Johannesburg - The legal counsel representing the Reserve Bank of South Africa (Sarb) are punching holes at the Public Protector’s recommendation that the bank’s mandate be changed in the interest of advancing better socio-economic conditions to the masses.
Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has said she would not oppose the Sarb’s application, which is currently being heard at Court A at the Palace of Justice in Pretoria’s Church Street on Tuesday (August 1). The Public Protector had recommended in her June 19 report on the Bankcorp apartheid bailout that the mandate of the Reserve Bank to target inflation at 3% and 6% must be changed and focus it on the “socio-economic well-being of citizens”. The Rand immediately took a knock, amid fears that the National Treasury’s decisions could become more politically inclined.
The Sarb’s counsel is arguing that the Public Protector’s powers, as important as they are, are always subject to the Constitution. They want the court to reverse Mkhwebane’s instruction which is legally binding, unless set aside by the courts.
The counsel made reference to the “harmful consequences” the South African economy suffered following Mkhwebane’s recommendation, saying she “overstepped the mark”.
The Bankcorp bailout refers to the R2.25 billion Absa received from the discredited apartheid government, which Mkhwebane wants paid back to state coffers.