Public Protector cannot order Constitution amendment: EFF

Johannesburg, 20 June 2017 - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane wants Parliament to amend the Constitution, giving the Reserve Bank a new mandate that focuses on the socio-economic wellbeing of citizens. Video: eNCA
EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi outside Parliament on 9 February 2017. Photo: eNCA/Bafana Nzimande

JOHANNESBURG – The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on Tuesday welcomed Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s remedial action on the CIEX report that Absa pay back R1.125-billion in apartheid-era bailouts, adding that she, however, did not have the power to order Parliament to amend the Constitution.

EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said not even the judges of the Constitutional Court had the power to make an instruction that the Constitution be amended.

READ: Absa denies apartheid-era debt

“The EFF questions the PP’s constitutional wisdom and understanding because of her remedial action in which she instructs Parliament to amend the Constitution in relations to the role of the Reserve Bank. No matter how noble her proposed amendment may be, she has no power to instruct a constitutional amendment,” said Ndlozi.

“The danger with her constitutional amendment recommendation is that it will be refuted by the court. This will result in a general distrust in her capacity to take decisions that can stand the test of judicial review.”

Mkhwebane on Monday released a report on the alleged failure to recover “misappropriated funds” in the erstwhile Bankorp lifeboat investigation. She criticised the Reserve Bank for failing to recover more than R1-billion from Bankorp Limited/Absa Bank, advanced as an “illegal gift” to the Bankorp group, which was bought by Absa in the early 1990s.

She referred the matter to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to recover misappropriated public funds unlawfully given to Absa Bank “in the amount of R1.125-billion”.

She further ordered remedial action directing Parliament to effect a constitutional amendment to the Reserve Bank’s powers.

The bank said on Tuesday it would challenge Mkhwebane’s “unlawful” remedial action and that she had no powers to direct Parliament to effect an amendment to the Constitution.

Ndlozi said “a durable solution” was a state-owned bank that will redirect capital investment to poor, underdeveloped communities and a state-led industrialisation.

Click on the above video to see the full interview with Ndlozi.

African News Agency

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