Mkhwebane: Reserve Bank should act to empower poor South Africans

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says that currently it seems that not all South Africans are benefiting from the Reserve Bank.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane during a press briefing. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane says the Reserve Bank should be acting to empower poor South Africans.

On Monday, Mkhwebane said that Parliament must change the Constitution to amend the mandate of the Reserve Bank away from protecting the value of the currency.

Mkhwebane’s report also found that Absa must repay more than R1 billion which it gave as a bail-out to Bankorp in the 1980s and 1990s before it became part of Absa.

The Public Protector says that currently it seems that not all South Africans are benefiting from the Reserve Bank.

“Let’s deliberate further as South Africans because members of the portfolio committee represent the voices of South Africans and come up with a way saying how can we benefit going forward.”

The man who lodged the original complaint about Absa and the Reserve Bank with the Public Protector says he can’t see how her finding that the bank must change its monetary policy mandate could ever be implemented.

But Mkhwebane says she also wants the constitutional mandate given to the Reserve Bank around protecting the value of the currency to change.

Advocate Paul Hoffman says he didn’t ask the Public Protector to investigate the mandate of the Reserve Bank.

“She’s on a frolic of her own, it has nothing to do with the complaint. I’m sure that the Reserve Bank will successfully knock that particular finding on its head.”

While Wits University economic lecturer Lumkile Mondi says he doesn’t believe this will be implemented.

“And our lawmakers in Parliament will act responsibly in ensuring that the policy makers do what they are supposed to do, rather than loot state resources to pursue individual and self-interest at the expense of the majority of South Africans, whom are black.”

Absa has already said it disputes the findings of this report.

WATCH: Public Protector’s findings on Absa Bankorp matter

At the same time, Mkhwebane says her office is in the final stages of compiling a report of alleged maladministration by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

Last week, the Constitutional Court ordered an investigation into Dlamini’s personal liability in the social grants fiasco.

Mkhwebane says the complaint against Dlamini is quite broad.

“Irregular appointment of staff and service providers and fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the awarding a security services contract for security solutions by Sassa.”

She says the investigation is in its final stages.

“There was a Section 79 which was issued to Minister Dlamini. She never responded before I joined the Public Protestor, so we’ve reminded her of that Section 79.

“Unfortunately we’ve not received any response and we’re finalising a report on that particular one.”

Mkhwebane did not provide an expected date of completion.
(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)