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ANC rejects Public Protector's call to change Constitution

Jun 20 2017 18:51
Mike Cohen, Bloomberg News

Johannesburg - The ANC accused Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane of overstepping her powers after she called on Parliament to amend the Constitution to change the mandate of the SA Reserve Bank.

Mkhwebane recommended in a report on Monday that Parliament start a process to change the constitution to make the SARB focus on the “socioeconomic well-being of the citizens” rather than protecting the value of the currency to contain inflation.

Her comments knocked the rand as the change was seen by investors as a threat to the independence of the Reserve Bank.

“We find that quite unlawful of the Public Protector, that you can make such a recommendation for an amendment of the constitution,” Zizi Kodwa, a spokesperson for the ANC, said in an interview with Johannesburg-based broadcast eNCA on Tuesday.

The bank has said it plans to approach the courts to review Mkhwebane’s directive and set it aside.

The argument that protecting the buying power of the rand is “anti-development” is misplaced, Governor Lesetja Kganyago said in a speech on Monday.

ANC Deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte said the party will discuss the regulator’s mandate at its policy conference later this month and the central bank must be left independent to avoid to mismanagement.

“Once a Reserve Bank is managed incorrectly so and not through specific fiscal disciplinary mechanisms and legislation, a Reserve Bank can be a tool of destruction,” Duarte said in an interview with News24.

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