David Mabuza can step in to suspend Busisiwe Mkhwebane and thereby abruptly halting her delaying tactics
29 March 2022 – 13:03
The president’s legal advisers should know that he is under a constitutional duty to avoid the risk of a conflict of interest, which is a different kettle of fish to an actual conflict of interest.
This point was dealt with decisively by the Constitutional Court in the Nkandla matter. The conflict alleged need not actually materialise. The constitution makes provision for situations in which the president is unable to act.
If there is any reasonable risk of a conflict of interest, the deputy president could therefore act in the place of the president in weighing the question of whether to suspend the public protector pending the finalisation of the parliamentary impeachment proceedings against her.
It is manifestly in the interests of the public that Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who is a long way down the road to Stalingrad in her tactics, should be suspended. There is ample evidence available of her incompetence and her mendacity is the subject matter of pending perjury charges.
She seems determined to spin out the processes for her removal from office until her term expires. If the president suspends her she will probably, on her track record, challenge the decision. If David Mabuza the deputy president does so, she is short of ammunition against him.