Mkhwebane 'failed to apply common sense' over Sarb remedial action

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s understanding of the Reserve Bank’s mandate has come under severe criticism.

FILE: Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has been accused of displaying a lack of common sense by giving no warning of her prescribed remedial action regarding the mandate of the Reserve Bank.

The Ccentral Bank has applied for an urgent interdict to set aside Mkhwebane’s order that Parliament changes the bank's primary mandate to protect the value of the currency to one that protects the wellbeing of the citizens.

Mkhwebane’s understanding of the Reserve Bank’s mandate has come under severe criticism on Tuesday, with advocate David Unterhalter for the Reserve Bank arguing that she failed to apply common sense.

“It’s also simply a lamentable absence of basic common sense. Which is that if you intend to do something as radical, you might think it’s sensible to at least tell the Reserve Bank.”

He says even if the central bank didn’t advise her on the consequences of her remedial action, they were still predictable.

“The consequences were entirely predictable. The rating agencies made it plain that this kind of action would require consideration of a further downgrade.”

The Reserve Bank says it’s regrettable that Mkhwebane failed to appreciate what the true role of the Reserve Bank is.

APPLICATION TO OVERTURN PUBLIC PROTECTOR’S REMEDIAL ACTION

The Reserve Bank has told the High Court in Pretoria that its application for the court to officially overturn the Public Protector’s remedial action regarding the mandate of the Central Bank is urgent.

This is because there have been immediate and dramatic consequences for the economy.

The Reserve Bank has argued that the remedial action ordered by the Public Protector to have its mandate changed had a damaging effect on the country.

The bank wants Judge John Murphy to satisfy himself that the Public Protector's remedial action is unlawful and illegal and therefore must be officially set aside.

Meanwhile, The High Court in Pretoria has heard that Mkhwebane should not have made a finding on the mandate of the Reserve Bank in her investigation into the apartheid-era Bankorp bailout.

The Public Protector has since abandoned her own findings, admitting that she doesn’t have the powers to prescribe a change to the Constitution.

Unterhalter wouldn’t let Mkhwebane off the hook in court.

“The Public Protector has fallen into serious error here because the remedial action that’s required simply doesn’t flow from the investigation that’s been undertaken and that is our first round of review.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)