Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has taken aim at her deputy, Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka, saying she is acting as President Cyril Ramaphosa’s protector.
A vitriolic Mkhwebane, speaking to the media outside the Public Protector’s office on Tuesday, said Gcaleka should have kept quiet regarding her suspension as well as whether she was returning to office on Tuesday.
In a statement, Gcaleka said Mkhwebane was not authorised to resume her duties since there was no communication from Ramaphosa.
Gcaleka should have kept quiet
“I think the deputy public protector has exposed herself. She also exposed what I have been saying that she [is acting] as if she is working with these prosecutors, which is totally wrong. She should have kept quiet [and] she should have allowed the president to deal with this matter,” said Mkhwebane.
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Mkhwebane, whose term of office ends on 14 October, said Gcaleka was “embarrassing” and acting “as the president’s protector”.
“I think she should have kept quiet and not entertained all of this,” Mkhwebane said.
She refused to comment on the possibility of Gcaleka becoming her successor, saying it is up to the public to decide.
ANC endorsing Gcaleka
The Sunday Times reported that ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula ordered 230 ANC MPs to be present at the 11 September vote and that they back Gcaleka’s appointment.
“The only acceptable explanation for missing the vote on the appointment of public protector Kholeka Gcaleka is if you are dead,” he reportedly said during a caucus meeting in Johannesburg last Friday.
An insider, who also attended the meeting, told the publication that Mbalula issued a stern warning, saying: “You dare vote your own way, you will meet us.”