Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s perjury case has been postponed to 25 March to prepare for pre-trial, with the state confident Mkhwebane would not evade proceedings.
Represented by advocate Dali Mpofu, Mkhwebane made her first appearance at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday morning on three charges of perjury.
It emerged in court on Thursday that Mkhwebane was planning to challenge her prosecution for perjury.
Mpofu told the court that they would be making representations for the withdrawal of the charges,“which we regard as frivolous and contrived”, he added.
He said if their representations were rejected, that they could potentially approach the High Court but that they would know more in March.
In the meantime, Magistrate Adriaan Bekker would also consider the media’s application to broadcast the proceedings.
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The charges against Mkhwebane relate to allegations that she lied under oath about meetings she had had with former president Jacob Zuma, in affidavits submitted to the North Gauteng High Court and the Pretoria Regional Court in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Paul Hoffmann – who heads up lobby group Accountability Now – opened the case against Mkhwebane in 2019, on the back of a scathing Constitutional Court judgment in which she was found personally liable for close to R1 milion worth of legal fees the SA Reserve Bank racked up reviewing Mkhwebane’s findings in the Bankorp matter.
The court found Mkhwebane had told “a number of falsehoods”. Last month, the Gauteng director of public prosecutions finally took a decision to prosecute her and Mkhwebane was served with a summons to appear in court on three counts of perjury.
In a statement at the time, she said she was a “law-abiding citizen” and was confident the court would clear her of any wrongdoing.