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The miseducation of Busi Mkhwebane

Any activist dreams of shaping our Constitution in some way. But trust our bumbling Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to end up doing so completely by mistake. 😕

Quick explainer: the office of the public protector is essentially an ombud for all government services. It’s supposed to hold the government to account when citizens are failed. But the incumbent has used much of her time in office to not-so-subtly support the pro-Zuma ANC faction. Her terrible findings, effectively fighting Zuma’s battles, have been scathingly set aside by the courts so many times it’s become a joke. Some critics have said that the errors she has made in law wouldn’t be expected even of junior lawyers.

That’s why Parliament has been talking about how it should go about maybe removing her from the position. It’s been super cautious, because this is unheard of: there’s a reason that players can’t arbitrarily remove the referee. So, the process was carefully mapped and, this week, Parliament announced the committee members and chairperson – the ANC’s Richard Dyantyi – who will oversee the inquiry into the possibility of impeaching a sitting head of a Chapter 9 (as designated by our Constitution) institution. This sort of inquiry is unprecedented. We’ll keep you updated when the committee begins the nuts and bolts of its work, hearing evidence for and against Mkhwebane. Kudos to the Public Protector: South African case law is much richer for her mistakes. 😂

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 22 July 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.