Don’t be quick to scorn pro­tec­tor

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Sam Dit­shego

THE ME­DIA and com­men­ta­tors were again, with­out re­flec­tion, hav­ing a field day about the pub­lic pro­tec­tor’s de­ci­sion to with­draw, with costs, her ap­pli­ca­tion to op­pose the SA Re­serve Bank’s (SARB) court chal­lenge of her re­me­dial ac­tion.

She should have first weighed her op­tions be­fore go­ing pub­lic.

Be that as it may, she wasn’t wrong on her call to have Par­lia­ment amend the con­sti­tu­tion in or­der to have the SARB’s man­date ex­panded to be in line with the cen­tral banks of many coun­tries in both the devel­op­ing and de­vel­oped world.

All the cen­tral banks of the world, in­clud­ing South Africa, were es­tab­lished through acts of par­lia­ment. The SARB was es­tab­lished through Act No 31 of 1920. So why was the es­tab­lish­ment of the SARB in 1996 en­trenched in the coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tion?

This was pre­cisely to frus­trate le­git­i­mate ef­forts to amend the con­sti­tu­tion in or­der to re­dress the so­cio-eco­nomic im­bal­ances cre­ated by the apartheid govern­ment.

Be­fore gloat­ing with glee, Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhe­bane’s crit­ics should con­cede that this coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tion was not prop­erly drafted by a con­stituent as­sem­bly and rat­i­fied through a ref­er­en­dum.

This means that the ma­jor­ity of the African peo­ple didn’t take part in its draft­ing and adop­tion. It was lit­er­ally im­posed on the African peo­ple and that it was drafted by the elite in se­cret in such a way that it be­comes dif­fi­cult to amend.

Fur­ther­more, no mech­a­nisms ex­ist in the pro­vi­sions of this coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tion that al­low even to tin­ker on its edges.

The gov­ern­ing party, the finance min­is­ter, the Speaker of Par­lia­ment and the SARB all came down on the pub­lic pro­tec­tor like a ton of bricks. Con­sid­er­ing that the SARB it­self prints money out of noth­ing, she was over­whelmed. She may also have been in­tim­i­dated that she would per­son­ally pay le­gal costs should the courts find against her.

Her with­drawal, there­fore, should be viewed in that light. She is re­treat­ing not be­cause she blun­dered or was de­feated. Her with­drawal should be viewed not as a de­feat, but as a tac­ti­cal with­drawal. She may have with­drawn, but she shook the citadels of cap­i­tal­ism and its apol­o­gists to their very foun­da­tions and sent shiv­ers through Western cap­i­tals.

In other coun­tries like Aus­tralia that have an om­buds­man, which we call pub­lic pro­tec­tor, the ombud can also in­ves­ti­gate com­plaints about de­lays in pro­cess­ing Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion (Act) re­quests.

I pro­pose to in­voke the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act so the pub­lic pro­tec­tor can in­ves­ti­gate and re­veal the names of all the SARB’s share­hold­ers to see if there are not ANC big­wigs and for­mer apartheid of­fi­cials on its share­hold­ers’ list.

The bank has four sub­sidiaries, namely the South African Mint Com­pany (SA Mint), the SA Bank Note Com­pany, the SA Re­serve Bank Cap­tive In­sur­ance Com­pany and the Cor­po­ra­tion for Pub­lic De­posits. The bank is the sole owner of its sub­sidiaries.

Coin­ing op­er­a­tions in Pre­to­ria evolved into the South African Mint, which was es­tab­lished in 1923, and func­tioned as a di­vi­sion of the cen­tral govern­ment.

When the govern­ment sold the South African Mint to the SARB in 1988, it was de­cided to house the coin­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in a wholly-owned sub­sidiary com­pany, the SA Mint Com­pany.

When the apartheid govern­ment sold the mint to the SARB in 1988, they knew that they were in­structed to give over the run­ning of the coun­try to their pup­pets in the ANC as An­glo-Amer­i­can re­vealed that they wanted their black pup­pets to run the coun­try.

Who among the African peo­ple are em­ployed by these four sub­sidiaries of the SARB? Let them raise their hands; let’s see them. Who is on the board of the bank and its management struc­ture?

Le­setja Kganyago, gover­nor of the SARB, said they out­sourced print­ing of money to for­eign coun­tries for se­cu­rity. So SA cur­rency is printed abroad, prob­a­bly in Ger­many and cre­at­ing jobs there while there is high un­em­ploy­ment in this coun­try.

Those who say the pub­lic pro­tec­tor over­stepped her man­date must think hard and deep. Kag­iso

WRITE TO US

‘SHE HAS A POINT’: Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane con­ceded her court bat­tle ‘un­der duress’.

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