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SACP questions Mkhwebane's fitness to hold office following ConCourt ruling

The SACP’s Alex Mashilo said that in light of the Constitutional Court’s findings against Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to have her as the Public Protector was toxic for the country’s constitutional democracy.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg on 22 July 2019. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

PRETORIA – The South African Communist Party (SACP) has suggested that the Constitutional Court findings against Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane rendered her unfit to hold her position in the office of the Public Protector while there has been a request to have her struck from the roll of advocates.

The apex court confirmed the High Court’s order that Mkhwebane personally pay for 15% of the reserve bank’s legal fees in the Bankorp lifeboat matter costs estimated to be about R800,000.

Mkhwebane was slapped with the punitive costs order because it was found she lied under oath and failed to conduct herself in a manner befitting of her office.

The SACP’s Alex Mashilo said that in light of the Constitutional Court’s findings against Mkhwebane, to have her as the Public Protector was toxic for the country’s constitutional democracy.

In a letter to the legal practice council, Accountability Now’s Advocate Paul Hoffman said there were serious, final and unappeasable adverse findings on the honesty, integrity and competence of Mkhwebane and an application should be brought to strike her from the roll of advocates.

Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos said the court confirmed earlier findings against the advocate.

The reserve bank has not commented on the judgment.

WATCH: 'Public Protector acted in bad faith' - ConCourt dismisses Bankorp costs appeal

CALLS FOR IMPEACHMENT

Calls for Parliament to start proceedings to have Mkhwebane impeached were growing louder following Monday’s Constitutional Court judgement.

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) said Parliament should not waste any more time and begin proceedings to have Mkhwebane impeached.

The ConCourt dismissed Mkhwebane's application to set aside a Pretoria High Court judgment, which ordered that she pay 15% of the costs in the South African Reserve Bank case from her own pocket.

• 5 findings the ConCourt made against Mkhwebane

The court did not only dismiss Mkhwebane’s appeal on costs, but it also rebuked her for being dishonest and providing falsehoods.

Casac’s executive secretary Lawson Naidoo said there was no need to wait for the other outstanding review applications by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan before starting the process to have Mkhwebane impeached.

“I think this judgment is definitive in that it comments on the conduct of the Public Protector. It basically confronts that she lied to the courts in her various affidavits. There were significant inconstancies in her affidavit and the court said the way she conducted the investigation was flawed,” he said.

It would now be up to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise to decide after the Democratic Alliance’s request that its complaint regarding her fitness to hold office be expedited.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)