Press Release: HSF Responds to the Public Protector's Preliminary Investigation into the Constitutional Court

The Public Protector’s closing report of a preliminary investigation into the Constitutional Court is reason for considerable dismay on the part of the South African public. The preliminary investigation relates to the ‘Abramjee text message saga’ and the alleged leak of the outcome of the Public Protector’s rescission application in the Constitutional Court.

It is clear that the Public Protector’s office abused its powers in initiating a preliminary investigation into the conduct of members of the Judiciary and by subpoenaing two Constitutional Court Justices. In fact, the Public Protector concedes as much in the closing report, recognising that “this office is not empowered by law to deal with such a case.” This failure to appreciate the extent of the powers attached to the Public Protector’s office is part of a pattern of conduct so flagrant that it is hard to see it as anything other than wilful. 

Also noteworthy is that the preliminary investigation was triggered by no complainant, but as an “own-initiative investigation”. Given that the Public Protector is placing great weight on the “leak” and its circumstances in her legal battles to avoid an impeachment process, there is every reason to be concerned that precious public resources have been improperly commandeered for personal interests. 

That said, the allegations contained in the closing report, and the inferences they appear to support, are of grave concern and potentially impair the integrity of the Constitutional Court. This matter should have been long resolved by those authorities entrusted with safeguarding the integrity of the administration of justice and public confidence therein. The HSF now calls on the Judicial Service Commission and the Office of the Chief Justice to take swift and decisive action in investigating and resolving these claims.

Media Enquiries

Nicole Fritz