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Mkhwebane may be barred from practising law, as total legal costs revealed

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When it rains, it bloody-well pours for Busisiwe Mkhwebane. The embattled Public Protector is fighting two of the most powerful people in the country through the courts, but she is also facing some more personal issues. Her current schedule reads like a nightmare version of a Craig David song.

Why Busisiwe Mkhwebane could be struck from the roll

On Sunday, she was chastised by President Cyril Ramaphosa is a televised address. On Monday, she was deemed “dishonest” by ConCourt over her Bankorp report. On Tuesday morning, her legal team went into battle Pravin Gordhan’s application against her SARS report. On Tuesday afternoon, her entire career came into question.

That’s because The Legal Practice Council confirmed to Fin24 on Tuesday that it had received a request for Public Protector Adv Busiswe Mkhwebane to be struck off the roll of advocates. An NPO called Accountability Now submitted the request, claiming that it was “intolerable” for someone like her to be accused of perjury.

The cost of Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s legal fees

While we wait for the finalities of this latest twist, one thing that has been made certain is what Mkhwebane owes to the courts. She was ordered to pay 15% of the SA Reserve Bank’s legal fees on Monday, and 85% of those attributed to the Public Protector’s office. It’s understood this total stands at R900 000 and has attracted a crowdfunding campaign.

But, back to matters that are strictly related to Pravin Gordhan, and it was an epic day in the courtroom. Lawyers for both the minister and the Public Protector locked horns, with Mkhwebane’s defence team suggesting their client has been “insulted and disrespected” by Gordhan, and that any interdict would prove the minister to be corrupt.

“The reason she has opposed the interdict, in this case, is because [Gordhan] insulted the public protector in a case where classical legal questions had to be decided by the court. This is an allegation made by a member of the national executive, who has a duty to protect the public protector.

“An interdict will frustrate the action of holding the executive to account. If the interdict is granted, it would convey a message to the public that what has been said to her is correct: That he is captured.”

– Thabani Masuku, Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s lawyer

Arguments made by Pravin Gordhan

However, Pravin’s team came roaring back with there own points. Judgement has been reserved on Tuesday:

“The legality of the public protector’s findings is subject to a challenge by the minister. There is a serious dispute about the legality of the public protector’s findings. Gordhan was never offered a hearing: It may also be that the president has no power to take disciplinary action against him”

“The findings in relation to the investigative unit have repeatedly been repudiated. The legislative provision – even if it applied to the SARS unit – did not gather national security intelligence. It was lawfully established and the PP’s finding that it was unlawful was wrong in law.”

– Wim Trengrove, Pravin Gordhan’s lawyer

(Source: The South African)


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