Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: AFP
Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: AFP

Accountability Now has laid charges of perjury and defeating the ends of justice against public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, as well as asked her office to investigate her for maladministration. 

This follows the NGO’s request to the Legal Practice Council (LPC) more than three weeks ago to consider having her struck from the roll of advocates based on a judgment by the Constitutional Court in which a high court judgment upheld an order for her to pay costs out of her own pocket as a result of acting in bad faith.

This is now being considered by the relevant provincial LPC office. 

On Monday, the criminal complaint was laid by Accountability Now director Paul Hoffman. He submitted the complaint to the public protector’s office on the same day. 

He said in a statement on Tuesday that the criminal complaint will be investigated by the Hawks, while the maladministration complaint against Mkhwebane will have to be investigated by her deputy as she cannot investigate herself. 

Hoffman said in an affidavit submitted to the police that the criminal charges arose out of the same Constitutional Court judgment that found she was dishonest in her conduct in the saga surrounding the investigation into the apartheid-era loan by the SA Reserve Bank to Bankorp, which is now part of Absa. 

“While the matter was in the nature of civil proceedings, the findings of fact in relation to dishonesty, deliberate misrepresentation of facts and an attempt to mislead the courts all involve criminal activities on the part of the accused. It would appear from the said findings that the accused is guilty of perjury and defeating the ends of justice,” Hoffman said in the affidavit. 

In terms of the maladministration complaint submitted to her office, Hoffman said that if recent media reports, based on interviews with Mkhwebane as well as her actions on social media, were accurate “the office has a huge maladministration problem in the form of advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s utterances and actions, as set out in the reports”.

Hoffman said that he asked the office to verify the accuracy of the remarks attributed to Mkhwebane in summaries in Legalbrief, and “if they are accurate, an investigation of the way in which the advocate is leading the office is required and appropriate remedial action in a form allowed by law is required”.