Mkhwebane’s bid to halt Parliament’s investigation into her fitness to hold office denied

The High Court in Cape Town has dismissed Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s latest bid to interdict Parliament from proceeding with an inquiry into her fitness to hold office and to block President Cyril Ramaphosa from suspending her.

President Cyril Ramaphosa suspended Mkhwebane on Thursday, pending the finalisation of the parliamentary inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

The court has also ruled that she must pay part of the costs in her personal capacity.

Judge Erasmus says a message strong message needs to be sent that Constitutional Court decisions need to be respected and cannot be circumvented by rescission applications.

In a statement, the Presidency said she will remain suspended until the Section 194 process to remove her from the National Assembly has been completed.

It said the President fulfilled his obligation to provide Mkhwebane a fair hearing by affording her sufficient time and opportunity to make submissions which he considered carefully.

University of South Africa’s Political Analyst Dirk Kotze says the procedural component of the suspension of the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane was complied with:

Mkhwebane’s suspension comes just days after she confirmed that she would probe the matter of the robbery on Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm and if the President had breached the Executive Code of Ethics after receiving a complaint from the African Transformation Movement.

Political parties have questioned the timing of the suspension. ATM spokesperson Sibusiso Mncwabe believes Ramaphosa’s action reveals what the President is going through.

“It gives us a clear indication that the president of the country is panicking now, from what might be discovered by the public protector. Our leader Vuyo Zungula, wrote to the Public Protector, and we received her letter, that the matter is getting attention and being investigated. Now, we’re receiving the news that she has been suspended. To us, it says the president is panicking because there’s nothing so far that necessitates the president to suspend the Public Protector.”

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