South Africa: Accountability Now's Bid to Have Mkhwebane Declared Unfit for Office to Be Heard Next Year

An application from anti-corruption pressure group Accountability Now seeking to have Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane declared unfit for office will only be heard next year.

On Tuesday, Accountability Now director advocate Paul Hoffman confirmed to News24 that the case, which was scheduled to be heard in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday, was moved to February 2020 after the EFF applied for leave to be joined as an intervening respondent.

In July this year, the organisation asked the Legal Practice Council (LPC) to strike Mkhwebane off the roll of advocates for perjury and attempting to mislead the court.

This after a ruling by the Constitutional Court that found Mkhwebane had acted in bad faith and put forward a "number of falsehoods" in the Absa/Bankorp case.

Hoffman told the LPC: "As you know, it is intolerable that an officer of the court should be found to be lying under oath.

"Our highest court has so found in respect of Ms Mkhwebane. Her response that the judgment of the court creates a bad precedent is contemptuous of the court and does her no credit."

The Constitutional Court majority judgment upheld a February 2018 Gauteng High Court ruling that Mkhwebane pay 15% of the SA Reserve Bank's legal fees in the Absa/Bankorp review case.

Her remedial action that Absa should pay back R1.2bn for an apartheid era bailout to its subsidiary and the central bank's mandate should be widened were set aside.

The apex court found she had acted in bad faith and put forward a "number of falsehoods" during the litigation.

In August, the Hawks confirmed they were investigating Mkhwebane after a complaint was laid by Accountability Now, which laid criminal charges of perjury and defeating the ends of justice against her.

It also lodged a maladministration complaint against her with the very office she heads.


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