DEVELOPING | Public Protector hearings: Ramaphosa rejects calls to testify about CR17

President Cyril Ramaphosa has rejected suggestions by UDM MP Banti Holomisa that he should be called to testify at the Public Protector’s impeachment inquiry.

Here is the full statement:

The National Assembly initiated a section 194 inquiry to investigate grounds of misconduct and incompetence against Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane who occupied the office of the Public Protector.

President Cyril Ramaphosa did not make any allegations against Advocate Mkhwebane. Therefore, the President cannot be compelled to provide evidence proving or disproving these accusations.

President Ramaphosa had in accordance with the section 194(3)(a) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, decided to suspend Advocate Mkhwebane from the office of the Public Protector effective 9 June 2022.Section 194(3)(a) of the Constitution provides that the President may suspend the Public Protector(or any member of a Chapter 9 institution) “at any time after the start of proceedings by a committee of the National Assembly for [their] removal”.

Accordingly, President Ramaphosa rejects the suggestion by the Hon. General Bantu Holomisa that he should give evidence on his 2017 party political campaign during the section 194 inquiry.

Gen. Holomisa’s speculation that the CR17 campaign “may have” used public funds is baseless, misdirected and vindictive. It is an abuse of parliamentary processes and privilege. It has never been alleged that public funds were used by the CR17 campaign.

The Constitutional Court judgement last year ruled that the Public Protector had no authority to investigate the CR17 campaign, given that this was not an organ of state and therefore not within the Public Protectors remit.

Gen Holomisa is well advised that the Constitutional Court remains the final arbiter of justice and its judgments must be accepted and respected. Parliament does not have the mandate to review Constitutional Court judgments in the separation of powers of the Executive, Legislative and the Judiciary.

The section 194 inquiry into Advocate Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office is not a platform to make unsubstantiated allegations that fall outside of the scope of inquiry.

– Karyn Maughan