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Public Protector denies conspiring with Presidency, SSA

Sep 14 2017 11:24
Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Thursday denied conspiring with the Presidency and State Security Agency (SSA) against the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) to change its constitutional mandate to protect the rand.

SARB said that a meeting with advisers of the Presidency 12 days before the release of a report ordering the constitutional mandate of the Reserve Bank to be changed is “highly irregular” and compromised the independence of the office, a supplementary affidavit filed by the bank revealed on Monday.

According to the supplementary affidavit, filed to support the SARB's founding affidavit challenging Mkhwebane’s remedial action, Mkhwebane met with the Presidency and the SSA - an allegation she has not denied.

“The Public Protector indeed met with the Presidency on 7 June 2017 because the Presidency, in response to a section 7(9) notice or a provisional report that had been issued, requested a meeting to give an explanation to their response,” she said in a statement.

“The Public Protector would like to place on record that the meeting with the Presidency did not discuss nor was the Presidency consulted with regard to the amendment of the South African Reserve Bank’s mandate.”

The meeting with the SSA was a follow-up meeting that her predecessor, Thuli Madonsela, had with the former head of the South African Secret Services, the SSA’s former name. It related to the agreement CIEX had with the secret service and its investigation into the Reserve Bank’s bailout of Bankorp.

Denying that she conspired with the entities, Mkhwebane said she had a right to have these meetings, as per her constitutional mandate. Furthermore, Mkhwebane said the allegations by SARB that she did not provide it with an opportunity to comment on the provisional report “are also rejected”.

Mkhwebane said a full response to the allegations filed in court papers by the Reserve Bank on Monday would be contained in a responding affidavit to be filed before it is due on October 23.

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