Accountability Now has confirmed to SABC News that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is expected to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on charges of perjury, on Thursday.
A summons was issued on December 15, 2020 for her to appear.
The Constitutional Court found that Mkhwebane had put forward a number of falsehoods in her 2017 Absa-Bancorp report, in which she found that Absa must repay R1.1 billion to the Reserve Bank for the “lifeboat” lending agreement between the Bank and the then Bankorp, which was later taken over by Absa.
The court also found that Mkhwebane may have been biased in her investigation and did not understand her Constitutional duty to be impartial.
Head of Accountability Now, Paul Hoffman, later laid criminal charges against Mkhwebane in 2019 after a Constitutional Court judgment.
Hoffman says, “The appearance of the Public Protector is but the first step in many processes that will involve an examination of her fitness to hold the position. She is also facing charges relating to her fitness to be an advocate which are under investigation by the Legal Practice Council and of course Parliament is in the process of examining whether she should be removed from office as Public Protector.”
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Hoffman says the perjury charges faced by Mkhwebane could have far-reaching and devastating consequences for her career and threatens her position as head of the Chapter Nine Institution.
“She finds herself in the perjury case between a rock and a hard place because if she puts up a defence that reflects adversely on her competence, then she gets herself into trouble with the Parliamentary investigation and if she is found to be guilty of perjury, she is likely to be struck off the roll of advocates and thereby disbarred from continuing in office as a Public Protector,” says Hoffman.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) however did not want to confirm Mkhwebane’s court date, only releasing a statement saying that there will be a first appearance of a head of a prominent institution at court eight at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court, scheduled for 8.30am on Thursday.
PP @AdvBMkhwebane to cooperate with authorities on perjury charges pic.twitter.com/xlZh3r3V4r
— Public Protector SA (@PublicProtector) December 18, 2020
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