President Cyril Ramaphosa did not take “delight” in removing former Public Protector, advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, from office. However, he had to follow the prescripts of the Constitution.
This is according to Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya, who briefed the media on Thursday about the president's diary in the coming weeks.
Responding to a question about removing Mkhwebane from office, Magwenya said it was not a matter of "emotions”, but Ramaphosa was guided by the Constitution and all other processes that had been followed in arriving at his decision.
Following the National Assembly voting overwhelmingly on Monday for Mkhwebane's removal, Ramaphosa wrote to her on Wednesday to inform her of his decision to fire her.
Magwenya told journalists that the process to remove Mkhwebane from office was “well guided by the Constitution” and “not a matter that the president or anybody else can conduct themselves arbitrarily.”
“The Constitution lays out very clear steps that have to be undertaken, and the president has strictly followed those guidelines and stipulations from the Constitution,” he said.
"Is it something that one would take delight in? Of course not. The Office of the Public Protector is a very important institution of our democracy, [and] the expectation is that that institution is properly led, and the expectation is that that institution is able to dispense its mandate properly without any form of disturbance or without any form of interference," he added.
“Parliament or the Section 194 committee concluded that advocate Mkhwebane had misconducted herself and that she was incompetent and, in that regard, as I said, the president is guided by the Constitution in terms of his actions. It is not an issue of emotions; it is an issue of what is stipulated in the Constitution and ensuring that those prescripts of our Constitution are followed in the manner that they are laid out.”
The Presidency spokesperson would not comment on what benefits Mkhwebane would lose or whether she would be given a golden handshake. He said Parliament was best placed to deal with those issues.
“In so far as the president is concerned, the president has fulfilled his constitutional obligation on this matter [and] other matters going forward will then be dealt with by the National Assembly,” he said.