SARB questions Public Protector’s independence
IN A NEW affidavit filed in the High Court in Pretoria, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is accused of being biased and undermining the independence of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), it emerged yesterday.
The affidavit by legal counsel for the SARB, highlights Mkhwebane’s meetings with President Jacob Zuma’s legal advisers and the State Security Agency just weeks before her final report on her probe into the Reserve Bank’s 1985 bailout of Bankorp, now Absa bank, was released.
The affidavit points to possible collusion.
The affidavit describes the meeting with the presidency’s legal team as “highly irregular”.
“The meeting traversed the Public Protector’s proposed remedial action to amend the constitution to deprive the Reserve Bank of its role in protecting the value of the currency.
“This is an aspect of the remedial action that had nothing to do with the Presidency. There is no legitimate basis on which this ought to have been discussed with the Presidency,” the affidavit stated.
The SARB contends that Mkhwebane altered “substantially her remedial action” in her preliminary report without allowing right of reply to the Reserve Bank and others.
“The Public Protector did not provide this opportunity to anyone other than the Presidency.”
In the affidavit, the SARB took strong exception to the bank’s mandate being discussed with the Presidency as she is constitutionally obliged to conduct her probes independently and without bias.
“Discussing these aspects of the report with the Presidency destroys that independence.”