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D-day for Mkhwebane as Legal Practice Council reviews roll of advocates

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Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane may have her name scratched from the roll of advocates, as the Legal Practice Council (LPC) of South Africa delivers a judgement on her competence later on Friday.

This deliberation comes in the wake of numerous crushing courtroom defeats for the embattled Mkhwebane, the most damning of which, Monday’s Constitutional Court judgement which found that the Public Protector had been “dishonest” in her investigatory undertakings.

Mkhwebane found to be “dishonest”

Mkhwebane was found to be personally liable for legal costs relating to her review – and eventual overturn – of her scathing report into the Absa/Bankdorp matter which was successfully challenged by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

It’s estimated that Mkhwebane will have to cough up approximately R900 000 to comply with the court order.

Worse still for the Public Protector, is the deliberation undertaken by the Legal Practice Council, which, after receiving official complaints from civil societies, seeks to determine whether Mkhwebane should still be able to practice as an advocate in South Africa. LPC acting chief executive, Charity Nzuza, confirmed that a verdict would be reached on Friday.

Public Protector may face charges of perjury

Accountability Now, the public interest litigation institute which approached the LPC on the matter, added that Mkhwebane’s glaring incompetence – proven by recent judicial defeats – should force an immediate resignation. If the Public Protector refused to step down from her position of power, she could then, according to Accountability Now, be impeached and even found guilty of perjury. The latter holds serious ramifications for Mkhwebane.

In addition, the Public Protector is currently embroiled in legal contestation with minister Pravin Gordhan and President Cyril Ramaphosa. Both have taken scathing reports, on SARS and Bosasa, respectively, on judicial review, seeking to interdict remedial action and have the Public Protector’s findings overturned.

Following the Constitutional Court ruling, the Democratic Alliance (DA) formally requested that parliamentary processes be instituted to accelerate Mkhwebane’s removal from office.

(Source: The South African)

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