Public protector vows to ‘set the record straight’ on Reserve Bank allegations

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane will file court papers to “set the record straight” in response to an affidavit submitted by the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) on Monday which alleges Mkhwebane plotted with the presidency and the State Security Agency (SSA) to change the constitutional mandate of the bank.

Cleopatra Mosana, the spokesperson for the Public Protector’s office, told the Mail & Guardian that the public protector would be filing an answering affidavit to the Sarb on Wednesday.

“She’s setting the record straight… currently how things are playing out, it’s a bit silly,” Mosana said.

On Tuesday morning, EWN reported that the Sarb had filed an affidavit that indicated Mkhwebane met with the presidency and SSA to change the mandate of the Bank. In a meeting with the presidency’s legal advisor, Mkhwebane had allegedly disclosed that she planned to alter the Sarb’s mandate in her remedial action.

At the time, the public protector’s office was investigating the Ciex report into the Absa “lifeboat” from the apartheid state.
In her remedial action on the report, Mkhwebane recommended that the Sarb’s constitutional mandate be changed to focus on socioeconomic issues instead of its obligation to protect the currency.

The Sarb challenged her remedial action in the Pretoria high court, saying the public protector had breached her powers. The court set aside Mkhwebane’s remedial action on the Sarb in August.

In its affidavit this week, the Sarb said that the public protector had failed to disclose the meetings with the Presidency and SSA in her final report on the Ciex investigation. The meetings, according to the affidavit, took place two weeks before her report was finalised.

Sarb spokesperson Jabulani Sikhakhane confirmed the contents of the affidavit. The bank has asked the public protector’s office to provide a transcript of her meeting with the presidency and to explain the meeting on the affidavit. 



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