ConCourt dismisses Mkhwebane's appeal against Bankorp costs order

The Constitutional Court has dismissed Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s appeal against a personal costs order.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: @PublicProtector/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court has upheld the High Court order that Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane personally pay for 15% of the South African Reserve Bank’s legal fees in the Bankorp lifeboat matter.

In 2017, the Public Protector ordered the Special Investigating Unit to recover more than R1 billion on behalf of the central bank from Absa Bank but this report and its remedial action was reviewed and set aside last year.

In the scathing majority judgment, Justice Sisi Khampepe said that Mkhwebane’s conduct warranted the personal costs order against her.

"This court upholds the High Court's finding that the Public Protector acted in bad faith and agrees with the High Court that she exceeded the bounds of her potential indemnification under the Public Protector Act."

Khampepe said that Mkhwebane misled the court.

"The Public Protector put forward a number of falsehoods in the cause of litigation, including misrepresenting under oath before the High Court, that the economic analysis that underpinned the final report was based on expert economic advice, whereas this was false as the report was not based on expert economic advice."

The minority judgment, however, found in favour of the Public Protector and would have granted her the appeal.

Following the ruling, the Public Protector's office responded via social media, saying that it would study the judgment.