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Ramaphosa blocks Mkhwebane’s bid to return to Public Protector’s office

President Cyril Ramaphosa has blocked Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s attempt to go back to the office. File Picture: Phando Jikelo/ African News Agency (ANA)

President Cyril Ramaphosa has blocked Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s attempt to go back to the office. File Picture: Phando Jikelo/ African News Agency (ANA)

Published Sep 5, 2023


President Cyril Ramaphosa has told suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane that she was not entitled to go back to work on Tuesday, as she has insisted.

Ramaphosa said Mkhwebane has failed to understand some of the elements of the law in her suspension.

He said the fact that the section 194 committee has completed its work, it did not follow that there this was the end of the parliamentary process.

Parliament still has to adopt the report from the committee.

Ramaphosa said Mkhwebane has no right to go back to the office, as she claims in the letter she sent to him on Monday.

It was clear that the parliamentary process will be completed once the report has been approved by the National Assembly.

The sitting of the National Assembly for the adoption of the report is scheduled for September 11. This will be the same day that it will also approve the name of the new Public Protector.

Mkhwebane had written to Ramaphosa that she was to go back to the office on Tuesday as the parliamentary phase of the inquiry, by the section 194 committee, was over.

Ramaphosa said he has not been informed of a resolution taken by the National Assembly to remove her from office and therefore parliament has not finished its work.

“I record that I have not been informed of any resolution having been taken by the National Assembly as contemplated by section 194(2) of the Constitution. The National Assembly has therefore not yet completed its part of the process,” said Ramaphosa.

“In the circumstances, you have no right or entitlement in law to return to office pending the decisions to which I refer above. In the circumstances, while I thank you for your courtesy in informing me of your intention, your interpretation of the law of the Presidential Minute and my letter is wrong, and your intention to return to office is misconceived,” he said.

“Your letter states that you were advised on 24 August 2023 that the committee had completed its part of the process, and that its report would be tabled in the National Assembly. You waited until (Monday) to me inform me of your intention to return to office (on Tuesday). Such precipitate action is unjustified on any basis.”

Mkhwebane was suspended by Ramaphosa last year after allegations of misconduct and incompetence were levelled against her following a number of court judgments against her.

Parliament established the section 194 committee that conducted an inquiry into her removal.

The process has been dragging for months, and a few weeks ago the committee found that Mkhwebane was guilty of misconduct and incompetence and recommended that she should be removed from office.

The committee sent its report to the National Assembly, which will vote on the matter next Monday. Parliament will need a two-thirds majority to approve the removal of Mkhwebane from office.

After that Ramaphosa would have to sign off on it.

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