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