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Public Protector to oppose bid by Treasury, SARB and ABSA

Jul 06 2017 12:51
Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane will file opposing papers against National Treasury, the South African Reserve Bank and ABSA next week, her office said on Thursday.

Mkhwebane’s spokesperson, Cleo Mosene, told Fin24 that the protector will file her answering affidavit next week, but that they will not provide details of this through the media until then.

“It is a contentious issue and one of public interest,” she said. “We won’t deal with this through the media, as it won’t be fair.”

She said Mkhwebane’s remedial action has been misunderstood, saying she is not interfering in changing the Constitution. “Parliament must initiate a process,” she said. “They will follow their own process.”

Mosene said National Treasury has yet to send them papers, following their press statement on Wednesday announcing their intention to oppose the protector.

“We only read what we see in the media,” she said.

Treasury spokesperson Yolisa Tyantsi confirmed this, saying their deadline to file the papers to the Public Protector and High Court is on Friday.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba “instructed counsel to institute review proceedings for the review and setting aside of the findings, remedial action and the entire report of the Public Protector, titled Alleged Failure to Recover misappropriated Funds”, Treasury said in a statement on Wednesday.

Treasury and ABSA are supporting the Reserve Bank’s initial court request to review the remedial action, as the protector’s remedial action seeks to change the bank’s mandate to protect the value of the currency.

“The basis for the review is that the remedial action breaches the principle of legality and the findings of fact are not necessarily adequately connected to the evidence which was before the Public Protector,” Treasury said.

“It is notable that the Public Protector report has generated a public discussion concerning the role of the Reserve Bank,” it said. “The role of the Reserve Bank is a policy question. Its primary mandate is in the Constitution.

“There is no intention in the part of the executive to amend the Constitution in any manner. In any event, the first port of call for any policy changes would not be the Constitution, but the pre-constitutional legislation which governs the Reserve Bank, the South African Reserve Bank Act 90 of 1989.”

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