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ATM considers legal advice over Ramaphosa’s extension

Kholeka Gcaleka.Image: Chris Collingridge

Kholeka Gcaleka.Image: Chris Collingridge

Published Jul 3, 2022

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Siyabonga Sithole

THE African Transformation Movement (ATM) says it is considering legal advice on whether to bring an urgent application over acting Deputy Public Prosecutor, Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka who recently gave President Cyril Ramaphosa an extension over the 31 questions sent to the president by suspended Public Prosecutor, Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

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This comes after Gcaleka came under fire following her "secret deal" between herself and Ramaphosa without communicating her decision to the public as the president was due to give his response to the office of the public protector by June 30, 2022.

Ramaphosa, who failed to meet the deadline, is said to have requested an extension to Gcaleka who agreed to give Ramaphosa the extension to answer questions about flouting the executive code of ethics following the Phala Phala Farm debacle.

It is these questions by Mkhwebane that have been reported to have forced Ramaphosa to suspend Mkhwebane after she had sent them to the president last month.

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On Friday, following an outcry over news that Gcaleka had acceded to Ramaphosa's demands for an extension in secret and without informing the public, leader of the African Transformation Movement (ATM), Vuyo Zungula, issued a statement condemning Gcaleka for granting Ramaphosa the extension with Gcaleka forced to issue her own statement in response to the outcry.

"The Public Protector notes the growing public interest in the institution's work and, in particular, the investigation into allegations that the president violated the executive ethics code.

"Accordingly, the institution wishes to take the opportunity to inform the public that the investigation concerned remains on track. Thus far, a total of four complaints have been received. Two were lodged in terms of the Executive Members Ethics Act (EMEA), while the rest were lodged under the Public Protector Act, " Gcaleka said in a statement.

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On the issue of the extension granted to the president, the Acting Deputy Public Protector said Ramaphosa had, through his attorneys, requested the extension and had granted it as it was normal for such requests to be made.

"It must be noted that requests such as this are quite common where the The Public Protector South Africa’s investigative work is concerned. In fact, the president made a similar request in terms of a previous EMEA investigation (Bosasa) and that request was also acceded to," she said.

Ahead of the response by Gcaleka, Zungula in a statement called for the acting Deputy Public Protector to explain herself over the clandestine deal between herself and the president adding that her office was accountable to the public and not to Ramaphosa.

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"The private deal is in breach of the Constitution section 195 (1)(g), which prescribes that in the public service, transparency must be fostered by providing the public with timely and accessible information," reads the statement issued by the ATM.

Zungula further states that the party was dismayed to learn from the media that the acting Deputy Public Protector had entered into a secret deal with President Ramaphosa adding that the office was only accountable to the public.

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