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Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

PPSA’s ‘wasteful expenditure’ claim against Mkhwebane stands at R5 million – report

Mkhwebane has until Tuesday, 23 April, to respond to the PPSA's letter.

As the legal battle between former public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and her previous employer drags on, the Public Protector South Africa (PPSA) has reportedly slapped her with a R5 million “wasteful expenditure” claim.

In a letter from the PPSA to Mkhwebane, seen by Sunday Times, the office wants Mkhwebane to repay R31,000 for computers, an iPad and an iPhone, at least R2 million spent on her accommodation, at least R3 million in legal costs incurred during a defamation court battle with the DA and others and R40,000 owed for other assets bought for Mkhwebane that were not returned upon her impeachment.

ALSO READ: ‘Difficult case for her to mount’ – Mkhwebane goes to court for R10m bonus

Although Mkhwebane asked for an extension to 30 April to respond to the letter of demand, the PPSA reportedly insisted on her responding by Tuesday, 23 April.

The wasteful expenditure claims against Mkhwebane were initially revealed during the PPSA’s briefing to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on its 2022/2023 annual report in October last year.

The chapter 9 institution at the time told parliament that it was collating invoices on Mkhwebane’s rental and legal fees to determine how much she would need to pay back.

According to CEO Thandi Sibanyoni, the chapter 9 institution suffered R2.1 million in fruitless and wasteful expenditure as a result of the payments made on Mkhwebane’s accommodation.

On Thursday, Mkhwebane took to social media to voice her frustration with the PPSA for refusing to pay her R10 million gratuity, citing her impeachment.

“The CEO uses the PPSA car and state security officers due to alleged life threats resulting from the gratuity dispute? Contrary to Treasury regulations,” said Mkhwebane.

ALSO READ: Mkhwebane’s ‘conflict of interest’ derails deputy public protector search

“PP Gcaleka is chauffeured around using four state cars, and I wonder whether she will pay for such on vacating office?

“And whether she will also pay legal fees of opposing the Section 194 proceedings?”

Mkhwebane vs PPSA

On Thursday, the PPSA was slapped with a costs order in Mkhwebane’s legal challenge over her gratuity payment of R10 million.

The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria removed Mkhwebane’s litigation from the urgent court roll on Thursday, citing that the matter was “not ripe for hearing”.

Judge Colleen Collis criticised the Public Protector’s office and its head, Kholeka Gcaleka for failing to file documents that explained the rationale behind the Chapter 9 Institution’s refusal to pay out Mkhwebane’s gratuity in time for the case to be heard.

Collis, ordered Gcaleka’s office to pay punitive legal costs and gave the institution until Friday, 19 April, to submit the necessary documents.

Mkhwebane confirmed on Friday that the PPSA had submitted the required documents.

In response to the court ruling, the PPSA said it was what it had proposed to the court.

ALSO READ: Busisiwe’s gratuity battle: Public Protector’s Office stands firm

“The PPSA will not entertain any unfounded accusations. The merits of the main application are still subject of ongoing litigation, thus, no further comment will be made regarding this matter at this time.”

Additional reporting by Molefe Seeletsa