Public Protector confirms receipt of judicial review application by Reserve Bank

Lesetja Kganyago filed legal papers in the bank's application to have Mkhwebane's findings that the bank's inflation targeting mandate must be changed set aside.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane during a press briefing. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Public Protector has confirmed she's received the judicial review application brought by the South African Reserve Bank.

Advocate Busisiswe Mkhwebane says she'll now meet with her legal team to decide whether to oppose it.

On Tuesday, Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago filed legal papers in the bank's application to have Mkhwebane's findings that the bank's inflation targeting mandate must be changed set aside.

Kganyago argues that Mkhwebane has not properly explained how she came to her findings of the bank's mandate and he insists she does not have the power to tell Parliament to change the constitution.

Almost two weeks ago, the Public Protector found that the public was prejudiced by government’s failure to recover more than a billion rand unlawfully paid to Absa bank and its predecessor Bankorp.

Mkhwebane ordered the Reserve Bank to co-operate with the Special Investigating Unit to recover more than R1.1billion.

In the same report, Mkhwebane also said she wanted the constitutional mandate given to the Reserve Bank around protecting the value of the currency to change.

Section 224 of the Constitution states that the primary object of the Reserve Bank is to protect the value of the currency in the interests of balanced and sustainable economic growth in the republic.

Advocate Mkhwebane wants this changed as follows:

“The primary object of the Reserve Bank is to promote balanced and sustainable economic growth in the republic while ensuring that socio-economic wellbeing of the citizens is protected.”

The amendment effectively amounts to ending the Reserve Bank's mandate of using interest rates to contain inflation.

The Constitutional Court has ruled that the Public Protector's findings are binding, but they can be challenged in court.

The recommendation has been widely criticised as over-reach by the Chapter 9 institution.