Prima facie evidence indicates possible misconduct and incompetence by Public Protector

Picture: @PublicProtectorSouthAfrica, Facebook

In a media release, Parliament announced on Monday that the Speaker of the National Assembly received a report from the Independent Panel that was tasked with assessing whether there was prima facie evidence of misconduct of incompetence of the Public Protector (PP), Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

The charges against the PP were related to the the South African Reserve Bank (SARB)/ABSA Lifeboat Report case; Vrede Dairy Project – Estina’s case; Financial Sector Conduct Authority’s and Mr Tshidi’s case; Mr Samuels’ complaint to the Speaker; Baloyi’s case; CR17 Campaign’s case. Messrs Gordhan and Pillay Roque Unit’s case, Mr Zuma Tax Record’s case; and the Government Employees Medical Scheme’s (GEMS) case.

“The findings, following the preliminary assessment, are that there is substantial information that constitutes prima facie evidence of incompetence. Examples of such incompetence are: the prima facie evidence demonstrating the PP’s overreach and exceeding the bounds of her powers in terms of the Constitution and the PP Act; repeated errors of the same kind such as incorrect interpretation of the law and other patent legal errors; failure to give audi (right to be heard) to the affected persons; incorrect factual analysis; sustained lack of knowledge to carry out duties and/or inability or skill to perform the duties effectively and efficiently as required by the Constitution,” Spokesperson Moloto Mothapo says.

Sufficient information was also found to constitute at prima facie evidence of misconduct.

“The examples given include the following: the PP’s failure to reveal that she had meetings with the former President of the Republic and the State Security Agency; to honour an agreement with the SARB thereby displaying non-compliance with a high standard of professional ethics as required by the Constitution and to investigate the third complaint regarding the alleged involvement of certain politicians in the Vrede Dairy Project; her alleged modification of the final report and providing untruthful explanation to a review court as to why same was done as well as her patently wrong findings on money laundering in the CR17 Campaign matter and her unexplained doubting of the bona fides of the President,” Mothapo says.

The Panel has recommended that the Committee of the National Assembly investigate the report’s findings. Mothapo says that Speaker has to arrange for the House to come to a decision of whether an inquiry should be pursued.