Senior Advocates Protest in Parliament on Prejudicial Treatment of Black Advocates
On 10 November 2022, Ngalwana SC and Sikhakhane SC presented a statement to Parliament following what they regard as a prejudicial manner in which evidence leader, Nazreen Bawa SC, presented evidence ostensibly of the Public Protector’s alleged fruitless, wasteful and unauthorised expenditure on litigation costs.
The impugned evidence was presented by Bawa SC on 2 November 2022 during a parliamentary committee process which is established in terms of section 194 of the South African Constitution to consider the incumbent Public Protector’s fitness for office.
The evidence can be accessed here Committee for Section 194 Enquiry, 02 November 2022 and the relevant part begins at about 6 hours 50 minutes to about 7 hours 30 minutes of the recording.
Bawa SC apologised for this conduct in Parliament and in the presence of both Ngalwana and Sikhakhane on 10 November 2022. The apology can be accessed here Committee for Section 194 Enquiry, 10 November 2022 and the relevant part begins at about 22 minutes 25 seconds to about 42 minutes 25 seconds of the recording.
But on 11 November 2022 – the very next day following the tabling of the protest statement and her apology in Parliament – Bawa SC repeated her conduct. She claimed to be “in the hands of the committee” in doing so (which is an abdication of her professional duty and this forms part of the basis for a professional complaint against her to the Legal Practice Council).
The repetition of the impugned conduct can be accessed here Committee for Section 194 Enquiry, 11 November 2022 and the relevant part begins at about 47 minutes to about 1 hour 3 minutes of the recording.
At the conclusion of the section 194 parliamentary process, the parliamentary committee will then recommend to Parliament whether the Public Protector is, on the evidence presented, fit for office or not. Parliament will then consider the recommendation and, with at least a two-third majority, must decide whether the Public Protector is fit for office or not.
Watch the Full Oral Presentation to Parliament below, and read the Full statement.