Mkhwebane impeachment inquiry: MPs divided over recusal of chair

CAPE TOWN – There was a heated debate in Parliament on Friday over whether the chairperson of the Public Protector’s impeachment inquiry, Richard Dyantyi, should recuse himself.

Parties were divided on how the committee should proceed with the application received by the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Wednesday.

Mkhwebane also wants the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Kevin Mileham to recuse himself.

While the African National Congress, DA and African Christian Democratic Party don’t believe Dyantyi should go, the Economic Freedom Fighters want to see him gone.

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The Section 194 committee probing Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office has taken legal advice from Parliament over how to proceed with yet another unprecedented situation.

Parliamentary legal advisor Fatima Ebrahim said that the rules were silent in respect of recusal, but that the decision should probably come from the chairperson himself.

“Procedure in respect of a chairperson does not provide for the procedure for the removal of a chairperson on the basis of bias or any grounds, to the parliamentary rules have a lacuna as far as that’s concerned.”

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Parties such as the United Democratic Movement (UDM), the Good Party and the African Transformation Movement said the committee should also take independent, external legal advice on how they should proceed.

The UDM’s Bantu Holomisa: “So that we don’t make a mistake or play into the hands of those who might be happy to take us to court.”

Meanwhile, Good Member of Parliament, Brett Herron said: “The chairperson and honourable Mileham should make a decision from themselves as to whether theyr’e able to approach this with an open mind or whether they have brought bias into this process.”

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Discussions continue on the committee’s next steps.

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