkhwebane proposed other dates later in June or early July.

But legislators want her to appear before the committee next week.

“We need to agree that the public protector’s office appears before this committee next week and a thorough explanation [be] given [as to] why the public protector didn’t make the necessary arrangements for today’s meeting,” African National Congress MP Madipoane Mothapo said.

Committee chairperson Mathole Motshekga said Mkhwebane would be asked to attend next week’s meeting to explain her actions.

“It’s a rule of natural justice that you hear the other side before you judge. We cannot say it is contempt of this committee or neglect… We need a full explanation, so we must write to the public protector to find out why she has not appeared before this committee,” Motshekga added.

He said Mkhwebane would be called to explain her action during a meeting next Wednesday.

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