Vhahangwele Nemakonde
Digital Night Supervisor
2 minute read
27 May 2022
9:42 pm

Mkhwebane’s letter to Ramaphosa was sent ‘under protest’

Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Mkhwebane says she believes the letter will only be due after the courts' judgments on her applications.

Busisiwe Mkhwebane during the press conference at her offices in Pretoria. Photo: Gallo Images/Antonio Muchave

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she sent her letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa explaining why he should not suspend her “under protest”.

This after the Presidency on Friday announced that Mkhwebane had submitted reasons why she should not be suspended amid Parliament’s impeachment process against her.

Although Mkhwebane confirmed she had indeed submitted the reasons to the president on Thursday, she said had done so under protest.

“This is based on her belief that the letter in question will only be due after a decision on her two-part application in the Western Cape High Court in which President Ramaphosa, Chairperson of the Section 194 Committee Mr Richard Dyantyi and Speaker of the National Assembly Hon. Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula are among the respondents,” said Mkhwebane in a statement on Friday evening.

ALSO READ: Timeline: How Mkhwebane’s impeachment will unfold

Part A of the application was heard by the Western Cape High Court last week. In it, Mkhwebane seeks an interim relief interdicting Ramaphosa, Dyantyi and Mapisa-Nqakula from proceeding with the impeachment process and Ramaphosa from suspending her.

Judgment was reserved.

In part B of the application, Mkhwebane seeks an order declaring Mapisa-Nqakula’s decision to send a letter to Ramaphosa “unconstitutional” and “invalid”.

In the letter dated 10 March, Mapisa-Nqakula informed the president that Parliament’s Ad Hoc Committee on the Section 194 Inquiry would proceed with the impeachment.

“Mkhwebane holds a strong view that President Ramaphosa is precluded from playing any role in her suspension primarily because he is conflicted and that, in any event, the powers to suspend as envisaged in section 194(3)(a) of the Constitution will only be triggered after the start of the removal proceedings, which has not yet happened,” Mkhwebane argued.

She said Ramaphosa was conflicted because of the pending litigation relating to the Bosasa/CR17 bank statements matter and the multiple Public Protector investigations in which the president is implicated.

Some of the investigations are reportedly related to the controversial South African Air Force flight to Zimbabwe in 2020 on which senior ANC officials received a lift, allegations of judicial capture and claims that Ramaphosa knew about the abuse of state funds during the ANC’s elective conferences.

“She is of the view that any suspension before the finalisation of these processes would undermine the independence of the judiciary and amount to or border on the criminal offence of contempt of court.”