Public Protector to cooperate with authorities on perjury charges
The Public Protector was on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 served with a summons to appear in the Pretoria Magistrates Court to face charges of perjury.
The charges flow from the case Adv. Paul Hoffman SC of non-governmental organization, Accountability Now, opened in 2019 at the Hillbrow Police Station (CAS 436/08/2019).
The case was opened on the strength of a split Constitutional Court decision, in which the majority judgment confirmed an earlier adverse ruling of the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Pretoria in respect of the Public Protector’s South African Reserve Bank/CIEX investigation report.
In the dissenting judgement, however, no adverse findings were made against the Public Protector in respect of the alleged false statements contained in her affidavits, with the apex court concluding that:
“It cannot therefore be a consequence of a correct and fair assessment of the Public Protector’s version to conclude that she only disclosed the meeting of April 2017, but concealed or was totally secretive about the fact of the one of June 2017 taking place. Doing so could reasonably be misunderstood as being symptomatic of a desperation to find fault.”
As a law-abiding citizen, the Public Protector will cooperate and present herself to the court on 21 January 2021 as required and is confident that the court will clear her of any wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, the Public Protector has learned through media reports that Adv. Hoffman SC has now written to President Cyril Ramaphosa, requesting him to suspend her.
It is not for the first time that Adv. Hoffman SC has sought to nail the Public Protector. In July 2019, he laid a complaint with the Legal Practice Council to have her struck off the roll of advocates.
In March 2020, the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Pretoria dismissed his application for a declaratory order that the Public Protector was unfit to hold office.
The Public Protector views these as being characteristic of Adv. Hoffman SC, who, in 2013, unsuccessfully pursued the impeachment of the Chief Justice over the comments that the Chief Justice had reportedly made in respect of the transformation of the judiciary.
This led to a complaint of professional misconduct being lodged against Adv. Hoffman SC with the General Council of the Bar.
Out of respect for the court process, the Public Protector will not make further comments on this matter.
Issued by the Office of the Public Protector, 18 December 2020