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Mbete throws her weight behind SARB


Report lacks authority, is flawed and irrational - Speaker

Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete. Picture: Ian Landsberg/ANA

SPEAKER Baleka Mbete has come out in defence of the South African Reserve Bank and called on the court to throw out Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report.
Mbete wants the report by Mkhwebane thrown out because it lacked authority, was flawed and irrational.
Mkhwebane is facing four major challenges in court on her report to strip the SARB of its powers.
The public protector has promised to lodge her application in court soon to defend her report, which has come under fire from Parliament, civil society and the SARB.
In her court papers Mbete has come out in defence of the role and powers of the SARB.
She said Mkhwebane was wrong in her findings to change the mandate of the Reserve Bank.
“She (Mkhwebane) found that the South African government and the Reserve Bank improperly failed to recover an amount of R1.125bn from Bankorp Limited/Absa Bank. I do not admit that her finding was correct but do not take issue with it in this application,” said Mbete.
She said the Constitution was clear on the mandate of the SARB, to protect the value of the currency and price stability.
But Mkhwebane wanted to impose to Parliament to change the mandate of the Reserve Bank.
Mbete said this was not only unconstitutional, it infringed on the powers of Parliament to do its work.
“First, the amendment removes the primary object of the Reserve Bank to protect the value of the currency. It does not allocate this
function to anybody else. It leaves the currency unprotected,” said Mbete.
Mkhwebane then gives the SARB another role, that of promoting balanced and sustainable economic growth and ensuring the socio-economic well-being of the people.
“Third, the Reserve Bank’s constitutionally protected independence, switches from its old primary object. It has until now been entitled to act independently in its protection of the currency,” said Mbete in the court papers.
“The amendment however entitles it to act independently in its promotion of balanced and sustainable economic growth and in ensuring that the socio-economic growth well-being of the citizens are protected,” she said.
Mbete said Mkhwebane was also proposing that the SARB no longer consults with the Minister of Finance but with Parliament.
In its application in the High Court a few weeks ago the SARB governor Lesetja Kganyago said the mandate of the Bank was to protect the value of the currency and price stability.
This mandate is derived from the Constitution and cannot be changed willy-nilly, said Kganyago.