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Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: THULANI MBELE
Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: THULANI MBELE

It was 318 votes for, 43 votes against, and one abstention (Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma was Awol, according to ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina). That’s how Monday’s National Assembly vote went in a motion to remove public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, and she must now pack her bags.

Not that it was a slam dunk, mind you. Perhaps taking a leaf out of former president Jacob Zuma’s playbook (they share a lawyer, after all), Mkhwebane fought to the bitter end in another South African Stalingrad that has dragged on for 2½ years and cost the taxpayer R160m.

Now, as some opposition parties predictably call foul over the findings from the section 194 inquiry into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office, purloining such words as “brutal”, “misogyny” and “misconduct” as they do so, it is worth reflecting on the outgoing protector’s success rate.

It is not a happy trip down memory lane — numerous Mkhwebane investigations have been found unworthy, lacking in substance or just plain wrong in courts ranging from the Pretoria high court to the Constitutional Court. 

Undoubtedly unpleasant, if not a little humiliating, but there you go.

Meanwhile, to say, as Majodina did, that Mkhwebane had “eroded public confidence” in the Chapter 9 institution is a little like saying the All Blacks didn’t play too well against the Boks at Twickenham three weeks ago. 

Rebuilding faith is like grief after a death. You get through it by taking one day at a time and hoping that it will get better. After all, the night always ends, doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, the drawn-out but thorough inquiry has found against Mkhwebane and, in the words of the inimitable game show host, you are the weakest link. Goodbye.

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