Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane is faced with another court battle after the Independent Police Investigative Directorate — or Ipid — launched a bid to have her report and remedial action on Theresa Botha’s appointment set aside.
Busisiwe Mkhwebane in court yet again: Ipid challenges PP’s remedial action
Busisiwe Mkhwebane, in September, published a report on the conduct of Ipid in appointing Botha as the police watchdog’s Deputy Director.
In her report, the Public Protector found that:
- the appointment of Botha as an external contractor to investigate death threats against Ipid officers was not justified as an emergency hire;
- the unit had changed and manipulated the requirements of the post in order to suit Botha;
- Botha received a salary from Ipid in excess of R1,174,873 and the salary amounted to cumulative and irregular expenditure and was found to be a violation;
- the complainant (Cedrick Mthokozi Dube) and other qualifying candidates were disadvantaged and prejudiced by maladministration and nepotism; and
- Ipid had improperly followed procurement processes when it appointed Fidelity Security Services to provide the services of an investigative analyst for the interpretation of cellular and other data in criminal investigations.
Busisiwe Mkhwebane ordered for the remedial action against Robert McBride and seven others (Matthews Sesoko, Nomkhosi Netsianda, Marianne Moroasui, Baatseba Mothlale, Innocent Khuba, David de Bruin and Thereza Botha) in Ipid to be enacted by Monday, 28 October.
Mkhwebane forced to withdraw remedial action
However, much like her efforts in pushing remedial action through with Minister Pravin Gordhan and President Cyril Ramaphosa, this was not going to be taken lightly by the police watchdog.
On Wednesday, Ipid launched a court bid to halt the remedial action and strike the report off the roll completely. According to Ipid’s Sesoko, “the report is plagued with flagrant inaccuracies, illogical conclusions and errors of law”.
“It is also difficult — if not impossible — to link some of the remedial action to a particular finding. It shows that the public protector considered irrelevant factors and ignored relevant ones,” said Sesoko in his affidavit,” Sesoko said.
In the affidavit, the Ipid team lambasted Mkhwebane’s report for being logically incoherent and a mess.
“The entire section on prejudice is incoherent and without any basis. It is a mess, and there is nothing to salvage from it. The finding is a gross dereliction of the public protector’s responsibilities. It is an abuse of her power to spew out such nonsense, and is clearly unlawful and unconstitutional,” he added.
Mkhwebane’s office had until Thursday to submit a response to the affidavit and according to a recently published Sowetan Live article, the Public Protector will allow the suspension of her remedial action, pending the outcome of the judicial review.
“It is indeed the office of the Public Protector’s standard practice not to oppose interim orders suspending the implementation of its remedial action, pending review applications of its reports,” her office noted in a statement.