Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

If public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane persists in refusing to do the right thing by resigning, she has an action-packed short-term future awaiting her.

On September 3 the justice committee in the National Assembly will meet to consider her removal from office on the grounds of misconduct and incompetence. The binding dishonesty and bad-faith findings of the Constitutional Court against the public protector will loom large in the discussions.

The rap sheet of many adverse court findings concerning her nonsensical level of incompetence is long and emphatic. Before the committee meets, the deputy president (the president himself will doubtless consider himself conflicted) may, and should, suspend the public protector pending the finalisation of parliamentary processes against her.

Meanwhile, the public protector is under scrutiny by the disciplinary structures of the Legal Practice Council due to the unprofessional conduct inherent in the findings against her in our highest court. She faces being struck off the roll of advocates for lying under oath and attempting to mislead the courts, both capital offences for all officers of our courts.

The criminal justice administration is investigating perjury and related charges (and may also add exchange control violations based on certain HSBC revelations) against the public protector.

To top it all, the office of the public protector has been asked to investigate maladministration on her part in the way she does her work. The avalanche of successful review proceedings against her is overwhelming.

Properly advised, the public protector will now resign and seek to make peace with those of her detractors who have won, or may still win, personal costs awards against her. Any other course will be fraught, ruinously expensive, not in the public interest and unnecessary.

The writing is already on the wall; the hitherto incorrigible public protector must read it. “Busi must quit” is a simple concept.

Paul Hoffman, SC
Accountability Now