Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane tembisa 10

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane / Photo by Luke Daniel,

What, again? Mkhwebane loses in court – here’s how much she has to pay-up

To say she is SA’s most high-profile advocate, Busisiwe Mkhwebane sure loses a lot of court cases. She must now cover costs for the Estina Dairy Farm saga.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane tembisa 10

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane / Photo by Luke Daniel,

At this point, we can only assume that Busisiwe Mkhwebane enjoys the pain and humiliation of multiple courtroom losses. She was handed yet another L on Thursday morning after the Pretoria High Court ruled she has to front the costs for litigation relating to the Estina Dairy Farm matter.

What happened in the Estina Dairy Farm case?

We make this the fourth significant court defeat the Public Protector has endured in the past month. After being called “dishonest” by the Constitutional Court, Mkhwebane went on to be bested by legal teams representing Pravin Gordhan and Cyril Ramaphosa. However, this latest blow could be the most costly of the lot.

The Democratic Alliance raised the issue back in 2017 after Busiswe Mkhwebane made her findings on the Estina Dairy Farm scandal public. The scheme laundered hundreds of millions of rand for Gupta-fronted companies, and impoverished farmers were given very little of the funds promised to them.

How much money Busisiwe Mkhwebane owes the courts

However, her report was ripped to shreds by many political and legal experts. Criminally, she somehow managed to exclude the Gupta brothers from her findings – despite their centrality to the corruption. The DA sprung into action and decided to review the publication, and they’ve been vindicated by the judge in Pretoria, who ruled on the following:

  • Mkhwebane has to pay 85% of the DA’s application costs.
  • The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) also gets 85% of its fees covered.
  • The Public Protector must also pay 7.5% towards the DA’s lawyers, and the same percentage for CASAC’s.
  • Mkhwebane already has R900 000 to pay-off from previous cost orders. This latest ruling could see her debts break the R1.5m mark.

The future of Busisiwe Mkhwebane uncertain, judge gives her a tongue-lashing

Right now, you can almost feel Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s grip loosening on her seat in office. She’s been under immense pressure since releasing her much-maligned remedial action plans against Cyril Ramaphosa and Pravin Gordhan. The courts have not been kind to her, and those sentiments were echoed again by Judge Tolmay on Thursday.

“The Public Protector failed the people of South Africa in her Estina investigation… and turned a blind eye to irregularities that impacted on rights of the poorest and most vulnerable”.

“Mkhwebane has failed completely to fulfil her constitutional duties in Estina report. Her dereliction of duty was more lamentable than the Bankorp case.”

Judge Tolmay

Mkhwebane now faces a discussion over her future in Parliament on 3 September, where a motion of no confidence could be filed against her. She has split the support in the ANC, with almost every major political party in the National Assembly – bar the EFF – calling for the Public Protector’s head.