Much have been said about the Public Protector’s CIEX report. While those agitating against the “white monopoly capital” gave Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane a pat for the remedial action her report recommended, others contended that the Public Protector must be instructed on the limits of her powers.
For instance, the African National Women’s League (ANCWL) like its Youth League counterpart (ANCYL), welcomed the fact that the Public Protector’s CIEX report asked the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to recover R1.1 billion.
Citing the amount as misappropriated public funds given to ABSA, the Public Protector also, charged the SIU to investigate other institutions who are beneficiaries of “misappropriated public funds”, particularly during the apartheid era.
ANCWL is all in for this.
The League called for a further probe that will “recover all the monies allegedly stolen by the Apartheid government and its cronies…” They believe the “funds have to be recovered and used for the development of the prosperous country.”
To the Youth League, Adv Mkhwebane is worthy to be praised for bringing a grassroots approach in handling investigations. She has given true meaning to the Public Protector’s office, asserted the League.
Similarly, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) welcomed the remedial action associated with the Public Protector’s CIEX report.
For the Fighters, the CIEX report is a good thing and it’s only fair ABSA pay back the money they illegally received between 1986 and 1995.
“We welcome the remedial action in relation to ABSA as an important step in dealing with corruption in the private white-owned capital.
“…White monopoly capitalism has survived both under apartheid and the current regime through corruption.
“The ANC government, over the past 23 years, has allowed white capital to go unpunished in its role in apartheid, as well as their part in all corruption of the post-1994 government,” stated EFF.
Well, it’s always a good thing to recover misappropriated public funds. But, that’s not the only thing that has been qualified as “good” in the Public Protector’s report.
It has been severally expressed that Adv Mkhwebane’s decision to challenge President Jacob Zuma’s application for court review in the State of Capture Report, is a good move.
Public Protector’s CIEX Report; A Bad One For ABSA
ABSA has not only been put in a chokehold to part ways with a huge sum of money. The bank could start suffering a massive boycott as calls are been made for the government and its parastatals to stop doing business with ABSA.
To cite an instance, the ANCWL asked:
“…government departments and all State-owned entities doing business with ABSA to terminate their contracts with ABSA with immediate effect.
“Government and its entities cannot continue to give business to the same ABSA who has failed to repay the loan from the South African Reserve Bank,” added the League.
The Backlash Against Mkhwebane’s Report
The praises for Mkhwebane’s CIEX report came with some lashes for the Public Protector.
This is true with the Fighters questioning Mkhwebane’s constitutional wisdom and understanding in terms of her remedial action which instructed the parliament to amend the constitution and amend the powers of the Reserve Bank.
“No matter how noble her proposed amendment may be, she has no power to instruct a constitutional amendment.
“The public Protector is not a Public Representative, she does not have a constituency that voted for her. The constitution is a document of the people and it can only be amended by those who speak for the people…(parliament).
“(She got ) her job through a meritocratic interview conducted and ultimately appointed by public representatives. Not even judges have the power to make an instruction that the constitutions must be amended. ” added the Fighters.
Having said that, EFF upheld that her constitutional amendment recommendation has triggered a major distrust in her ability to take decisions that can stand the test of judicial review.
Also reacting to the constitutional amendment recommendation of the Public Protector’s CIEX report, the South African Reserve Bank expressed that the constitutional amendment to the Reserve Bank’s powers which Mkhwebane ordered, had a quick, ugly impact on the markets and the exchange rate of the Rand.
According to Reserve Bank, if the amendment is effected, it wouldn’t only take away its key competency to protect the value of the currency. It will also destroy the role of the central bank in securing price stability.
Stressing that the remedial action Mkhwebane proposed will have a negative impact on the independence of the Reserve Bank, the Reserve Bank disclosed that it has consulted its legal team. And, has been advised that the remedial action Mkhwebane prescribed is unlawful and falls outside her powers.
“The Reserve Bank has been advised to bring urgent review proceedings to have the remedial action set aside. The Reserve Bank has resolved to do so. The Reserve Bank will address its other concerns with the report and evidential factual inaccuracies therein, at the appropriate time. The Reserve Bank acts in terms of its constitutional mandate in the interests of the welfare of all South Africans,” read the statement South Africa’s central bank issued.
More-s0, the Democratic Alliance (DA) party has referred Mkhwebane’s remedial action to Parliament’s legal office.
DA said Mkhwebane’s recommendation is beyond what she is legally empowered to do.”(It is) indicative of her long-term plan to render the Public Protectors office ineffective.
“…Mkhwebane’s remedial action to amend the Constitution also undermines and usurps Parliamentary powers. The National Assembly is the only institution empowered to amend the Constitution – once it has attained a two-thirds majority from MPs. Mkhwebane’s recommendation is also, therefore, a threat to Parliament’s legislative power,” DA declared.
Meanwhile, the ANC Youth League thinks the proposal to amend the constitution is ideal.
“…It is our long-held view that the constitution as it stands doesn’t protect the poor but the rich. And, we have always insisted that it should be amended in order to bring about fair redistribution of wealth and promote socio-economic transformation,” said the League.