Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane in the Constitutional Court with her spokesperson Oupa Segalwe. File picture: Dimpho Maja/African News Agency (ANA).

Democracy In Action’s crowdfunding for Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has now reached close to R110 000 with the civil society organisation some way off reaching the R900 000 mark that would equate to the legal fees Mkhwebane is supposed to pay.

Last month, following the Constitutional Court’s ruling that Mkhwebane had lied under oath and acted in bad faith in the matter of the South African Reserve Bank’s R1.15 billion bailout of Absa, the civil society organisation threw its weight behind Mkhwebane saying she had not been treated fairly by the courts. 

On Wednesday alone the Pretoria High Court ruled that Mkhwebane was liable to personally pay 7.5 % of the legal costs for the DA and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) after both had successfully challenged her report on the controversial Estina Dairy Farm project. 

KwaZulu-Natal based activist Thamsanqa Mthimkhulu is amongst several donors who have contributed towards the campaign and he said the fact that Mkhwebane had lost certain court cases does not mean she should be removed from her office and that it was wrong of the judiciary to rule that she should pay a portion of the legal fees.

“These decisions by the courts (to have Mkhwebane pay a portion of the legal fees) is going to stop people in offices such as hers from doing their job out of fear that they will be taken to court and ordered to pay a portion of the legal fees.

“This seems to be a way of teaching her a lesson, to say ‘don’t do this next or next we will have you pay again’. She doesn’t start investigations on her own, people lodge complaints and she conducts her investigations,” Mthimkhulu said.

He added even the courts of law themselves do get decisions wrong, but that should not mean they should be viewed as incompetent or that those judges whose judgments are successfully appealed should be viewed as incompetent or that they must be removed from their positions.

Mthimkhulu said that he had already forked out R4 000 out of his own pocket to fund Democracy In Action’s campaign and that next week he would be parting with a further R10 000 of his own money to add more towards the campaign. 

“Any further contributions will depend on my finances, but I even lobby people contribute and I know a lot of people that have been contributing including businessmen,” Mthimkhulu said. 

Political Bureau