Official suspended after calling on Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to resign
Free State head of the Public Protector office Sphelo Samuel claims he was suspended on Wednesday afternoon for asking his boss Busisiwe Mkhwebane to resign.
Samuel was served with the notice of precautionary suspension shortly after he had arrived to work in the morning to find that his e-mail account had been blocked.
“Therefore, I have decided to put you on precautionary suspension with full benefit/pay pending the finalisation of your disciplinary hearing.
“Due to the nature and seriousness of the utterances, your suspension is with immediate effect,” read a letter signed by Mkhwebane.
The letter revealed that Samuel had been charged with abusing the office of the Public Protector’s facilities by sending an email to Mkhwebane on Tuesday asking her to resign following the North High Court judgment against her.
“Your utterances against the Public Protector are very unfortunate and are viewed in a very serious light,” wrote Mkhwebane.
Mkhwebane said Samuel’s presence in the workplace was not in the interest of the employer and other employees.
Samuel had been told not to enter his office and to have contact with his colleagues “directly or indirectly”.
“You are required to hand over all assets of the PPSA (Public Protector SA),” she said.
Samuel said he had interpreted the blockage of his email account as constructive dismissal.
“I came to work this morning and found my account has been blocked, and when I called the ICT (Information and communications technology) they said they got an instruction from the acting chief executive officer (CEO),” said Samuel.
Samuel had on written a letter to PPSA CEO Yelekile Lusibane demanding answers to the blockage of his emails.
“Kindly furnish me with the reasons that led to this instruction being issued to the ICT department within an hour from now (10.30).
“I am sure that you will agree that this conduct renders me completely unable to perform my duties as a Senior Manager responsible for my Provincial and Regional Offices,” wrote Samuel.
The court had set aside Mkhwebane’s report, which had found that Ramaphosa had misled the parliament about R500 000 that African Global Operations had donated to CR17 for the 2017 ANC presidential campaign.
In the letter, Samuel had told Mkhwebane that she should resign in order to save taxpayer’s money, which she continually spent through “reckless litigation”.
Mkhwebane's spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said they would issue a statement in response to the claims.