The DA welcomed Parliament's decision to take on review the Ciex report released by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Phill Magakoe

Cape Town - The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on Friday welcomed Parliament's decision to take on review the Ciex report released by the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, on Monday.  

The DA said the "remedial actions" listed by Mkhwebane, which included amending parts of the Constitution in respect of the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), constituted a significant overreach of the Public Protector's Constitutional mandate as only the National Assembly had the power to make changes to the Constitution. 

"The Public Protector's remedial action has had a negative effect on the value of our currency and ratings agencies have expressed their deep concern over the proposed erosion of the independence of the SARB," said DA spokesperson on justice and constitutional development, Glynnis Breytenbach.  

The DA said it had repeatedly expressed concern over Mkhwebane's suitability for the position and "her actions increasingly show that our concern was correct". 

"We thus support this vital step taken by Parliament and will continue to investigate avenues to ensure that the Public Protector fulfils her mandate and does not overreach to the detriment of South Africa." 

Parliament had earlier labelled as "unconstitutional" remedial action put forward by the Public Protector in her report into an apartheid-era bailout of Bankorp and said it would challenge this through a court application. 

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Monday said the South African Reserve Bank had failed in its duties to protect the public by not ensuring that Absa Bank, which bought out Bankorp, repaid the R1,125 billion bailout given to failed Bankorp. 

She went on to recommend an amendment to section 224 of the constitution, which deals with the Reserve Bank's independence, to shift the bank's primary focus from the need to protect the currency. 

In a statement, Parliament said it had studied the report of the Public Protector's investigation into "allegations of maladministration, corruption, misappropriation of public funds and failure by the South African government to implement the CIEX report and to recover public funds from Absa Bank". 

It said the report, amongst others, directed the following remedial action at Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services: "The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services must initiate a process that will result in the amendment of section 224 of the Constitution, in pursuit of improving socio-economic conditions of the citizens of the Republic, by introducing a motion in terms of section 73(2) of the Constitution in the National Assembly and hereafter deal with the matter in terms of section 74(5) and (6) of the Constitution". 

Parliament said the Public Protector's remedial action "essentially instructs a committee of Parliament to start a legislative process, prescribes to the institution on the policy that will inform the bill, the wording of the amendment of the Constitution's section 224 and directs what constitutional provisions must inform the legislative process of the bill". 

"Parliament believes that the remedial action, which is binding in terms of the law, usurps the powers of the institution under the Constitution. Section 57 of the Constitution empowers the Assembly to control its internal arrangements, proceedings and procedures."

"Parliament will accordingly initiate a court application to have this remedial action set aside on the basis of its unconstitutionality."