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Judge blames PPSA for the delay in hearing Mkhwebane’s gratuity case

Neelam Rahim | neelam@radioislam.co.za

3-minute read
20 April 2024 | 11:24 CAT

Court battle over Mkhwebane’s gratuity case ‘not ripe for hearing’. Image/BusinessLive

In a courtroom Saga that underscores the complexities of accountability and legal processes, the Gauteng High Court has blamed the Former Public Protector South Africa (PPSA) office for delays in the urgent hearing of Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s urgent challenge to the non-payment of the R10 million gratuity.

Despite her efforts, Mkhwebane faces further hurdles. The PPSA needs help providing the necessary documents to justify its decision.

In an interview, Radio Islam International delved deeper into this unfolding legal drama with Advocate Stephanie Fick, the Executive Director of the Accountability and Public Governance Division at the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA).

“The previous Public Protector, Advocate Mkhwebane took the Public Office’s decision not to pay out the R10 million gratuity on review. It appears from the judgement that the Public Protectors Office did not provide the record of the decision,” says Fick.

The PPSA has thus far failed to file the rule 53 record of documents that underpinned its decision not to give Mkhwebane the R10 million gratuity typically paid to Public Protectors who vacate office and its reasons for that decision.

As a result, the judge found Mkhwebane’s urgent gratuity non-payment challenge “was not ripe for hearing.” Fick pointed out that there was not enough before the court to make a decision, and the PPSA had until Friday to provide the reasons for not paying the gratuity.

Meanwhile, Fick argues that the application of Mkhwebane is ill-conceived as the R10 million gratuity is a discretionary payment rather than something that someone must get. Rather, it is about thanking a public protector who has done a good job and received a performance bonus.

“In the case of the previous Public Protector, Adv Mkhwebane, we all know that she was removed due to her absence. Under those circumstances, I do believe that that application is ill-conceived and that she shouldn’t be successful,” says Fick.

The PPSA has until Friday to file a record of its decision to grant gratuity and its reasons.

Mkhwebane’s application to challenge the non-payment of that gratuity as unlawful will be determined in the coming weeks.

She was removed from office after being found guilty of misconduct and incompetence.

Listen to the full interview on The Daily Round Up with Moulana Shuayb Lasanya.

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