Rand weakens after public protector calls for Bank to ditch currency protection

Geronimo Vena
Giugno 20, 2017

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Monday criticised government and the SARB for failing to recover more than one billion rand from Bankorp Limited/ABSA Bank billions advanced as an "illegal gift" to the Bankorp group, which was bought by ABSA in the early 1990s.

But SARB Governor Lesetja Kganyago told a business gathering late on Monday, without making specific reference to Mkhwebane's recommendations, that keeping inflation low and protecting the value of the currency was supportive of economic growth. That phrase has been central to South African monetary policy since the end of white-minority rule in 1994.

Mkhwebane said the conduct of government and the SARB constitutes "improper conduct and maladministration".

Mkhwebane was delivering her findings against Barclays Africa, and it was unclear why deviated into monetary policy.

"This is quite unusual that a Public Protector has been so specific on changing the constitution or indeed be so radical on transformation", he said.

Barclays Africa would have to pay 1.1 billion rand ($86 million), Mkhwebane said, adding that her office had referred the matter to the Special Investigating Unit to help recover the money.

"I am opposing the review by the President, including the Minister Zwane and Minister van Rooyen's applications because remember, they've also applied for judicial review to set aside the whole report", she further said.

The Public Protector, a constitutionally-mandated watchdog, released the report in November previous year, after an extensive probe over allegations of influence-peddling against Zuma, whose administration has been marred by scandals.

President Zuma has denied any wrongdoing.

The bank asked the Public Protector to correct the defects they named in the preliminary report before publishing the final version.

The bank says after reading the Public Protector's full report it will consider its options which may include a judicial review.

Mkhwebane, responding to allegations of being captured by president Zuma, said: "I'm captured by the Constitution, not by anyone, I'm here to serve South Africans".

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