Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has undertaken to cooperate with authorities on her pending perjury case, committing to present herself to the court as she “is confident” it “will clear her of any wrongdoing”.
Mkhwebane is expected to appear in court on 21 January 2021 on charges of perjury which stem from a case opened by advocate Paul Hoffman from Accountability Now in 2019.
Mkhwebane was on Tuesday, 15 December served with a summons to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court to face charges of perjury.
The case opened by Hoffman was based on a Constitutional Court decision which confirmed an earlier adverse ruling of the Gauteng division of the High Court in Pretoria in respect of her South African Reserve Bank-CIEX investigation report.
The highest court in South African law also ruled that Mkhwebane was not honest in her investigation into an apartheid-era deal between the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and Absa bank, that she acted in bad faith, that she fell “egregiously short of what is required” of her office, and that her report on the matter was flawed.
The damning judgment also found that Mkhwebane had “put forward a number of falsehoods” in court, “including misrepresenting under oath”.
In a statement on Friday, her office said: “As a law-abiding citizen, the public protector will cooperate and present herself to the court on 21 January 2021 as required and is confident that the court will clear her of any wrongdoing.”
Mkhwebane said she learned through media reports that Hoffman had written to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting him to suspend her.
“It is not for the first time that Advocate Hoffman SC has sought to nail the public protector. In July 2019, he laid a complaint with the Legal Practice Council to have her struck off the roll of advocates. In March 2020, the Gauteng division of the High Court in Pretoria dismissed his application for a declaratory order that the public protector was unfit to hold office.
“The public protector views these as being characteristic of Advocate Hoffman SC, who, in 2013, unsuccessfully pursued the impeachment of the chief justice over the comments that the chief justice had reportedly made in respect of the transformation of the judiciary. This led to a complaint of professional misconduct being lodged against Advocate Hoffman SC with the General Council of the Bar.
“Out of respect for the court process, the public protector will not make further comments on this matter.”
Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu