Presidency slams reports that Ramaphosa wants Mkhwebane arrested as 'complete fabrication'

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President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
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  • The Presidency says a report that President Cyril Ramaphosa is plotting to have Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane arrested is a "complete fabrication".
  • It was reported that "someone from Ramaphosa's office made a WhatsApp call" to pressure the police into arresting Mkhwebane.
  • Mkhwebane fears this is part of a plot to remove her.

The Presidency has dismissed a report that President Cyril Ramaphosa is "plotting" to have Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane arrested as a "complete fabrication".

On Monday, The Star reported that an unnamed source said, "... someone from Ramaphosa's office made a WhatsApp call", to pressure the police into arresting Mkhwebane on charges of perjury.

The publication reported that Ramaphosa then intends to suspend Mkhwebane.

IN DEPTH | 9 reasons why the court found Mkhwebane to be biased and had eroded public trust in the Public Protector's office

The report charged that Ramaphosa plans to suspend Mkhwebane before she releases her report into Defence and Military Veterans' Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula's flight to Harare in September, on which she ferried ANC officials. Ramaphosa approved Mapisa-Nqakula's visit abroad, albeit in contravention of the Ministerial Handbook.

"The report makes claims about President Cyril Ramaphosa and Presidency staff that are simply false and for which the newspaper provides no evidence," reads a statement from Ramaphosa's spokesperson, Tyrone Seale.

READ | Court blasts discredited source documents Mkhwebane relied on for SARS rogue unit findings

"President Ramaphosa has no knowledge of, nor any involvement in, the matters to which the article refers."

He said the report made very serious claims about Ramaphosa's conduct, "... without any factual basis".

He said Ramaphosa, "... is firmly committed to the rule of law and due process. He has never and will never interfere in any criminal investigation or other legal process".

Fears 

On Sunday, City Press reported that Mkhwebane fears a perjury charge, and that this would be used by Ramaphosa to suspend her. She says the charges are part of a campaign to remove her from office.

Perjury charges filed last year in August by civil society group Accountability Now, based on the findings of the Constitutional Court, following the case between the SA Reserve Bank and the Public Protector's office after the Constitutional Court found that she had, "... put forward a number of falsehoods".

Mkhwebane said that even if she was suspended, the team in her office would continue all the high-profile investigations they were already conducting, City Press reported.

The only mechanism for Ramaphosa is in terms of Section 194 of the Constitution, when the National Assembly institutes removal proceedings against the head of a Chapter 9 institution.

Preparations for such a process is underway, but Ramaphosa has indicated that he will not suspend Mkhwebane until her court proceedings against the removal proceedings is completed.

Mkhwebane was unsuccessful in the first part of the application – asking for an interdict to halt the proceedings – but the second part – in which she asks the courts to declare the National Assembly's rules for the removal of a Chapter 9 head unconstitutional and invalid – will be heard in February next year.

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