ANC backs Par­lia­ment on pub­lic pro­tec­tor’s bank re­port

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

THE ANC has backed Par­lia­ment’s de­ci­sion to mount a le­gal chal­lenge against Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane’s re­port into the R1 bil­lion bail-out the Re­serve Bank gave Absa and its pre­de­ces­sor, Bankorp.

In her re­port, Mkhwe­bane found Bankorp had un­duly ben­e­fited from the trans­ac­tion, which was money mis­ap­pro­pri­ated dur­ing the apartheid era and given out as a lifeboat to the bank.

Mkhwe­bane or­dered that Par­lia­ment amend the con­sti­tu­tion to change the man­date of the Re­serve Bank.

Par­lia­ment has be­come the lat­est af­fected party to in­di­cate that it would take the rec­om­men­da­tion on ju­di­cial re­view, af­ter Absa also an­nounced it in­tended turn­ing to the courts.

Yes­ter­day ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said Par­lia­ment had taken a cor­rect de­ci­sion to chal­lenge the de­ci­sion in court.

“That de­ci­sion by Par­lia­ment is cor­rect be­cause the find­ings of the pub­lic pro­tec­tor are bind­ing,” Kodwa said.

Other par­ties agreed, say- ing Mkhwe­bane could not or­der Par­lia­ment to amend the con­sti­tu­tion.

This fol­lowed Mkhwe­bane’s de­ci­sion that the chair­per­son of the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on jus­tice and cor­rec­tional ser­vices, Mathole Mot­shekga, should ini­ti­ate a process to amend the con­sti­tu­tion.

She wants Par­lia­ment to strip the South African Re­serve Bank of its pow­ers.

But par­ties say the pub­lic pro­tec­tor can­not di­rect Par­lia­ment how to run its busi­ness.

Con­sti­tu­tional law ex­pert Pro­fes­sor Pierre de Vos of the Univer­sity of Cape Town also said Mkhwe­bane was wrong in di­rect­ing Par­lia­ment to amend the con­sti­tu­tion.

He said Par­lia­ment would win the case in court.

“It is dif­fi­cult to say with cer­tainty what the out­come of a case will be. But in this case I will say with cer­tainty the pub­lic pro­tec­tor will lose the case be­cause the pub­lic pro­tec­tor can­not or­der Par­lia­ment to amend the con­sti­tu­tion,” said De Vos.

He said in some cases peo­ple do not un­der­stand the law and get things wrong, but this was as clear as day­light.”

Par­lia­ment said Mkhwe­bane wanted to usurp the pow­ers of the in­sti­tu­tion by di­rect­ing it how to do its work.

Spokesman for Par­lia­ment Moloto Mothapo said they were tak­ing Mkhwe­bane to court to get her find­ing re­versed.

“Par­lia­ment be­lieves that the re­me­dial ac­tion, which is bind­ing in terms of the law, usurps the pow­ers of the in­sti­tu­tion un­der the con­sti­tu­tion. Sec­tion 57 of the con­sti­tu­tion em­pow­ers the Assem­bly to con­trol its in­ter­nal ar­range­ments, pro­ceed­ings and pro­ce­dures,” said Mothapo.

“Par­lia­ment will ac­cord­ingly ini­ti­ate a court ap­pli­ca­tion to have this re­me­dial ac­tion set aside on the ba­sis of its un­con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity,” he added.

The DA and African Chris­tian Demo­cratic Party backed the de­ci­sion to take the re­port on re­view.

Ch­eryl­lyn Dud­ley of the ACDP said Mkhwe­bane wanted to usurp the pow­ers of Par­lia­ment by di­rect­ing it how to con­duct its busi­ness. She said the con­sti­tu­tion was clear on the pow­ers of Par­lia­ment.

PIC­TURE: BONGANI SHILUBANE

Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane is un­der pres­sure from Par­lia­ment and the ANC.

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