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Sufficient prima facie evidence of misconduct against Mkhwebane, panel finds

The independent panel headed by retired Judge Bess Nkabinde recommended that a committee of the National Assembly investigates or launches an inquiry into Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg on 22 July 2019. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

CAPE TOWN - There’s sufficient prima facie evidence of misconduct against Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

That’s a finding of an independent panel appointed by Parliament.

It was tasked with looking into whether Mkhwebane should face a full probe.

The independent panel headed by retired Judge Bess Nkabinde recommended that a committee of the National Assembly investigates or launches an inquiry into Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

The move is allowed for in the Constitution.

National Assembly rules stipulate that the Speaker must now bring the panel’s recommendations before the House for a decision.

Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo: "In its findings, the panel concluded that there is substantial information that constitutes prima facie evidence of incompetence and examples of this included the prima facie evidence demonstrating the Public Protector's overreach and the exceeding of the bounds of her powers in terms of the Constitution and the Public Protector Act as well as repeated errors of the same kind, such as incorrect interpretation of the law."

Prima facie means that there is enough evidence that calls for a rebuttal from the accused. If there is no rebuttal before the court under oath, the evidence becomes conclusive on which the court may convict the accused.

The panel has also found the Public Protector’s failure to reveal meetings with former President Jacob Zuma and the State Security Agency constituted misconduct.

It said that Mkhwebane displayed non-compliance in a number of her investigations, including those into the Reserve Bank and the Vrede Dairy Project.

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