- Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane are currently at loggerheads
- Mkhwebane wants the president to take action against Pravin Gordhan
- Ramaphosa has said he will not, but the Public Protector may ask a court to compel him to act
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has launched investigations into both Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan in recent months.
She has already found that Gordhan violated the Constitution regarding an issue dating back to 2010, and is expected to make a similar adverse finding against Ramaphosa.
But what does this situation really mean for the president and the Public Protector?
Even though he may wish to, Ramaphosa cannot ignore the Public Protector's findings. This is because the Constitutional Court ruled in 2016 that action recommended by the Public Protector is binding. In other words, the court affirmed the power of the Public Protector, according to News24.
As a result, Mkhwebane argues that Ramaphosa must take action against Gordhan. However, at this point it appears that the president will not, as there is currently a legal process underway to have the Public Protector's report set aside for being unconstitutional.
Regardless, the Public Protector argues that action must still be taken, despite this legal process. However, she has not yet said exactly what sought of remedial action she recommends. This gives Ramaphosa some latitude in which to make his next move.
However, any kind of challenge from Ramaphosa is likely to be met with resistance from Mkhwebane. She may urge a court to compel Ramaphosa to take action, for example.
Indeed, Mkhwebane has hit out at her critics in recent weeks and appears unwilling to back down from a fight. It remains to be seen exactly what this will mean for both her and Ramaphosa going forward, but the conflict is unlikely go away any time soon.
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