There has been a concerted effort to discredit this process; the evidence leaders and parliamentary staff – most of whom are women – became collateral damage in an attempt to paint Advocate Mkhwebane as a victim of an abusive process and targeted conspiracy. The ACDP strongly rejects this.
The ACDP entered the process with an open mind to establish the facts on the matters before the Committee. This process brought into sharp focus the role of parliament and its oversight function over Chapter 9 institutions.
Our responsibility as office bearers is to maintain and uphold the principles of our constitutional democracy. It is our duty of office, and our duty to the people of this nation that should be our primary concern.
The cost of this enquiry is carried by the taxpayer. We cannot separate cost from the overall aims of the enquiry or the constitutional obligation of the individual who occupies this office. For us to not to mention the flagrant disregard for constitutional duty and obligation, as it relates to accountability, displayed by Advocate Mkhwebane would be amiss.
Mr Hassan Ebrahim, in his address to the Committee, likened the office of the Public Protector to a super hero. He articulated the intention of the drafters of our Constitution in an idealism that is regrettably missing in the public service today. The high ideals that would place consideration of the poor and vulnerable above self.
There is no greater form of elitism but for the poor to beg on their knees for their schools to remain open, and for public servants to have an open cheque to defend poor decision making in long drawn-out battles in court on the public’s dime. Such court expenses rob the poor of justice! Justice which they cannot afford in a court of law!
In the end, the deliberate delays, the escalation in cost because of it, and the behaviour of the current Public Protector, Adv Mkhwebane, through her legal representatives of choice, was an insult to this parliament of the people to which she is accountable. The process demanded fairness and an open mind. The principles of fairness to the individual, who is the subject of the enquiry, cannot be at the expense of the people of South Africa.
It is our submission that the outcome of the enquiry speaks to these principles of fairness but with the people of South Africa in mind, and the constitutional obligations put upon the PP foremost. The political theatre that grabbed the attention of the nation showed a blatant disregard for the ideals that so-called liberation heroes profess.
People like Mr Van Loggerenberg and Mr Samuel were mistreated in this parliament of the people, their right to dignity and fairness flagrantly disregarded, as was the concerns and rights of the people of Vrede – by those implicated in wrongdoing in the matter.
To occupy this office, I learnt in this process, would require much from the individual, and this parliament must consider the lessons we have learnt and apply them wisely in any new appointment.
The ACDP supports the recommendation for the removal Adv Mkhwebane as the Public Protector.”