Mbete tack­les Mkhwe­bane over cen­tal bank re­port


SPEAKER of Par­lia­ment Baleka Mbete has backed the SA Re­serve Bank’s court ap­pli­ca­tion to set aside Public Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane’s re­port that aims to strip the SARB of its pow­ers.

In her high court ap­pli­ca­tion, Mbete said Mkhwe­bane was act­ing out­side the con­sti­tu­tion by or­der­ing the re­view of the pow­ers and func­tions of the SARB.

Mbete’s ap­pli­ca­tion comes af­ter Fi­nance Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba said last week he would op­pose Mkhwe­bane’s re­port in court.

Absa and the SARB have also op­posed the CIEX re­port, in which she said the Spe­cial In­ves­ti­gat­ing Unit must re­cover R1.125 bil­lion from Absa.

Mbete said she was act­ing in ac­cor­dance with the ad­vice of the chair­per­son of the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on jus­tice and cor­rec­tional ser­vices, Mathole Mot­shekga, that the re­port be scrapped.

She said Mkhwe­bane was vi­o­lat­ing the prin­ci­ple of the sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers by or­der­ing Par­lia­ment to amend the con­sti­tu­tion.

Mkhwe­bane had or­dered Mot­shekga to ini­ti­ate a process to amend the con­sti­tu­tion within 60 days of her re­port.

Mbete said Mkhwe­bane did not have such a man­date, or author­ity to direct Par­lia­ment to amend the con­sti­tu­tion.

“She does not have the power to or­der or even pro­pose an amend­ment of the con­sti­tu­tion. Her man­date is strictly con­fined by the pa­ram­e­ters set by the con­sti­tu­tion it­self,” said Mbete.

“Her or­der that the con­sti­tu­tion be amended is thus be­yond the scope of her man­date and pow­ers,” she said.

The Speaker said the con­sti­tu­tion was clear on the pow­ers of the public pro­tec­tor, and that was to in­ves­ti­gate im­proper con­duct in state af­fairs.

How­ever, in this in­stance she had gone be­yond that scope. “The public pro­tec­tor’s or­der that the con­sti­tu­tion be amended, to strip the Re­serve Bank of its pri­mary func­tion of pro­tect­ing the value of the cur­rency, is en­tirely un­re­lated to the im­proper con­duct that she has found to have been com­mit­ted,” said Mbete.

“No­body can ra­tio­nally sug­gest that the one is a rem­edy for the other.

“The public pro­tec­tor does not even do so. Her or­der, that the Re­serve Bank be stripped of its pri­mary func­tion of pro­tect­ing the value of the cur­rency, seems lit­tle more than a per­sonal predilec­tion wholly un­re­lated to the im­proper con­duct that she found in this case,” she said.

Mbete added it would have been ir­ra­tional for any­one to sug­gest strip­ping the SARB of its pow­ers to pro­tect the value of the cur­rency, for fail­ing to re­cover money from a bank.

Mbete said Mkhwe­bane did not have the pow­ers to in­struct Par­lia­ment on how to con­duct its busi­ness, let alone telling it to amend the con­sti­tu­tion.

It would be il­log­i­cal for Mkhwe­bane to in­struct elected public rep­re­sen­ta­tives to amend the leg­is­la­tion of her choice, she said.

These pow­ers rested with Par­lia­ment and she was in­trud­ing into the busi­ness of the na­tional leg­is­la­ture, Mbete added.

DOESN’T HAVE THE POW­ERS: Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane

‘NOT HER MAN­DATE’: Baleka Mbete

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