Pro­tec­tor con­sid­ers le­gal chal­lenge to SARB’s re­jec­tion of rec­om­men­da­tions


PUBLIC Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane is con­tem­plat­ing mount­ing a le­gal chal­lenge to the ap­pli­ca­tion by the South African Re­serve Bank (SARB) on her rec­om­men­da­tions to cur­tail its pow­ers.

Mkhwe­bane’s spokesper­son Cleo Mosana said yes­ter­day the public pro­tec­tor would meet with her le­gal team to con­sider her op­tions.

She has also noted the in­ten­tion by Absa to join the SARB’s ap­pli­ca­tion in the high court in Pre­to­ria.

SARB gover­nor Le­setja Kganyago lodged pa­pers this week and ac­cused the public pro­tec­tor of try­ing to un­der­mine the role and func­tions of the Re­serve Bank.

He said Mkhwe­bane did not have the pow­ers to or­der Par­lia­ment to amend the con­sti­tu­tion.

Mosana said Mkhwe­bane would de­cide “in due course” on the SARB’s court ap­pli­ca­tion. “The public pro­tec­tor has pe­rused the ap­pli­ca­tion and will meet with the le­gal team and de­cide whether to op­pose or not,” said Mosana.

“The ba­sis or the grounds of the public pro­tec­tor’s op­po­si­tion of the ju­di­cial re­view ap­pli­ca­tion, if the public pro­tec­tor de­cides to op­pose, will be con­tained in the an­swer­ing af­fi­davit, which will be filed in court soon,” she said.

Mkhwe­bane was strongly crit­i­cised across par­ties in Par­lia­ment and civil so­ci­ety for her bid to clip the wings of the SARB.

The ANC said she did not have pow­ers to or­der Par­lia­ment to change the man­date of the cen­tral bank.

Par­lia­ment also said last Fri­day that it would lodge court ac­tion against Mkhwe­bane to set aside her find­ings.

The in­sti­tu­tion said the public pro­tec­tor did not have pow­ers to in­struct the chair­per­son of the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on jus­tice and cor­rec­tional ser­vices, Mathole Mot­shekga, to ini­ti­ate a process of amend­ing the con­sti­tu­tion.

Absa has also ex­pressed an in­ten­tion to lodge a court ap­pli­ca­tion against Mkhwe­bane’s re­port.

A con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment would re­quire sup­port of two-thirds of MPs in the Na­tional Assem­bly.

But most of the par­ties have re­jected her find­ings and said she did not have the author­ity to tell Par­lia­ment what to do.

They said Par­lia­ment de­rived its man­date from the con­sti­tu­tion, and that could not be taken away by Mkhwe­bane.

Par­lia­ment said what Mkhwe­bane was do­ing was try­ing to usurp the pow­ers of the in­sti­tu­tion.

In his ap­pli­ca­tion in court, Kganyago said Mkhwe­bane’s find­ings had fi­nan­cial im­pli­ca­tions, with the rand tak­ing a knock against ma­jor cur­ren­cies. The shares of banks were also af­fected.

The rat­ings agen­cies have al­ready warned that any in­ter­fer­ence with the in­de­pen­dence of the SARB would cause fur­ther credit rat­ing down­grades.

South Africa was down­graded in April by Fitch and Stan­dard & Poor’s, and this was fol­lowed re­cently by an­other down­grade by Moody’s.

DIG­GING IN: Public Pro­tec­tor ad­vo­cate Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane

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