The Public Protector's frequent setbacks in the courts have come on the back of regular advice she took from Paul Ngobeni, who is neither a Senior Counsel nor a registered legal practitioner.
Paul Ngobeni is neither a Senior Counsel nor a registered legal practitioner, yet Busisiwe Mkhwebane regularly relied on his opinions in several key matters which unsurprisingly sank when they got to the courts.
This came at a cost to taxpayers, of course, as invoices from Ngobeni's firm, Ngobeni Executive Consultants, and attached to letters in the Section 194 parliamentary impeachment inquiry into Mkhwebane's fitness to hold office, have revealed.
The committee previously heard that between 2016/17, total costs to the Public Protector South Africa (PPSA) for "consulting and professional fees" amounted to R158-million, of which R147-million went towards "legal fees" alone. R52-million was spent by Mkhwebane on defending reports and R14.9-million on fighting her impeachment inquiry process.
Ngobeni was paid various amounts, the committee has heard, including R96,000 for a legal opinion on Mkhwebane's failed CR17 report, later set aside by the courts, and around R30,000 for penning articles criticising former minister of State Security, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, and minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni.
The letters, emails and invoices...