‘Pub­lic pro­tec­tor has erred’

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

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

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