Busisiwe Mkhwebane, South Africa’s Public Protector, faced removal from her position. President Cyril Ramaphosa officially informed her of this decision in a letter posted on her social media account.
This move followed a significant majority vote by Members of Parliament to adopt the report from the Section 194 Committee, which recommended her removal.
The committee’s findings were serious, accusing Mkhwebane of misconduct and incompetence in various investigations, reports, litigation handling, and public fund management. Her suspension by President Ramaphosa last year had already raised eyebrows, particularly because it occurred shortly after she began probing the Phala Phala matter involving the president.
President Ramaphosa, in a letter dated September 12th, cited the Constitution’s Section 194(3)(b), which empowers him to remove the head of the Office of the Public Protector once the National Assembly passes a resolution for removal.
The president’s letter stated, “I hereby inform you that you are removed from the Office of the Public Protector in terms of Section 194(3)(b) of the Constitution due to misconduct and incompetence.”
Mkhwebane swiftly responded, announcing her intention to challenge the decision in court and request a review of the process. She expressed frustration, hoping that the same efficiency applied to her removal could be seen in addressing South Africa’s ongoing issue of load shedding.
In an unexpected twist, Mkhwebane accused both the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the African National Congress (ANC) of collaborating to prevent her from receiving her R10 million gratuity, which she is entitled to at the end of her term in October.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a political party, opposed the committee’s report and promised to review it. However, legal experts have cast doubt on the likelihood of success in challenging the report.
As South Africa watches this unfolding drama, uncertainty looms over the future of the Office of the Public Protector. Legal battles are anticipated, and political tensions are running high.