Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane will be facing charges of perjury in a court.
This was confirmed by the National Prosecuting Authority in a statement late on Tuesday night.
“The NPA has received several media queries with regards to circulating official documents about the Public Protector that include summons, and indictment and private correspondence between the Director of Public Prosecutions in Pretoria and the investigating team,” the statement read.
“Thus, the NPA wishes to confirm that the DPP indeed took a decision to prosecute after he carefully assessed the evidence presented to him by the Hawks. This is in line with the prosecution policy and the law.”
In another statement, Colonel Katlego Mogale of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) said they have “received a summons for the Head of an institution established in terms of Chapter 9 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa today [Tuesday]”.
“The incumbent was served with the summons and is set to appear in Pretoria Magistrate’s court on the 21 January 2021,” the statement said.
“The summons contains three counts of perjury. The DPCI will not engage any further on this matter until such time that the incumbent appears in court,” it said.
This after Accountability Now in October 2019 asked the Legal Practice Council (LPC) to strike Mkhwebane off the roll of advocates for perjury and attempting to mislead the court.
It sprung from 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 R1.2 billion for an apartheid era bailout to its subsidiary and the central bank’s mandate should be widened were set aside.
In August 2019, 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.
(Compiled by Carina Koen)