Mkhwebane, accused of perjury, to appear in court in Jan

This follows a perjury complaint by Accountability Now director Paul Hoffman.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on 4 December 2017. Picture: Thomas Holder/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is expected to appear in court next month - this time as an accused.

This follows a perjury complaint by Accountability Now director Paul Hoffman.

It’s understood Mkhwebane will be appearing in the Pretoria Magistrates Court on three counts of perjury after she was served with summons.

It’s being reported that the director of public prosecutions (DPP) took a decision to prosecute Mkhwebane after assessing all the evidence collected by the Hawks.

"The NPA wishes to confirm that the DPP indeed took a decision to prosecute after he carefully assessed the evidence presented to him by the Hawks. This is in line with the prosecution policy and the law," The NPA said in a statement on Wednesday morning.

Hoffman said the complaint stretched back to 2017.

“It is a simple case for the State but it’s a massive step forward and the fact that the State is prepared to investigate is quite important. The next step will be writing to the president.”

Accountability Now said it would be writing to President Cyril Ramaphosa asking him to suspend Mkhwebane pending the outcome of her criminal case.

Hoffman said they wanted her to step aside for now.

“The president has the power to suspend the Public Protector and the fact that the NPA issued summons, means it is a very serious charge. There is sufficient cause for him to suspend her.”

The Public Protector took office in 2016 and Accountability Now said the complaints started the following year when she allegedly lied under oath and delivered misdirected reports against the South African Reserve Bank and Absa.

The Public Protector's office has not yet been available for comment.