JOHANNESBURG – Counsel for the Speaker of the National Assembly and the chairperson of the Section 194 committee dealing with Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s impeachment proceedings are fighting another bid from her to halt the process.
The Democratic Alliance and President Cyril Ramaphosa are in the Constitutional Court on Thursday, to try and overturn the Western Cape High Court’s September order declaring her suspension invalid and setting it aside.
Mkhwebane is opposing the appeals and also brought a conditional cross-appeal in which she attacked the legality of the proceedings under way in Parliament.
The Speaker and the committee chair are opposing this.
In the High Court, the Public Protector argued the National Assembly’s sub judice rule which barred members from reflecting “upon the merits of any matter on which a judicial decision in a court of law is pending” should have stayed the parliamentary process under way to unseat her.
The High Court found against her on this though and Advocate Andrew Breitenbach, for the Speaker and the committee chair, argued that it got it right.
He said the committee wasn’t reflecting on the substantive strengths or weaknesses of the issues in question in any of the litigation but rather whether Mkhwebane had committed misconduct or was incompetent.
The High Court also found against Mkhwebane in her bid to have it order the committee amend its rules in accordance with a previous judgment which declared one of them unconstitutional before it could proceed.
Again, she now wants the Constitutional Court to reconsider this. On this point, Breitenbach argued, as the High Court found the judgment which declared the rule in question unconstitutional, included a reading which remedied the defect.