‘Public protector has erred’
PUBLIC Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has erred in making comments and recommendations about the constitutional mandate of the Reserve Bank, according to the Banking Association of South Africa (Basa).
This comes after Mkhwebane ordered remedial action directing Parliament to effect a constitutional amendment to the powers of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), from targeting inflation to promoting economic growth.
The SARB said it would seek an urgent court review to have the public protector’s remedial action set aside.
Reacting to this, Basa managing director Cas Coovadia said Mkhwebane’s comments relating to the mandate of the SARB were particularly alarming. He said the role and independence of the SARB was critical in maintaining what little certainty remained in South Africa’s already fragile economy. “In our view, the public protector has erred in making comments and recommendations about the constitutional mandate of the Reserve Bank and its relationship with the National Treasury.
“It is not the role of the public protector to pronounce on these matters. In her eagerness to demonstrate her independence and bare her teeth, she has gone too far.”
Mkhwebane criticised the SARB for failing to recover R1.125 billion from Bankorp Limited/Absa Bank, which was advanced as an “illegal gift” to the Bankorp group, which was bought by Absa in the early 1990s.
On Monday, she released a report on the alleged failure to recover “misappropriated funds” in the erstwhile Bankorp lifeboat investigation.
Coovadia urged Parliament to confirm the independence of the SARB and assure the public and investor community that this critical institution would not be compromised.
The SARB said it had consulted its legal team and had been advised that the remedial action prescribed by the public protector falls outside her powers and is unlawful.
Meanwhile, the EFF welcomed Mkhwebane’s remedial action on the CIEX report. However, the party said Mkhwebane did not have the power to order Parliament to amend the constitution.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said not even judges had the power to make an instruction that the constitution be amended. – ANA
BACKLASH: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane