Public Protector: Absa Must Pay Back The Money

Adjust Comment Print

Mkhwebane gave very little away when she announced she would hold a media briefing at her office on Monday morning "to release formal investigation reports".

Specifically, Mkhwebane said the phrase "to protect the value of the currency" should be removed from the constitution.

Her office told the newspaper that the reports were pending, not buried. We will work side-by-side with the Public Protector.

Nevertheless, he said any changes to the central bank's mandate were unlikely to happen in the short to medium run given the legal pushback that was likely to come from the SARB itself.

Economists Nic Borain and Jeff Schultz at BNP Paribas South Africa said in a note that the Public Protector had placed the future of the central bank's autonomy into question.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane wants government to recover more than R1 billion in alleged misappropriated public funds awarded to Absa in a series of apartheid-era bailouts.

Mkhwebane says the funds where unlawfully given to Bankorp by the Reserve Bank.

On Sunday, DA MP and justice spokesperson Glynnis Breytenbach said that with the flurry of reports uncovering state capture, it was more important than ever for the public protector to investigate and report without fear or favour.

The report released by the Public Protector, a constitutionally-mandated watchdog in November, called for a judicial inquiry into allegations that Zuma, some cabinet members and some state companies acted improperly.

President Zuma has denied any wrongdoing.

In December, the president lodged an application at the High Court in Pretoria to review and set aside the remedial action in the State of Capture report.

Mkhwebane, responding to allegations of being captured by president Zuma, said: "I'm captured by the Constitution, not by anyone, I'm here to serve South Africans".