Parliament to challenge public protector’s Absa report

Parliament plans to challenge a report released this week by public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane‚ who instructed the legislature to give effect to a constitutional amendment.

Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Jacob Zuma

The report looked into a bailout granted to Bankorp by the Reserve Bank and found the central bank culpable.

Mkhwebane revealed that she would seek a constitutional amendment to expand the Reserve Bank’s mandate to include the country’s socioeconomic well-being.

The pronouncement immediately drew criticism that Mkhwebane had overstepped the mark.

Parliament said it would ask a court to rule on the matter.

Below is its full statement on the report‚ released on Thursday evening:

PARLIAMENT TO TAKE PUBLIC PROTECTOR’S REPORT ON JUDICIAL REVIEW

Thursday‚ 22 June 2017 — Parliament has studied the report of the Public Protector’s investigation into “allegations of maladministration‚ corruption‚ misappropriation of public funds and failure by the South African government to implement the CIEX report and to recover public funds from Absa Bank.”

The report‚ amongst others‚ directs the following remedial action at Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services: “The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services must initiate a process that will result in the amendment of section 224 of the Constitution‚ in pursuit of improving socio-economic conditions of the citizens of the Republic‚ by introducing a motion in terms of section 73(2) of the Constitution in the National Assembly and hereafter deal with the matter in terms of section 74(5) and (6) of the Constitution.”

The Public Protector’s remedial action essentially instructs a committee of Parliament to start a legislative process‚ prescribes to the institution on the policy that will inform the bill‚ the wording of the amendment of the Constitution’s section 224 and directs what constitutional provisions must inform the legislative process of the bill.

Parliament believes that the remedial action‚ which is binding in terms of the law‚ usurps the powers of the institution under the Constitution. Section 57 of the Constitution empowers the Assembly to control its internal arrangements‚ proceedings and procedures.

Parliament will accordingly initiate a court application to have this remedial action set aside on the basis of its unconstitutionality.

ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA

 

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