The Hawks said it is investigating a criminal charge laid against embattled Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. File picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) said on Wednesday it is investigating a criminal charge laid against embattled Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

Hawks boss Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya confirmed the probe on the sidelines of the International Association of Financial Crime Investigators conference held in Rosebank, Johannesburg, said spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.

"The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation confirms that it has received a formal complaint that was registered at Ocean View SAPS in Cape Town recently against the Public Protector.  The investigation is still at a foundation stage and it will be looked at with the necessary attention it deserves." 

Non-government organisation Accountability Now director Paul Hoffman laid charges of perjury, defeating the ends of juice and maladministration against Mkhwebane in Cape Town, according to media reports. 

In a statement, Hoffman said the criminal complaint would be investigated by the Hawks, while the maladministration complaint against Mkhwebane would have to investigated by her deputy, Kevin Malunga, as she cannot investigate herself. 

The criminal charges arose out of the Constitutional Court judgment that found she was dishonest in her conduct surrounding the investigation into the apartheid-era loan by the SA Reserve Bank to Bankorp, which is now part of Absa.

Mkhwebane has in recent times suffered defeat upon defeat in the courts in cases where her methodology and findings were challenged. 

In the latest high profile case President Cyril Ramaphosa launched an urgent high court application, asking the court to rule either that he has complied with her instructions to take action against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan or that such remedial action be put on hold pending the outcome of Gordhan's own review application of her findings. The court is yet to pass judgement on the matter.

The much criticised Mkhwebane has stood her ground, saying she would not resign but serve until 2023 when her term ends.

African News Agency (ANA)