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Sarb will continue to oppose Public Protector's findings on bank bailout

The Reserve Bank says it's proceeding with its legal challenge to the Public Protector's findings over an apartheid-era bailout of a bank subsequently bought by Absa.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) said on Tuesday it is proceeding with its legal challenge to the Public Protector's findings over an apartheid-era bailout of a bank subsequently bought by Absa, now a unit of Barclays Africa Group.

"The SARB will proceed with a separate application for the review of the Public Protector’s report and evidential factual inaccuracies therein," the bank said in a statement.

The central bank, however, said it was consulting its legal team on how to proceed with its challenge to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's recommendation that the bank's constitutional mandate be changed after she decided not to oppose such a challenge.

On Monday Mkhwebane announced that she would not be opposing the Sarb's application to overturn her findings that the mandate of the bank must be changed.

In a report on the Bankorp bailout, she found that the inflation targeting mandate of the bank must be changed before the Reserve Bank said it would go to court to review that finding.

She has now formally said that she will not oppose the Reserve Bank's application to overturn her findings.

Mkhwebane's findings that the mandate of the Reserve Bank must be changed led to the rand losing value amid fears that the independence of the bank could come under threat.

The bank itself then went to court and was joined both by Absa and Parliament.

Now Mkhwebane's spokesperson Cleo Mosana says the Public Protector won't oppose the Reserve Bank's application.

“After having considered legal advice from senior counsel, the advice which she accepted, the Public Protector decided not to oppose the South African Reserve Bank’s application.”

This means this case will essentially overturn her finding and that Parliament will not have to implement her remedial action and try to change the Constitution to change the bank's mandate.