The Western Cape High Court has dismissed with costs public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s urgent bid to halt the parliamentary process that could see her impeached, paving the way for an inquiry into her fitness to hold office to proceed.
Judge Vincent Saldanha, on behalf of three judges, on Friday morning ruled that Mkhwebane had failed to make a proper case for why National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise should be interdicted from pursuing the 17-step process that parliament has developed to deal with the impeachment of a Chapter 9 institution head — until she has challenged the constitutionality of the rules that will govern that process.
She argued that the rules governing the process are unconstitutional and that there is a vendetta against her.
Her application was divided into two parts.
In part A, Mkhwebane wanted an interim interdict to suspend the removal process. Part B of her application related to declaring the rules for the removal of a Chapter 9 head unlawful, unconstitutional, invalid, null and void.
In dismissing part A of her application, Saldanha also ordered Mkhwebane pay Modise and the National Assembly’s costs.
But Parliament said it has a constitutional mandate to exercise accountability over Chapter 9 institutions.
Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise said the parliamentary process would continue in the absence of judgment directing it otherwise.
The panel has 30 days to make its recommendation. If it finds there was no case against Mkhwebane, the removal inquiry ends there and then. If the panel recommends that Parliament must proceed, the House must establish an inquiry committee to take the process further.