Mkhwebane to appeal costs order in Estina case
PRETORIA - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane will appeal a high court ruling ordering her to personally pay 7.5% of the litigation costs for both the DA and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac), her spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said on Thursday.
The High Court in Pretoria also ordered that Mkhwebane's office must pay 85% of the costs of the DA and Casac on an attorney and client scale.
The ruling stems from the DA and Casac successfully approaching the court over her report on the Estina Dairy Farm project.
Segalwe said Mkhwebane will challenge Thursday's ruling as well as the setting aside of her report on the Gupta-linked project.
"She did indicate that she disagreed fundamentally with the judgement, she will be taking that plus this latest development on appeal."
The DA and Casac had argued in October last year that Mkhwebane had not acted prudently in her probe and had failed to investigate senior politicians implicated in corruption and money-laundering that sank the agriculture project.
In May this year, the court ruled in favour of the DA and Casac and set aside Mkhwebane's report.
The DA believes Mkhwebane's investigative report of the farm project was a white-wash as implicated politicians were never interviewed and thus escaped scrutiny.
Segalwe disputed claims that Mkhwebane sanitised a provisional report on the Estina project, compiled during the tenure of her predecessor, Thuli Madonsela, to protect Free State ANC politicians.
"This particular investigation relating to Estina was completed in 2015, that's a year before Advocate Mkhwebane came into office, at the time there was even a provisional report.
"If you study the provisional report, which the Public Protector has since published on the office website, you'll see that there were no findings in the provisional report, which was prepared a year before she came into office, there were no findings against any politician." Segalwe said.
At least R200 million in public funds meant for emerging black farmers in Vrede allegedly flowed to Estina, a company linked to the controversial Gupta family.
Some of the money was allegedly used to pay for the Guptas' lavish family wedding at Sun City resort in 2013.
African News Agency (ANA)