News | South Africa | Courts
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has launched a salvo in the direction of the Western Cape High Court,
accusing it of having “prejudged” her case to interdict National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise from forging ahead with potential impeachment proceedings against her.
The court threw the case out last year and has also since refused the public protector leave to appeal.
But she’s not going down without a fight and has now launched another application for leave to appeal in the Constitutional Court.
In the papers, which were filed last month, Mkhwebane claimed to have been the victim of a biased bench.
Judge Vincent Saldanha, who wrote the high court’s judgment, found Mkhwebane had not made out her case.
But he said even if she had, he would have found against her because of the severity of the charges she faced.
And, argued Mkhwebane, this was in line with her view that the court had “prejudged” the case.
“It was not prepared to deviate from its initial stance no matter what arguments were advanced in favour of [myself],” she added.
Mkhwebane also took aim at Saldanha. “The learned presiding judge virtually positioned himself and took on the posture of opposing counsel,” she said.
“All of the submissions made on behalf of the [speaker], including those which were patently unsustainable and not seriously advanced, were embraced in the judgment while all the submissions made on behalf of [myself], including those which were not seriously refuted or were irrefutable, were invariably rejected.
“When watching the proceedings, I know that I was not alone in observing these disturbing features of the case.”
Mkhwebane said the judgment hadn’t provided reasons for “some of the most important conclusions reached by the court”, nor had it dealt with some of the “key” issues she had raised.
One such issue was around the limitations on legal representation contained in the rules for the removal of office bearers of Chapter Nine institutions.
“There can be no conceivable reason, and none was advanced, why full representation is guaranteed in the cases of the impeachment of a president and a judge, but not the head of a Chapter Nine institution,” she said.
Mkhwebane has also launched a judicial review of the rules and is due back in the Western Cape High Court next month for arguments in those proceedings.
Mkhwebane is also due in the Pretoria court this month to answer to charges of perjury levelled against her by anti-corruption lobby group Accountability Now in connection with allegations that she lied under oath on various occasions.
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