Public Protector consults legal team on Section 194 process
On Wednesday, 16 March 2022, the Public Protector learnt from news sources that the Speaker of the National Assembly wrote to the President, informing him of the Assembly's decision to kickstart the impeachment process against her. The letter in question was strangely not copied to the Public Protector. She learnt about it from the mass media.
This afternoon (Thursday, 17 March 2022), the Public Protector received a letter from the President confirming the news reports and informing her that he is considering suspending her in terms of section 194(3)(a). The letter further invites the Public Protector to, within 10 working days, provide reasons why the President should not take such a step. Although the President's letter makes reference to the correspondence from the Speaker and purports to attach it, no such letter was actually attached, suggesting a rushed process. The Public Protector will tomorrow (Friday, 18 March 2022) request a copy of the letter in question from the President.
The Public Protector would like to assure stakeholders that she continues to discharge her powers and functions as envisaged in the Constitution without fear, favour or prejudice, and that all 18 service points of her office remain fully operational.
In addition, the Public Protector wishes to assure stakeholders that while she is not averse to being held to account, she will always seek to ensure that the work of the Office of the Public Protector is not unduly and unlawfully disrupted. Contrary to the prevailing narrative, all she has ever asked for is a fair section 194 process. To that end, she will be consulting with her legal team first thing tomorrow morning (Friday, 18 March 2022) to map the way forward.
In the meantime, no further public statements will be made on this matter given its obviously legal nature.