13 September 2017

South Africa: We Need Answers From Mkhwebane Regarding Her Actions


The revelations contained in the South African Reserve Bank's (SARB) supplementary affidavit raises uncomfortable questions about the current Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane's fitness to hold office. At best, it raises questions about the Public Protector's competence and knowledge of the law, and, at worst, it raises questions about her independence and impartiality.

On 17 July this year I wrote that one should think long and hard before calling for the removal of the Public Protector from office. The guarantee of her security of tenure (for a non-renewable term of seven years) is an important safeguard of the independence of the office of the Public Protector. There should therefore be convincing evidence of "misconduct, incapacity or incompetence" on the part of the Public Protector before steps are taken to remove her from office.

Some of the revelations contained in the SARB affidavit may turn out to provide such evidence. For the purposes of this article, it is important to explain two of the relevant revelations contained in the affidavit.

First, the Public Protector had a secret meeting with the Presidency's legal advisers shortly before she finalised her report on the "lifeboat" granted to Bankorp (later bought by ABSA) to discuss...

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