Mkhwebane wants SCA to rethink 'Rogue Unit' ruling
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is concerned about the SCA’s refusal to consider her challenge to the invalidation of her SARS ‘Rogue Unit’ report – and is fighting for the court to reconsider that decision, reports News24.
Mkhwebane on Friday filed a 166-page application for reconsideration of the Appeal Court’s dismissal of her latest effort to defend her ‘Rogue Unit’ report, which was roundly lambasted by a full Bench of the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) last December.
The Public Protector has now appealed directly to SCA President Mandisa Maya.
She argues that, should her appeal not be heard, ‘the office of the Public Protector will suffer irreparable harm in that those who bear political power will always undermine the constitutional mandate of the office as well as the incumbent Public Protector’.
Mkhwebane has again sought to revive her arguments that she was not only entitled to investigate the establishment of an intelligence unit at SARS in 2007, but that she also had a strong basis to find that it was unlawful – an argument that was dismissed by the High Court.
Mkhwebane also continues to insist that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan should face jail time for ‘insulting’ her and questioning her integrity and motives in pursuing the ‘Rogue Unit’ investigation against him.
While the full Bench of the High Court did strike certain parts of the Minister’s claims about Mkhwebane from his application, it did not find him guilty of criminal contempt – as she had argued it should.
Finally, Mkhwebane wants the court to reconsider the 15% personal costs issued against her by the High Court, which she has argued was part of a ‘tendency’ by that court.
Mkhwebane’s lawyers argued ‘there are no valid grounds to make the findings of dishonesty, bias and or ulterior motives on the part of the Public Protector’, despite conceding she may have made legal errors in her report. Such reconsiderations of its ruling are rare and only granted under exceptional circumstances.
The News24 report notes two judges last month dismissed Mkhwebane’s efforts to appeal the invalidation of the report, on the basis that it had ‘no reasonable prospect of success’ and that there was no other reason why it should be heard.
When Judge Sulet Potterill granted Gordhan’s application for an interdict blocking the enforcement of Mkhwebane’s remedial action against him in the 'Rogue Unit' report, she corrected the Public Protector on this issue.
The High Court found that this claim was 'simply astonishing' and directed that a copy of its judgment be sent to the Legal Practice Council 'for consideration' of Mkhwebane’s conduct.
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