Ramaphosa’s reasons why Mkhwebane should not resume work

While suspended public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane pitched at the Hillcrest Office Park on Tuesday, it was only to address the media since both President Cyril Ramaphosa and her deputy Kholeka Gcaleka told her she was unwelcome.

Ramaphosa said in a letter on Monday that the constitutional processes pertaining to Mkhwebane’s suspension or potential removal from office prevent her from reporting for duty.

Gcaleka also added her voice, saying Mkhwebane is not an employee of the public protector’s office.


Speaking to the media outside the gates of the office park, Mkhwebane said it is baffling that she is deemed not to be an employee when she is still receiving full salary.

She insisted that she remains the executive authority of the office until her term expires in October.

Mkhwebane said Gcaleka should not have involved herself in the matter because her action legitimises the view that she is serving as “the president’s protector”.

Gcaleka, with the support of the ANC, is the frontrunner to become Mkhwebane’s successor when the National Assembly sits on Monday to vote.

The fact that she recently cleared Ramaphosa of all wrongdoing in the alleged money-laundering scheme at his Phala Phala game farm in 2020 endeared her to many in Ramaphosa’s governing party.

On Monday night, Ramaphosa gave six reasons why Mkhwebane is wrong about her intentions to resume her duties.


He referred to the constitution, the presidential minute he signed authorising her suspension, and the pending National Assembly vote on her impeachment hearing report.

“Sixth, 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,” he said.

“The National Assembly has therefore not yet completed its part of the process.”

He continued: “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 presidential minute and my letter is wrong, and your intention to return to office is misconceived.”

He said it is therefore clear that the process initiated by the committee was not completed when the enquiry by the committee was finalised.

“In the circumstances, you have no right or entitlement in law to return to office pending the decisions to which I refer above.”

 

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