President Cyril Ramaphosa has suspended Public Protector Busisiwe

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, the latest twist in a long-running battle between them.

The removal of the graft ombudsman comes three months after the president asked Mkhwebane to provide reasons why he shouldn’t suspend her.

In March, a parliamentary committee said it would proceed with a motion to impeach Mkhwebane on incapacity and misconduct.

South Africa’s constitution provides that the president can suspend the public protector “at any time after the start of proceedings by a committee of the National Assembly” for their removal, the presidency said in a statement on Thursday.

It said she would remain suspended until the parliamentary process had been completed.

Mkhwebane is an ally of former president Jacob Zuma and his supporters who oppose Ramaphosa’s rule.

She’s been a thorn in Ramaphosa’s side since he came to power in 2018, instituting a probe into allegations that he misled lawmakers about a campaign donation and, more recently, one into an alleged breach of ethics by him without providing details on the infringement. She denies being biased against the president.

On Wednesday, Mkhwebane’s office said she began investigating whether Ramaphosa violated the Executive Members Ethics Act after criminal charges were laid against him for allegedly concealing a robbery at his game farm. Ramaphosa has denied wrongdoing and has volunteered to appear before the ruling African National Congress’s integrity commission.