OUTA beefs up its complaint on the Public Protector
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has submitted to Parliament copies of the recent negative court findings against the Public Protector, to back up our earlier complaint.
In June, OUTA petitioned Parliament for an inquiry into the Public Protector’s conduct and competence. More than 21 000 people signed a petition supporting OUTA's decision to take action.
OUTA’s initial submission was based on our belief that Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has failed in her constitutional duties, which has been clearly demonstrated in the numerous court findings against her.
The additional findings, which include the devastating Concourt judgment of 22 July and the Pretoria High Court judgment of 15 August, add weight to our call for her removal from office. In the Concourt matter, the Public Protector lost her appeal against a high court order that she must personally pay 15% of the Reserve Bank’s costs on a punitive scale after she was found to have abused her office in her investigation against the Bank. In the High Court matter, a costs order on the Estina matter in which the court had previously ruled against the Public Protector, the court ordered her to pay 7.5% of the applicants' costs in her personal capacity. Such personal costs orders are an indication of strong disapproval by the courts.
On 22 August, OUTA filed a charge of perjury against Advocate Mkhwebane, based on the findings in the Concourt case. The Concourt found that she had mislead the court, presenting “a number of falsehoods” including misrepresentations under oath. Perjury involves the unlawful and intentional making of a false statement during a judicial process.
“We find this conduct of serious concern and unbecoming for a person filling this important role in society,” says Advocate Stefanie Fick, OUTA’s Chief Legal Officer. "In short, the Public Protector’s Office has been compromised by the current incumbent and this does not bode well for the public."
"We trust the parliamentary portfolio committee will take our submission and the supplementary affidavit seriously and that Parliament will do the right thing and remove Advocate Mkhwebane sooner rather than later,” says Fick.
Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise has previously confirmed to OUTA that our original petition was forwarded to the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, which will discuss the various complaints against the Public Protector.