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Cyril Ramaphosa suspended me pre-empting high court judgment, says Busisiwe Mkhwebane

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 13, 2022

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Pretoria - Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has broken her silence about her suspension at the position she held for six years, saying President Cyril Ramaphosa pre-empted a high court judgment which he knew was going to be delivered on the following morning.

Mkhwebane, who was suspended by Ramaphosa on Thursday last week, also questioned the “wisdom” and “legality” of her suspension and pointed out that the “rational” and “respectful” thing to do would have been to await the court’s decision rather than acting in contempt of court.

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She said: “President Cyril Ramaphosa suspended me in the late afternoon of June 9 2022 pre-empting the high court judgment which he knew was going to be delivered the following morning at 8.30am.

“The judgment was to decide on the legal entitlement of President Ramaphosa to suspend me. Various independent commentators have correctly questioned the wisdom and legality of such conduct, and pointed out that the rational and respectful thing to do would have been to await the court’s decision rather than acting in contempt of court.”

Be that as it may, on June 10, the high court has now indeed subsequently confirmed that Ramaphosa may do what he did on the previous day. In that sense the judgment had been rendered academic by the conduct of the president.

Mkhwebane added that it was clear that the judgment was largely focused on the technicality that the application was for an interim interdict and the special requirements of such interim interdicts rather than the merits of whether Ramaphosa was personally legally entitled to suspend a person who is investigating him for serious and impeachable offences; and whether the provisions of the empowering section 194(3)(a) of the Constitution had been triggered.

Mkhwebane also accused the court of mistakes in its judgment on Friday.

“There are glaring errors in today’s (Friday’s) judgment which dismisses an application to strike out which was specifically not pursued but grants personal costs orders which the Speaker (Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula) and the president (Ramaphosa) did not seek and only the DA, which is the complaint in the impeachment process, asked for based on its obvious political agenda.

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Mkwebane also vowed to challenge the suspicious and legally questionable suspension decision made on Friday – “particularly in so far as it was done in apparent contempt of court”.

Pretoria News

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