News / South Africa

Gosebo Mathope
2 minute read
29 Mar 2018
10:59 am

Defiant Mkhwebane says she won’t let the courts scare her

Gosebo Mathope

The public protector intends to appeal the high court's judgment against her and refuses to resign.

Public Protector Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane is waves as she leaves after a press briefing held at her offices, 4 December 2017, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Public Protector Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane has lambasted the courts for ruling against her, telling The Citizen the latest judgment by the high court “perpetuates the instilling of fear” in performing her duties.

Speaking through her spokesperson Oupa Segalwe, who was previously replaced with Cleo Mosana, Mkhwebane said she “intends petitioning the Supreme Court of Appeal” as she “believes it could arrive at a different conclusion”.

Mkhwebane reiterated that she would not resign and will see out her seven-year non-renewable term.

Yesterday the High Court in Pretoria dismissed Mkhwebane’s bid to appeal the personal costs order in the Absa/Bankorp review application.

Last month, a full bench of the court set aside the public protector’s finding that R1.125 billion must be recovered from Absa Bank for the Bankorp bailout in the mid-1980s and ordered her to pay 85% of Absa’s and the South African Reserve Bank’s costs and to personally pay 15% of the costs.

RELATED: Implicated companies accuse Mkhwebane of failing to interview them

Asked if the court’s pronouncement that she effectively does not understand her mandate reinforces perception in some quarters that she is not fit to hold office, Mkhwebane asserted she “understands her mandate fully” and that “one report can not be used to arrive at this conclusion”.

Several reports have suggested that the total amount Mkhwebane could be expected to reimburse the two parties will amount to R900 000. Mkhwebane’s office could also not confirm how much had been spent in legal fees, emphasising that “the Public Protector has a budget for legal costs”.

“Please note that the Public Protector is within her rights to oppose judicial reviews of any of her reports to defend the rule of law and for courts to interpret the law to enrich the legal fraternity,” Segalwe wrote.

Mkhwebane was asked whether the various rulings against her were not eroding her credibility and bringing her office into disrepute. Segalwe dismissed this and suggested the courts were making his boss’s working life unnecessarily difficult.

“The Public Protector is of the view that the judgment perpetuates the instilling of fear in her in the performance of her functions in terms of the constitution. She is of the view that the office has performed extremely well and that one report cannot be taken as a barometer for the overall performance of the Public Protector,” he said.

Civil engineering consultancy challenges Mkhwebane’s findings