Ramaphosa drops axe on ‘incompetent’ Busisiwe Mkhwebane

President Cyril Ramaphosa has put the final nail in public protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s coffin after approving her removal from office.

Ramaphosa’s decision comes less than 48 hours after the ANC-led National Assembly voted in support of a DA motion to axe her, just four weeks before her term expires.

On Monday, the National Assembly voted 318 to 43, confirming Mkhwebane as the first ombudsman to be impeached in South Africa.

On Wednesday, Mkhwebane jokingly posted on Twitter that she wished Ramaphosa was equally swift in solving the recurring electricity loadshedding.

She also warned that she would challenge the premature termination of her contract.

“I wish we could see such ‘concomitant efficiency’ to end loadshedding. This injustice, sadly, perpetrated on Steve Biko Day, will be legally challenged in review proceedings,” Mkhwebane said.

The phrase “concomitant” became synonymous with Ramaphosa’s role in the events leading up to the massacre of striking Lonmin workers in Marikana in 2012.

Ahead of state-sanctioned killings, Ramaphosa, then a Lonmin shareholder, called for “concomitant action” from government, accusing striking rock drillers of criminal conduct.

In his letter to Mkhwebane dated September 12, Ramaphosa noted that he suspended Mkhwebane on June 9 2022. 

This was approximately a day after Mkhwebane had sent her 31 questions about the illegal foreign currency hidden in a sofa at his Phala Phala game farm in Limpopo in 2020.

The money was allegedly stolen, but no police case was reported.

Its origin remains a mystery since the SA Revenue Service has no record of the millions of dollars declared.

Mkhwebane accused Ramaphosa of acting vindictively when suspending her, citing that the Phala Phala questions triggered the president’s decision.

The high court agreed with her, but disagreed that she should resume duties pending the outcome of an appeal process.

In July, the Constitutional Court upheld Ramaphosa’s appeal that the suspension was not unlawful and tainted by bias.

Ramaphosa’s letter also mentioned that a parliamentary committee that probed Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office found her guilty of misconduct and incompetence.

“I therefore hereby inform you that you are hereby removed from the office of the public protector,” he wrote.


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