ublic protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
ublic protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

The Legal Practice Council (LPC) will discuss a request by Accountability Now to have public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane struck from the roll of advocates, on Friday. 

The nongovernmental organisation made the request to the council following the scathing Constitutional Court judgment on Monday. The council regulates the affairs of, and exercises jurisdiction over, all legal practitioners, namely attorneys and advocates and candidate legal practitioners. 

Accountability Now director Paul Hoffman wrote to the council on Monday asking if it had taken note of the judgment and asked for confirmation that the council was looking into the matter, with a view to bringing an application to strike her from the roll of advocates. 

The Constitutional Court ordered Mkhwebane to pay 15% of the legal costs in her personal capacity in the review application, which set aside the report that looked into the apartheid-era loan from the SA Reserve Bank to Bankorp, which now forms part of Absa. 

The apex court said it would not interfere with the high court’s punitive costs order in her personal capacity, which Mkhwebane had appealed against, or with the finding that she had acted in bad faith.

The court also found that she had told a “number of falsehoods” in the course of the litigation.

The Legal Practice Council confirmed on Wednesday that Accountability Now had written to it to draw its attention to “the findings of dishonesty, perjury and incompetence against the public protector, and to inquire as to the taking of disciplinary proceedings against her as an advocate of the high court”. 

“The Legal Practice Council has responded to the correspondence from Accountability Now, concerning the organisation’s call for the striking of the name of the public protector from the roll of advocates, indicating it will deliberate on the matter on July 26 2019,” it said on Wednesday. 

In his letter to the council, Hoffman wrote that it was “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.”

He said her response to the court’s judgment on Monday that it sets a bad precedent, was “contemptuous of the court and does her no credit”.

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