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The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein has denied Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane leave to appeal the scathing high court ruling that set aside her findings on the Vrede dairy farm.

The judgment by the North Gauteng High Court found some ten months ago that her report into allegations of massive corruption at the project, which meant to support emerging farmers, was invalid after it was challenged for failing to take into account the role of high level politicians in the scandal.

No prospect of appeal

Her report was taken on review by both the Democratic Alliance and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC).

The high court in Pretoria denied Mkhwebane leave to appeal the ruling. It found that she had failed the South African public in the matter and handed down a punitive cost order against her.

Mkhwebane subsequently petitioned the SCA, which has now found that there is no reasonable prospect of success for an appeal. It dismissed the application with costs.

Lawson Naidoo, the executive secretary of CASAC, said the decision came as no surprise given how clear the high court has been in its reasons for setting aside Mkhwebane’s report.

Failure to investigate government officials

Among CASAC’s arguments had been that she had deviated from the preliminary findings of her predecessor Thuli Madonsela with no clear reason. The DA had attacked her failure to investigate the alleged role of former Free State premier and current ANC secretary general Ace Magashule in corruption surrounding the project. Instead, Mkhwebane recommended that Magashule take disciplinary action against officials implicated in corruption at the empowerment project.

It was alleged that R30 million had been moved through the project into the hands of the controversial Gupta family, who have been at the centre of the rent-seeking state capture scandal. The money was alleged to have helped foot the bill for a lavish family wedding at Sun City. – African News Agency