Tuesday, 14 June 2022 20:47

Ramaphosa stick to his guns, reaffirming his decision to suspend Mkhwebane.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has refused to withdraw his suspension of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane following a letter of demand to reverse his decision to suspend her.

This was confirmed by presidency on Tuesday evening.

In a lengthy letter dated 13 June 2022, Mkhwebane demanded that Ramaphosa reverse her suspension by end of Tuesday or face legal action.

She argued that her suspension was illegal and invalid.

Your decision to suspend me, as you put it, 'pending the finalisation of the process taking place in the National Assembl' is decidedly unlawful and invalid in that, to your knowledge, your power to do so in terms of section 194(3)(a) is not lawfully triggered by the taking place of the process but only arises ‘at any time after the start of the proceedings of a committee of the National Assembly for the removal of that person’. Alternatively, I hereby squarely challenge you to pronounce when and on what occasion you may allege that the proceedings envisaged in the section had indeed started. Your conduct is ultra vires and illegal, she said.

Mkhwebane further slammed Ramaphosa for "considering the integrity" of her office at a time when his own office was being questioned.

While I am touched that you have considered the integrity of the office, I wish to point out that at the exact time that you sent me the suspension letter, the integrity of your own office was being seriously questioned due to the allegations of serious criminal conduct on your part, not the remakrs made in judgments, some of which have been rebuked and reversed, as happened in the case if Commissioner of Sars vs The Public Protector, and three other cases to which I referred you in my representations and in respect of which you have not commented or applied your mind."

Mkhwebane will remain suspended until her impeachment process, which is being handled by Parliament’s Ad Hoc Committee on the Section 194 inquiry, has been completed.

Ramaphosa suspended Mkhwebane on the 9th of June in accordance with section 194 (3)(a) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

"Section 194(3) (a) of the Constitution provides that the President may suspend the Public Protector (or any member of a Chapter 9 institution) "at any time after the start of proceedings by a committee of the National Assembly for [their] removal.