After Public Protector’s Latest Loss to Ramaphosa, Renewed Call for her Removal

After the public protector lost yet another case in court, the Democratic Alliance has repeated its call for parliament to expedite proceedings to remove the controversial Busiswe Mkhwebane from office.

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“The longer she remains in office, the more she will erode the nation’s faith in this very crucial Chapter 9 institution,” the DA said in a statement today.

The call came shortly after President Cyril Ramaphosa won the latest round of a legal battle against Mkhwebane, when a judge of the North Gauteng High Court delayed implementation of findings linked to her office’s claim that he misled parliament about a R500,000 donation from Bosasa to his presidential campaign.

The DA finds itself in the precarious position of having launched the demand that the public protector investigate Ramaphosa – leading to her report, which he then challenged in court – even though it has repeatedly said Mkhwebane is unfit to hold her office. It was also the only major party to oppose her when she was first appointed three years ago.

“While the DA believes that the President has a case to answer for and that he must be held to account – we respect the Court’s ruling and will abide by this decision,” the DA said today.

“we respect the authority of the Office of the Public Protector and the Constitutional role it serves, we have serious concerns over the competence and independence of the incumbent. In her almost three years in office, she has on numerous occasions showed the public that she is wholly unsuitable for office.”

In alleging that he “deliberately misled” parliament about the Bosasa donation, Mkhwebane said there was also evidence of money laundering involving millions of rand in the handling of donations for the campaign.

Challenging her report in court, Ramaphosa called it flawed and the Pretoria court granted him an interdict against the public protector’s findings while he appeals.

The president’s supporters say Mkhwebane is acting as a proxy for the pro-Zuma ANC faction. She denies playing politics and says she is simply holding senior officials to account.

Last week, Ramaphosa won a separate a case also involving Mkhwebane, when a judge ruled he had acted reasonably in not immediately disciplining Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan over the establishment of a so-called “rogue unit” during his tenure as head of the South African Revenue Services.

(Reporting by Ted Botha, SAPeople; Alistair Smout, Reuters)