Mkhwebane accuses judiciary of changing its position on Public Protector powers

Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Image credit: Twitter/Public Protector SA

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has accused the judiciary of changing its position on her office’s powers since she took over.

Mkhwebane made the claim while addressing the University of Johannesburg’s Leadership Dialogue on Friday evening.

She cited the 2016 Constitutional Court ruling on Nkandla, which affirmed the binding nature of her remedial actions until set aside by a court.

The Court further ruled that the Public Protector could direct the manner of implementation of those remedial actions, she said.

Mkhwebane also claimed that the Court refused to grant an interdict to the president because it would have resulted in an “unwarranted interference with an exercise of a statutory power.”

However, the judiciary has now moved away from these positions, Mkhwebane claimed.

As things stand now, for anyone to successfully challenge the powers of the Public Protector, all they need to do is show up to the court and they will be granted the relief they seek.

This is how radically the legal position regarding the Public Protector has changed

Busisiwe Mkhwebane

Recent interdicts

Mkhwebane was seemingly reacting to recent interim interdicts granted against the implementation of her remedial actions pending review application outcomes.

The High Court in Pretoria recently suspended implementation of remedial actions against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

The matter related to Mkhwebane’s report on the early retirement of Ivan Pillay, former deputy commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

Mkhwebane appealed the ruling at the Constitutional Court but is now seeking to withdraw the appeal.

The High Court similarly granted President Cyril Ramaphosa an interim interdict in the Bosasa matter.

However, Mkhwebane did not oppose the president’s application in the interest of expeditious resolution.

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