Public Protector’s interdict bid postponed after ‘unfortunate incident’ with rescission application

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Public Protector's interdict bid postponed after 'unfortunate incident' with rescission application
Public Protector's interdict bid postponed after 'unfortunate incident' with rescission application

Africa-Press – Ethiopia. The Public Protector’s application for an interdict against President Cyril Ramaphosa suspending her and Parliament continuing its impeachment process, has been postponed after an “unfortunate incident” with her rescission application to the Constitutional Court.

The nature of this incident wasn’t explained in court.

In February, the Constitutional Court effectively gave Parliament the green light to go ahead with the impeachment, provided that Mkhwebane was afforded an attorney.

Mkhwebane has since approached the Constitutional Court to ask it to rescind that order.

After Parliament’s Section 194 Committee decided to proceed with the impeachment proceedings, and Ramaphosa asked her to provide reasons why she should not be suspended, she approached the Western Cape High Court for interdicts.

The application was to be heard by a full bench on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Mkhwebane’s legal counsel, advocate Dali Mpofu SC, said there was an “unfortunate incident” regarding their rescission application without explaining what it was.

Public Protector asks court to halt impeachment and stop Ramaphosa from suspending her

There was an agreement among all the parties, except the DA, represented by advocate Stephen Budlender SC, that the matter should be postponed to 18 and 19 May.

Budlender said the DA did not support the postponement, as there was no proper basis for it, and it would lead to a delay and prejudice. However, as a matter of practicality, because the other parties had agreed to a postponement, he would not object.

Judge Nathan Erasmus said on Monday that the bench was informed of “certain unfortunate developments” with the rescission application. Erasmus and the two other judges on the bench, Judge Mokgoatji Dolamo and Judge Derek Wille, had a case management meeting with all the parties.

Erasmus said they were prepared to hear the case on Tuesday and Wednesday. However, they were of the view that a postponement should be granted.

Mkhwebane argues that Ramaphosa has a conflict of interest and, therefore, can’t suspend her. She further argues that the Section 194 Committee “breached the Constitution” when it decided to continue with its work.

She said the committee had failed to take her rescission application into account in contravention of the National Assembly’s Rule 89.

Rule 89 reads as follows:

The Section 194 Committee – named after the section of the Constitution dealing with the removal of the heads of Chapter 9 institutions – was due to start the impeachment proceedings next week.

The interdicts are only the first part of Mkhwebane’s application. In the second part, she wants the court to declare National Assembly Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula’s letter “instigating” her suspension unlawful and to set it aside. This is in reference to the letter Mapisa-Nqakula sent to Ramaphosa informing him that the Section 194 Committee dealing with the impeachment is continuing with its work.

Mkhwebane’s term of office comes to an end in October 2023.

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