It appears that people’s trust in the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has continued to diminish following growing cases of her alleged ‘breach of the national constitution’.
The South African Reserve bank is insisting on asking the Pretoria High Court to declare that Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane abused her office and has breached the Constitution through the biased in which she conducted an investigation into the apartheid era Bankorp bailout.
The SARB and ABSA claim that the Public Protector’s report into the apartheid era bailout was procedurally unfair and that it rested on material errors of fact and law.
Advocate Kate Hofmeyr‚ for the SARB‚ told the High court on Tuesday that Mkhwebane’s decision on the controversial Bankorp project was not without the assistance of the President who she had at least two meetings with during the period between her provisional and final reports.
She also stated that no other party was afforded the same treatment‚ and that there was no proper recording of these seemingly clandestine meetings.
The Public Protector instructed the Special Investigating Unit to recover more than R1 billion from Absa.
Advocate Katie Hofmeyr referred the court to a hand-written note by Mkhwebane which indicates she discussed the vulnerability of the SARB with the State Security Agency.
“There’s no credible basis on which that was a proper subject matter for any engagement between the Public Protector and the State Security Agency.”
“This investigation was handled in a manner that abuses her office… her independence was further breached by her meeting with the SSA. There was a handwritten note of the meeting [at which] the subject matter was how vulnerable the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) was‚” Hofmeyr said, adding that Mkhwebane’s meeting with both the Presidency and the State Security Agency (SSA) was not recorded.
Hofmeyr said Mkhwebane has not denied these facts in her answering affidavit – saying she did not even deal with the June meeting with the presidency‚ but revealing another meeting with the presidency in April.
This comes amid further reports from the Public Protector about a gross misappropriation of states fund during the burial of the South African statesman, Nelson Mandela.
Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane stated that over R300 million was wasted in a poorly organised burial ceremony of the former President in 2013.
“This weakness was explored and capitalised on by some service providers where even prices were inflated unnecessarily, invoices were paid and there’s no proof that goods were delivered,” she said.
Meanwhile, Absa has accused Mkhwebane of blatant plagiarism when advancing new reasons to support her findings.
Absa Advocate Gilbert Marcus said Mkhwebane provided entirely new reasons to support her report findings when she submitted her answering affidavit.
Marcus submitted a document which revealed an entire section of argument were lifted directly from a report by economist Tshepo Mokoka.
“If this were a first-year university student they would be disciplined for plagiarism. She has created the grossly misleading impression that in those paragraphs, those are her findings.”
The advocate says the court should severely censure Mkhwebane for the misleading submissions. He said she should be ordered to pay the legals costs also.
The matter continues on Wednesday.