Public protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has been granted leave to appeal a Pretoria High Court ruling that she personally pay 15% of the legal costs after the court set aside her Bankorp-Ciex report, News24 reports.
A full bench of the high court handed down a scathing judgment against Mkhwebane earlier this year.
The judges set aside her Bankorp-Ciex report, which found that R1.125 billion needed to be recovered from Absa Bank for a bailout paid to Bankorp by the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) during apartheid.
The court ordered Mkhwebane to pay 85% of the costs for Absa and the Reserve Bank in her official capacity, but to also personally pay 15% of the costs.
Then finance minister Malusi Gigaba‚ the Sarb and Absa had complained that Mkhwebane had made her findings based on information riddled with factual inaccuracies. The problems with her findings include overlooking material facts provided by other parties.
Mkhwebane’s findings, which were effectively rendered null and void by the court, included that government had neglected its constitutional duty by failing to implement the findings of the Ciex report from a company established by British investigator Michael Oatley.
News24 reports the Constitutional Court granted Mkhwebane leave to appeal the personal costs order after in March the high court dismissed her bid to appeal the award.
It is further reported that her appeal will be heard on Tuesday, November 27, in the Constitutional Court.
Welcoming the Constitutional Court’s decision, spokesperson for the public protector Oupa Segalwe was quoted as saying: “Advocate Mkhwebane respects the courts and their constitutional authority to issue orders that bind all persons and organs of state to which they apply.”
“In the same breath, it is her considered view that a personal costs order against a public protector, as a result of the discharge of their constitutional mandate, is a threat to the ideal of a public protector that must meet the standards of independence, impartiality and the exercise of powers and performance of functions without fear, favour or prejudice.”