The DA’s advocate argues that Mkhwebane’s suspension was not biased

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Advocate Steven Budlender on behalf of the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, has argued that the timeline leading up to Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s suspension does not remotely point to an apprehension of bias.

Budlender was arguing before the Constitutional Court which is hearing among other things, an application for leave to appeal the Western Cape High Court judgment which declared Mkhwebane’s suspension as Public Protector invalid.

The court found that there was a reasonable apprehension of bias when the decision was made.

Mkhwebane was suspended on June 9, just two days after she sent the President questions on the Phala-Phala saga, in which he was implicated.

Budlender said: “I accept that a person who only knows those facts, I sent him the questions on 7 June, he suspends me on the 9 June, I accept that if you view those facts in isolation, you have an apprehension of bias but you cannot view those facts in isolation. The reasonable well informed, thoughtful and objective observer doesn’t start the timeline on the 7th of June.”

He added: “The reasonable well informed, thoughtful and objective observer starts the timeline in March and understands what brought us there. That same reasonable observer understands that the reason that the president could not have made a decision before the 26th of May is because he was precluded from doing so because he kept getting undertakings from the public protector request.”

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