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Mkhwebane grilled over report on Absa-Bankorp lifeboat

The ABSA/Bankorp matter loomed large over Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s meeting with Parliament’s Justice Portfolio Committee.

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

CAPE TOWN - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has been grilled by Members of Parliament (MPs) about her controversial report on the Absa-Bankorp lifeboat which directs Parliament to change the Reserve Bank’s mandate.

Mkhwebane’s investigation into the apartheid-era bailout led her to findings against government and the central bank.

She found they had failed to recover the money “illegally” gifted to Absa between 1986 and 1995.

The report was challenged in court and her remedial action, relating to the Reserve Bank’s mandate, was set aside by the High Court in Pretoria.

Unsurprisingly, the ABSA-Bankorp matter loomed large over Mkhwebane’s meeting with Parliament’s Justice Portfolio Committee.

Although Mkhwebane has backed down on her proposal that the constitutional mandate of the Reserve Bank be changed, MPs want her to explain what she was thinking when she made the recommendation in the first place.

ACDP MP Steve Swart questioned the Public Protector.

“It’s very clear that you conceded that point and the court made a determination on that part of the remedial action. My concern is, what type of legal advice did you receive?”

EFF MP Sam Matiase said she had bungled the job and should resign.

“I wonder if there is a recourse in addressing a mistake of monumental proportions you’ve caused.”

Mkhwebane responded that it was not her intention to instruct Parliament to change the Constitution.

Nearly a year in the job, she conceded that lessons have been learned.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)