Thapelo Lekabe
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
11 Jul 2017
1:12 pm

Mkhwebane ‘didn’t misinterpret the law’, it was just ‘a technical issue’

Thapelo Lekabe

The public protector's office says her remedial action regarding the Reserve Bank's mandate is an issue of how it was originally 'crafted'.

Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane did not misinterpret the law when she initially instructed parliament to enact a constitutional amendment to expand the Reserve Bank’s mandate, which would have included protecting citizens’ socioeconomic conditions.

This is according to her spokesperson, Cleopatra Mosana, in a heated interview on Tuesday morning with Radio 702’s Eusebius McKaiser.

Mosana said after deliberations with her legal team, Mkhwebane decided to reverse her remedial action regarding the central bank in her report into an apartheid-era bailout to Bankorp, which was later bought by Absa in the 1990s.

Despite Mkhwebane’s admission in court papers that she had no constitutional or statutory powers to order parliament to change the Reserve Bank’s role of keeping inflation in check, her spokesperson said it was just a “technical issue” related to the manner in which the remedial action was “crafted”.

“It’s not a mistake, it’s how the issue was crafted, and that’s why she is conceding. She didn’t get the law wrong. At the end of the day, why is the report still standing and implementable if she got the law wrong?” she said.

Mosana said the public protector – who has come under fire from political parties, the business community and civil society organisations – was an independent person, and her remedial action on the Reserve Bank “did not, in any way, amend the constitution or violate any parliamentary processes, it was on the basis of the law and how she interpreted it”.

“I will never be in the republic of Gupta [the controversial Gupta family], I don’t even know who the Guptas are. She didn’t get the law wrong, it’s an issue of crafting, and that’s why she had to concede that this is an issue of language, an issue of crafting,” she said.

“So if you want to perpetuate a certain narrative, there’s nothing I can do about it, but the issue is that the remedial action of the public protector stands, and they are implementable as they are.”

Listen to the full interview below:

 

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