A spokesperson for Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has argued that the trend of labelling her office ‘incompetent’ in protest against her findings borders on contempt.
Oupa Segalwa was responding on Sunday afternoon to the Financial Sector Conduct Authority filing court papers in the North Gauteng High Court to set aside a public protector report which made findings of impropriety and maladministration against it.
The report was released on March 28 and relates to a complaint brought by EFF leader Julius Malema in 2017 about the nomination and recommendation for appointment of curators for pension funds. Malema alleged that the authority’s former head, Dube Tshidi, improperly appointed Anthony Mostert as the curator of several pension funds over a decade ago that had fallen victim to a fraudulent scheme, known as the Ghavalas scheme.
The FSCA was known as the the Financial Services Board at the time.
In court papers filed on Thursday, the FSCA asked that the report to be reviewed, set aside, and declared constitutionally invalid for lack of jurisdiction.
The authority, in a statement, said the findings and conclusions of Mkhwebane’s report were “entirely unreasonable” and reviewable due to either perceived bias or “gross incompetence and negligence”.
In response to the FSCA’s statement Segalwa said: “It is the right of any person who is aggrieved at the public protector’s findings and remedial action to approach the courts for recourse.”
“What she objects to is the emerging trend among such persons labelling an independent constitutional institution incompetent to illustrate their quarrels with its findings.
“It is inconceivable how any person who is unhappy with a court decision could brazenly label a judge incompetent. This latest trend borders on contempt for the Public Protector, which is an offense in terms of the Public Protector Act.”
Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, has also labelled Mkhwebane as incompetent.
In an affidavit filed in the North Gauteng High Court in late May Gordhan said she revealed ‘stunning incompetence, irrationality and negligence’ in the performance of her duties.
Gordhan filed the review application to ask the court to set aside a report by Mkhwebane which found he acted improperly in granting early pension with full benefits to Ivan Pillay, a former deputy SARS commissioner, in 2010.
Mkhwebane, speaking at a gathering of the SA Sheriff Society at Dullstroom in Mpumalanga on Friday evening, meanwhile, said the clam she was targetting Gordhan was “ridiculous”.