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President Urges Suspended Public Protector To Respect Constitutional Processes Relating To Suspension Or Removal From Office

President Cyril Ramaphosa has outlined to suspended Public Protector Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane the constitutional processes that pertain to her suspension or potential removal from office and which therefore prevent her from reporting for duty.

President Ramaphosa set out the conditions preventing the suspended Public Protector’s return to office in a letter to Adv. Mkhwebane dated 04 September 2023.

The President was responding to a letter he received from Adv. Mkhwebane earlier on the same day and in which she expressed her intention to report for duty today, Tuesday, 05 September 2023, until the expiry of her term of office on 14 October 2023 or any lawful removal in terms of Section 194 of the Constitution, whichever happens first.

The President has pointed to Adv. Mkhwebane that her intention to return to work is misconceived.

This is due to the fact that the proceedings initiated by a Committee of the National Assembly which has inquired into Adv. Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office have yet to be completed.

Now that the Committee has adopted its report, the proceedings which were initiated by the Committee will be finalised either when the National Assembly does not adopt a resolution calling for the removal from office of Adv. Mkhwebane, or if the National Assembly does adopt such a resolution.

In his letter, the President said: “It is therefore patently clear that the process initiated by the Committee is not completed, (as your letter suggests) when the enquiry by the Committee has been finalised.”

“In the circumstances, you have no right or entitlement in law to return to office pending the decisions to which I refer above.”

“In the circumstances, while I thank you for your courtesy in informing me of your intention, your interpretation of the Presidential Minute and my letter is wrong, and your intention to return to office is misconceived.”

“Your letter states that you were advised on 24 August 2023 that the Committee had completed its part of the process, and that its report would be tabled in the National Assembly. You waited until today to inform me of your intention to return to office tomorrow. Such precipitate action is unjustified on any basis.”