Home South African Cyril Ramaphosa suspends public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane ‘with immediate effect’

Cyril Ramaphosa suspends public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane ‘with immediate effect’

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Her suspension comes after she confirmed that she would investigate Ramaphosa for allegedly breaching the executive code of ethics relating to alleged criminal activities at his farm.

Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: File

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has suspended Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane with immediate effect.

This was revealed in a statement released to the media yesterday.

The statement said in part: “President Cyril Ramaphosa has, in accordance with section 194 (3)(a) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, decided to suspend advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane from the office of the Public Protector effective June 9, 2022.”

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”.

Her suspension came after she confirmed on Monday that she would investigate Ramaphosa for allegedly breaching the executive code of ethics relating to alleged criminal activities at his farm.

Last week former State Security Agency director-general Arthur Fraser formally laid criminal charges at the Rosebank police station in Joburg, accusing Ramaphosa of concealing an incident where $4 million was stolen.

Fraser wrote in a statement circulated on social media that he had laid a charge of defeating the ends of justice and kidnapping suspects who were allegedly interrogated. He said he had handed over supporting documents including photo, bank accounts and video footage as evidence. Ramaphosa admitted that there was a robbery at his farm but dismissed claims that he had done anything wrong.

Yesterday’s statement said Mkhwebane would remain suspended until the section 194 process in the National Assembly had been completed.

“President Ramaphosa has fulfilled his obligation to provide Advocate Mkhwebane a fair hearing, according to her sufficient time and opportunity to make submissions. In considering each element of the public protector’s submissions carefully, the president has taken into account the nature of the public protector’s office and his own constitutional obligations.

“Section 2A (7) of the Public Protector Act states that whenever the public protector is, for any reason, unable to perform the functions of his or her office, or while the appointment of a person to the Office of Public Protector is pending, the deputy public protector shall perform such functions.

“The absence of Advocate Mkhwebane from office will therefore not impede the progress of any investigations that are pending or under way.

“President Ramaphosa and Advocate Mkhwebane are both obligated to act in the best interest of the country, in compliance with the Constitution and mindful of the need to protect all constitutional institutions. The president’s decision to suspend Advocate Mkhwebane is the best manner to fulfil these obligations,” the statement concluded.

Public protector spokesperson Oupa Segwale could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

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