Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane must do the honourable thing and step aside.
This was the sentiment shared among high-ranking ANC figures and the party's alliance partner the SACP.
On Tuesday, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria delivered a scathing and damaging judgment against Mkhwebane's findings and remedial action in her investigation into Cyril Ramaphosa's ANC presidential campaign donations.
A full bench of judges set aside her findings on Tuesday, stating that she had acted unlawfully, recklessly and without jurisdiction to investigate the president's political party campaign.
Errors in law
The court also ruled that Mkhwebane's findings included material errors in law. Furthermore, the court found she did not have jurisdiction to investigate the funding of the CR17 campaign.
Mkhwebane has on several occasions been criticised by some in the ANC and its alliance partners for playing in the political field.
After suffering major losses in the courts with some of her high-profile findings set aside, Mkhwebane is preparing to face the scrutiny of Parliament, which will look into her fitness to hold office.
Speaking to News24 shortly after the court ruling on Tuesday, SACP national spokesperson Alex Mashilo said Mkhwebane needed to do the right thing and lead by example.
"It is important for the Public Protector to retreat and self-introspect. Frankly, looking at the court judgments, particularly the scathing conclusions reached by the courts regarding her conduct and the manner in which she handled the affairs of the PP as an institution, she has to advise South Africans whether she is worthy of being in that office."
Mashilo said Parliament will factor in recent court rulings when making its decision on Mkhwebane's fitness to hold office.
ANC Veterans' League president Snuki Zikalala agreed with Mashilo, adding that he was embarrassed by the ruling against the Chapter 9 institution. He said the judgment warranted strong action against Mkhwebane.
Zikalala added that Mkhwebane had allowed herself to be used in factional battles in the ANC.
"It's a damaging ruling and she has damaged the integrity and dignity of that office. It's clear that she is not fit to run that office and the courts have proved that she is not fair and impartial."
Head of the ANC presidency Sibongile Besani said the ruling affirmed his belief that Mkhwebane's findings against Ramaphosa lacked logical objectivity and played into the ANC factions.
"The Office of the Public Protector and its image has been terribly damaged, which speaks to her capabilities. This judgment shows that the good image of the office has been tainted. The facts are there to demonstrate that view," said Besani.
"Whether that goes to Parliament, we will leave that to the ANC to take a view.
"There was a clear agenda to tarnish the image of the president and thank God we are in a constitutional democracy. The courts of law have gone further to demonstrate that there was nothing criminal on the part of the president on that matter."