Gcaleka blocks Mkhwebane’s return to office
Suspension remains effective pending appeal, acting public protector says
The rift between suspended public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and acting public protector Kholeka Gcaleka has widened after the latter told Mkhwebane that she should not report for duty following a decision by the Western Cape high court that the suspension was invalid.
Gcaleka wasted little time in informing Mkhwebane that she should not come to the office.
Gcaleka was apparently responding to Whatsapp messages from Mkhwebane, in which she requested access to the offices of the public protector.
In a letter addressed to Mkhwebane on Friday, Gcaleka said the office of the public protector had received legal advice that an appeal against the Western Cape judgment had been filed with at Constitutional Court on Friday evening, effectively suspending the court order.
“Accordingly, the advice received is the High Court order is not presently operative and your suspension from the position of public protector remains effective,” Gcaleka wrote.
Mkhwebane’s lawyer, Theo Seanego, confirmed that they had received a letter from Gcaleka, but he didn’t indicate what their next move would be.
The DA on Friday filed a notice for leave to appeal the judgment.
President Cyril Ramaphosa in June suspended Mkhwebane effective immediately.
He said at the time that his reason was that there was a section 194 process in the National Assembly to investigate Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office
Ramaphosa, who was doing ANC work in Limpopo yesterday, said he is prepared to work with any public protector.
“Our reaction has already been made to the public that we are going to get guidance from the Constitutional Court because any action by the president which is deemed invalid has to be adjudicated upon by the Constitutional Court. I can work with any public protector. It is never really a difficulty because everything we do is guided by laws and provisions of our constitution,” Ramaphosa said.
He reiterated that he would co-operate with law enforcement agencies in relation to the Phala Phala matter.
Ramaphosa further said his administration had only now started to regain some of the lost jobs in the past quarter.
“But we know that it is still a difficult time for many of our people. That is why we responded with a stimulus package ... to help workers through UIF and we paid out R70-billion,” he said.
“That is why we came up with assistance measures for companies that were in trouble so that they can get assistance and some loans. That is why we introduced the R350 special grant to assist our people,” Ramaphosa said.
We are going
to get guidance from the Constitutional Court