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Mixed reaction from DA and EFF to Ramaphosa’s plan to suspend Mkhwebane

File picture Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency

File picture Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency

Published Mar 19, 2022

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BALDWIN NDABA

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PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa’s letter to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane in which he gave her 10 working days to give reasons why she should not be suspended, has drawn mixed reaction from the EFF and DA.

As Mkhwebane is preparing a possible legal challenge against her suspension, the EFF said the letter was a “premature and dictatorial attempt” to suspend Mkhwebane pending parliamentary inquiry into her fitness to hold public office.

EFF national spokesperson Sinawo Tambo said the latest developments were another move to misuse his prerogative to sideline her.

Tambo said Ramaphosa had taken advantage of the process instituted by Parliament to deal with an individual he views “as a political opponent.”

“The letter demanding that Mkhwebane pleads her case to not be suspended is a veiled threat, and an effective removal of the public protector before a democratic institution can appraise itself on her performance, and whether she is capable of occupying that office.

“It is an implementation of the factional and undemocratic step-aside policy of his ruling party, at the level of the state, which finds people guilty until proven innocent.

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“It is an objective fact that Busisiwe Mkhwebane has been unwavering in her mandate to hold those in power accountable, and she has done so indiscriminately, implicating Ramaphosa and his allies. To suspend her is therefore a measure to strip the office of the public protector of its teeth.

“It is premature, rushed and leads us to conclude that it is a decision taken out of fear, rather than being based on rationality,” Tambo said.

He said the parliamentary inquiry into the public protector must be given time to do its work, saying the work would undoubtedly include a discussion of matters relating to the president himself.

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According to Tambo, Ramaphosa is compromised and conflicted, and couldn’t make any objective decision relating to a Chapter 9 institution that has investigated matters relating to him.

“South Africans must wake up to the reality that the sitting president is a compromised individual who has weaponised state institutions to pave a clear path towards a second term, said Tambo.

But, unlike the EFF, DA MP and its spokesperson on justice Glynn Breytenbach said that the letter would set in motion the wheels to impeach Mkhwebane.

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“This process is both necessary and urgent given the numerous negative judgements expressed against the public protector. We hope that this process reaches a conclusion in the near future,” Breytenbach said.

Last night, Mkhwebane’s spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, said she was still consulting with her lawyers about Ramaphosa’s letter.

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Political Bureau

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