The Public Protector is facing yet another battle to keep her job. However, Busisiwe Mkhwebane received a much-needed boost on Friday, when a court set aside the suspension she was handed by Cyril Ramaphosa. This small victory was far from comprehensive, though… The Public Protector could be forced out of office before her term expires…
Why was Busisiwe Mkhwebane blocked from entering her office?
Busisiwe Mkhwebane still cannot enter her office. She made attempts to do so over the weekend, only to be blocked by the Acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka. The stand-in office-bearer denied access, citing an exemption in the Western Cape High Court’s recent verdict.
Although the bench concluded that Ramaphosa’s suspension of Mkhwebane was too hasty, their judgment came with a caveat. They referred the matter to the Constitutional Court, after the DA filed an appeal application to the registrar of the highest authority in SA.
Acting Public Protector ‘is right’ to prevent access
Benedict Phiri, a legal expert at the IusPrudentia Specialist Counsel, confirmed that Gcaleka’s stance WAS legitimate:
“The Acting Public Protector and her team are well within their rights not to allow her in the office. The Constitutional Court now has the sole power to confirm whether the conduct of President Cyril Ramaphosa is unconstitutional, and this confirmation is necessary.” | Benedict Phiri
Cyril Ramaphosa vs Busisiwe Mkhwebane: Who is on top?
Busisiwe Mkhwebane may have won the battle, but her war is far from over. However, she now believes the tide has turned in her favour. On Friday, the court derided President Ramaphosa’s decision to suspend Mkhwebane.
This happened just ONE DAY AFTER she had sent 31 questions to him as part of her investigation into the Phala Phala farm robbery. In their eyes, the timing was ‘suspect’ – and Cyril stands accused of ‘unlawful conduct’.
“The hurried nature of the suspension of [Mkhwebane] in the circumstances, notwithstanding that a judgment of the full court was looming on the same subject matter, leads this court to an ineluctable conclusion that the suspension may have been retaliatory and hence, unlawful.” | Western Cape High Court