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Motion on Removal of Public Protector on Track

February 11, 2020

Parliament

Political parties have until 12 February 2020 to nominate candidates to serve on the panel to assess the motion on the removal from office of the Public Protector.

In a statement, the speaker of parliament confirmed that the extension followed requests to allow political parties represented in the national assembly more time to submit nominees.

The Democratic Alliance had earlier submitted a motion requesting that parliament initiate proceedings for the removal of Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

The national assembly adopted Rules for the removal of the head of a Chapter 9 institution at the end of last year.

According to the Rules, once a motion to remove the head of a Chapter 9 institution has been put forward and accepted by the speaker of parliament, an independent panel must be set up to undertake a preliminary assessment.

The Rules stipulate that the panel will then have 30 days to “conduct and finalise a preliminary assessment on the motion proposing a section 194 inquiry and make a recommendation to the Speaker”.

If the panel gives the green light to the motion, then a committee will be established to hold an inquiry.

As regards the papers served on her by legal representatives of Advocate Mkhwebane seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the Rules, the speaker confirmed that she will “oppose the application in defence of Parliament’s powers, as provided for in the Constitution”.

The statement also clarifies that the process to set up a panel will continue.

Meanwhile, the justice and constitutional development department has called for persons to make known their interest in being considered for appointment as the acting Solicitor-General.

The appointee will serve for a maximum of 24 months.

The call follows the coming into effect of the State Attorney Amendment Act of 2014 on 7 February 2020.

The act aims to amend the State Attorney Act, 1957, so as to:

• provide for the establishment of offices of State Attorney;
• provide for the appointment of a Solicitor-General and State Attorneys;
• provide for the powers of the Minister relating to the functions of the offices of State Attorney;
• provide for the powers and functions of the Solicitor-General; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

The act stipulates that the “Solicitor-General is the executive officer of all offices of State Attorney and must exercise control, direction and supervision over all these offices”.

Expressions of interest are invited until 14 February 2020.