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South African President Ramaphosa suspends lawyer Mkhwebane from public protector’s office

President Cyril Ramaphosa has, pursuant to Section 194(3)(a) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, suspended Barrister Busisiwe Mkhwebane from his duties as Public Protector with immediate effect.

“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 proceedings have been commenced by a commission of the National Assembly for [their] withdrawal,” reads the statement from the presidency.

The Public Protector in South Africa is one of six independent state institutions created by the country’s Constitution to support and defend democracy.

Lawyer Mkhwebane will remain suspended until the Article 194 process in the National Assembly is completed, he said.

“President Ramaphosa fulfilled his obligation to provide Attorney Mkhwebane with a fair hearing by allowing her sufficient time and opportunity to present her submissions. In carefully reviewing each element of the Public Protector’s submissions, the President took into account the nature of the Public Protector’s office and its own constitutional obligations,” the statement added.

Section 2A(7) of the Public Protector Act provides that whenever the Public Protector is for any reason unable to perform the duties of his office, or while the appointment of a person to the office public protector is pending, the deputy public protector exercises these functions.

The presidency said that the absence of lawyer Mkhwebane from the office will therefore not prevent the progress of the ongoing or ongoing investigations.

“President Ramaphosa and Attorney Mkhwebane are both bound to act in the best interests of the country, in accordance with the Constitution and mindful of the need to protect all constitutional institutions. The President’s decision to suspend Attorney Mkhwebane is the best way to fulfill these obligations.” It said.

Meanwhile, Mkhwebane retaliated with tweets, the first tweet saying the battle was the Lord’s, and the second tweet warning, “don’t get sidetracked #glencore and #farmgate aluta continued.”

Last month, Mkhwebane explained to Ramaphosa why she should not be suspended pending impeachment proceedings in parliament.

The suspended Ombudsman previously said Ramaphosa was the subject of a series of investigations by his office.

(With agency contributions)

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Post expires at 2:19pm on Monday June 20th, 2022