South Africa: Mkhwebane Loses Appeal to Return to Work

The embattled suspended Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has once again failed in her bid to get her job back.

This is after she lost her application for leave to appeal in the Western Cape High Court ruling on Thursday.

Adding to her legal woes, Mkhwebane was ordered to pay the legal costs personally.

Mkhwebane was suspended in June by President Cyril Ramaphosa over allegations that she was unfit to hold office, following a string of judgements against her.

She had a glimmer of hope in September, when the court ruled that her suspension was invalid. Despite this she could not return to her office, pending confirmation by the Constitutional Court.

The DA and President Cyril Ramaphosa, who were respondents in her application, appealed the high court decision.

Mkhwebane is also facing an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

Even there she suffered a blow, after her lawyer, Dali Mpofu, ditched the proceedings late last month.

This was in many quarters seen as delaying tactics.

At the inquiry, the head of legal in the office of the Public Protector, Cornelius van der Merwe, testified about various payments made to advocates amounting to R17 million.

Van der Merwe told the inquiry that Mkhwebane’s office had spent R147m on legal fees in the past six years.

The inquiry was adjourned until next week for the completion of the cross-examination of an earlier witness.

Mkhwebane was appointed public protector in 2016 for a seven-year fixed term that ends in 2023.


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