FULL AFFIDAVIT: Public Protector 'plotted' with Presidency on SARB mandate

Sep 12 2017 13:22
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane conspired with the Presidency to have the mandate of the Reserve Bank changed, the bank stated in a supplementary affidavit filed on Monday.

South African Reserve Bank (SARB) spokesperson Jabulani Sikhakhane confirmed that the bank filed the new affidavit on Monday, in which it indicates that Mkhwebane had met with the Presidency and the State Security Agency to amend the Reserve Bank’s constitutional mandate to protect the currency.

EWN reported earlier on Tuesday that the papers before the court show that just two weeks before Mkhwebane released her final report on June 19, she met with the Presidency’s legal adviser where the remedial action to change the Reserve Bank’s constitutional mandate was discussed. It's also revealed that Mkhwebane met with the State Security Agency.

The supplementary affidavit (below) makes reference to an incomplete submission of the record of proceedings the Public Protector followed, the Reserve Bank's lawyer Johannes de Jager explained. For this reason the supplementary affidavit has been completed on a provisional basis and the bank has the right to provide additional information to supplement the founding affidavit as it becomes available. 

The Public Protector's submissions provide two grounds of review, which support the Reserve Bank's submission, the affidavit read. 

According to Mkhwebane's notes, she held a meeting with the Presidency's advisers on June 7, this is 12 days before the release of the report in question. By this date, Mkhwebane had also expanded her investigation and had met with the State Security Agency. 

“By 7 June 2017, the Public Protector was clearly considering remedial action aimed at expanding the reach of an SIU [Special Investigating Unit] investigation into the CIEX report. It was also clear that by this stage, she was considering remedial action aimed at amending the Constitution to deprive the Reserve Bank of its constitutionally entrenched power to protect the value of the currency," the affidavit read.

The meeting with the Presidency took place after the Reserve Bank had responded to the Public Protector's preliminary report. At this stage the Public protector had changed the focus and remedial action of the investigation without informing the Reserve Bank.

“By this stage, the Public Protector's aim was to amend the Constitution to deprive the Reserve Bank of its independent power to protect the value of the currency and to direct the SIU to investigate all the CIEX claims, as well as to recover over a billion Rand from ABSA.”

The SARB pointed out that the meeting took place without similar meetings being held with parties affected by the remedial action.

Supplementary Founding Affadvit.pdf


In mid-August the SARB won its court bid against the Public Protector to have the remedial action to change its mandate set aside.

Mkhwebane’s order was based on a report which focused on an investigation on the Bankorp bailout during the apartheid era.

She ordered the bank’s mandate to be changed to ensure the socio-economic well-being of citizens and to achieve socio-economic transformation. The Reserve Bank contested this on several grounds, including the fact that it was beyond the scope of powers of the Office of the Public Protector.

The remedial action was not related to the primary investigation either.

Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago previously said that the bank’s primary objective is to protect the value of the currency, in the interest of balanced and sustainable growth.

"I know of no central bank that does not have this mandate. These institutions are best equipped to carry out this function, and stripping them of this mandate would raise the question as to where the responsibility for price stability should lie,” he said at the bank’s annual general meeting on July 28.

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public protector  |  sarb  |  busisiwe mkhwebane



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