Mkhwebane's bid to appeal Vrede dairy farm judgment fails

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
Jan Gerber, News24, file
  • Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's application for leave to appeal the Estina dairy farm judgment has been dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
  • The court ruled there is no reasonable prospect of success in an appeal.
  • In December, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria dismissed the leave to appeal, saying Mkhwebane failed to make out a case on the merits of the Estina dairy farm judgment.

The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein has dismissed Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's application for leave to appeal the scathing Estina dairy farm judgment. 

"The application for leave to appeal is dismissed with costs on the grounds that there is no reasonable prospects of success in an appeal and there is no other compelling reason why an appeal should be heard," the court said.

Lawson Naidoo, of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac), said it is "hardly surprising" that Mkhwebane's appeal was dismissed, adding that there were no grounds for her appeal.

The Public Protector's spokesperson Oupa Segalwe told News24 that Mkhwebane has not officially received a copy of the ruling.

"The office attorneys are still trying to establish what happened here. Her preliminary comment is that it is strange that the SCA would issue a judgment like that without informing her legal team that the matter was to be considered on the basis of the papers filed rather than a hearing. She was still awaiting the date of hearing," he said.  

In December, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria dismissed the leave to appeal, and said Mkhwebane failed to make out a case on the merits of the Estina dairy farm judgment and with regard to costs.

In August 2019, the court handed down the scathing judgment, declaring that Mkhwebane had failed the people of South Africa in the way she dealt with the investigation.

It set aside Mkhwebane's report on the Vrede dairy project, declaring it "unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid".

Judge Ronel Tolmay ordered the Public Protector, in her official capacity, to pay 85% of the DA's costs on an attorney scale and 85% of Casac's costs.

Mkhwebane was also ordered to personally pay 7.5% of the DA's costs, as well as 7.5% of Casac's.

The Public Protector had previously argued that Tolmay had exercised her judicial discretion too far when granting the personal costs order, News24 reported.

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