Ramaphosa Suspends South Africa’s Embattled Graft Watchdog

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South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, delivers a speech during the memorial service for former Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on April 29, 2022. (Photo by TONY KARUMBA / AFP)

 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday suspended the country’s top corruption watchdog as parliament prepares long-delayed impeachment hearings against her.

Busisiwe Mkhwebane was made public protector by former president Jacob Zuma.

Her appointment was widely seen as an attempt to protect Zuma from corruption claims. For years she has filed, and lost, a series of cases against her impeachment.

Parliament, dominated by Ramaphosa’s African National Congress, agreed last month to open impeachment proceedings.

“Advocate Mkhwebane will remain suspended until the… process in the National Assembly has been completed,” the presidency said in a statement.

The announcement came a day after Mkhwebane opened a probe into an alleged coverup by Ramaphosa of a 2020 burglary at his farm.

Rivals say the scandal revealed a money-laundering scheme by the wealthy president, claiming that thieves had found some $4 million in cash hidden in his furniture.

The presidency said Mkhwebane’s deputy would take over all pending cases.

“The absence of Advocate Mkhwebane from office will therefore not impede the progress of any investigations that are pending or underway,” its statement said.

Mkhwebane’s impeachment proceedings are the latest skirmish in a battle to undo the rampant corruption of the Zuma era.

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