The case between former public protector COO Basani Baloyi and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has been dismissed with costs in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
News24 reports that Judge Mmonoa Teffo ruled on Thursday that the court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the urgent application Baloyi brought against Mkhwebane.
Mkhwebane dismissed Baloyi in October in what she believed was a purge as a result of being “an obstacle to the public protector and CEO [Vusi Mahlangu] using their powers for their own personal advancement”.
Baloyi subsequently dragged Mkhwebane and Mahlangu to the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, citing “unlawful” conduct, and a declaratory order that Mkhwebane abused her for “ulterior purposes”.
In a back and forth of court papers, Baloyi alleged Mkhwebane had breached her constitutional duty pertaining to independence and objectivity, illustrated through her “extremely unusual” handling of certain cases.
“In a range of high-profile investigations, the public protector has failed to act impartially and independently. In preparing reports, and in the timing of releasing reports, she has abused her office,” she said.
These investigations include the CR17 campaign funding investigation as well as the so-called rogue unit investigation – both reports are being dealt with in other court cases.
Baloyi said Mkhwebane and Mahlangu had acted unconstitutionally in dealing with a number of high-profile investigations “to advance their own personal agendas”. This, she added, related to both the content of the report and the timing of their release.
Mkhwebane’s spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, however, said Mahlangu was always kept at “arms-length” from investigations.
The public protector subsequently denied the allegations, labelling them “scandalous, vexatious and/or irrelevant”. She added that the application should be struck off the roll with punitive costs.
Baloyi’s legal counsel told News24 that they were currently going through the judgement to decide what their next move would be.
(Background reporting by News24 Wire)