South Africa: Public Protector in Court On Perjury Charges That Her Lawyer Describes As 'Frivolous'

Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
analysis

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane appeared in the magistrate's court in Pretoria on Thursday morning, charged with three counts of perjury. Mkhwebane is accused of having lied to the courts over her SA Reserve Bank investigation - and becomes the first sitting head of a Chapter 9 institution to face criminal charges.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane made a brief appearance in the Pretoria Regional Court on Monday, flanked by her lawyer Dali Mpofu.

Although Mkhwebane is accustomed to having her reports taken on legal review, on this occasion she was facing the heat personally: charged with three counts of perjury.

No arguments were heard and no pleas entered at this stage, as the state and Mkhwebane's counsel had agreed on a postponement of the matter until 25 March 2021. Mpofu told the court, however, that they intend to seek a withdrawal of the case on the grounds that the charges against the Public Protector are "frivolous".

The perjury charges were laid against Mkhwebane by the head of NGO Accountability Now, advocate Paul Hoffman, in August 2019. They stem from Mkhwebane's conduct during the judicial review of her investigation into the SA Reserve Bank's bailout of apartheid bank Bankorp between 1985 and...

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