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Public Protector Mkhwebane suspends senior official over calls for her to resign

Sphelo Samuel has been served with a notice of suspension, a day after he called on Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to resign.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has suspended her representative in the Free State.

Sphelo Samuel has been served with a notice of suspension, a day after he called on Mkhwebane to resign.

He said the Public Protector was incapacitated and should step down to maintain the integrity of her office.

Samuel was the most senior official in the Public Protector’s office to call for an investigation into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.

He said he was not surprised by his suspension: “It started this morning when they blocked my access to emails and the internet and I couldn’t communicate with anyone, including my staff.”

Samuel’s calls for Mkhwebane to step down follows similar requests by senior investigator Tebogo Kekana in December last year.

The Public Protector was dealt a major blow on Tuesday after the High Court in Pretoria set aside her report on the CR17 matter.

Samuel said his suspension further supports the adverse findings made by the court, which ruled she was irrational and reckless in her judgments.

WATCH: Court: Ramaphosa didn’t intentionally mislead Parliament on CR17 funding