The Constitutional Court rules that President Cyril Ramaphosa had reasonable grounds regarding the suspension Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
They set aside the Western Cape High Court ruling that overturned her suspension in a unanimous judgment handed down on Thursday.
The ConCourt dismissed Mkhwebane’s application eight months after the full bench heard arguments from all parties involved in the matter.
Mkhwebane was suspended by President Ramaphosa in June 2022. A day after she announced that her office would investigate the president’s conduct regarding the Phala Phala farm scandal.
Mkhwebane challenged the suspension in the Western Cape High Court. The full court found the suspension unlawful due to perceptions of bias. But the DA and president challenged that finding in the Constitutional Court.
Mkhwebane had argued that Ramaphosa had a bias towards her due to this investigation, but the Constitutional Court ruled that the evidence does not show that he acted in a biased manner.
CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULING ON TYHE SUSPENSION OF BUSISIWE MKHWEBANE
“The President stood to gain nothing from the suspension of the Public Protector as the acting PP continued with the investigation,” Maya said.
Concourt deputy chief justice Mandisa Maya stressed that the president derived no benefit from suspending her. This is since the Phala Phala investigation was ongoing, was handled by the public protector’s office as a whole.
“In this unanimous judgment, this court holds that there was a rational reason for the precautionary suspension of the Public Protector. Which benefits her and her office as it allows her to centre her attention on her defence in the inquiry and safeguards the integrity of her office.”
“In coming to this conclusion, I have considered the report of the independent panel chaired by Justice Nkabinde. Which found that there was prima facie evidence of incompetence on the Public Protector’s part. Based on a number of repeated instances including what it described as overreaching as exceeding the bounds of her powers in terms of the Constitution.”