High Court rules Public Protector's remedial action 'unlawful'

High Court rules Public Protector's remedial action 'unlawful'

The Economic Freedom Fighters on Friday called on Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to leave her office following a High Court in Pretoria judgement.

Mkhwebane's report, released in June, ordered Absa to pay more than R1-billion for an apartheid-era bailout provided to its predecessor, Bankorp, by the SA Reserve Bank.

The EFF said the judgment meant she had failed in her duty. "She failed to explain her actions adequately". "It can be corrected, but she has to be able to appreciate that she needs to focus on what was decided before her". The Public Protector also proposed changing the central bank's inflation-targeting mandate, a bid scrapped by the High Court in August.

The Public Protector's proclamation came after an investigation into a report on apartheid-era looting by UK-based asset recovery agency, Ciex, was submitted to the her office.

The Ciex report alleged that R24 billion was unlawfully given out to Bankorp (which would eventually become part of Absa) from 1985 to 1992 by the South African Reserve Bank.

High Court rules Public Protector's remedial action 'unlawful'

Both the SARB and ABSA had filed court applications to have the court review the report and set it aside.

A full bench of judges ordered Mkhwebane to pay 15% of the SARB's costs in her personal capacity. The judgment's most scathing comments related to Mkhwebane's meetings with Zuma, which she did not previously disclose, and.

Mkhwebane recommended that the SIU reopen the investigation into the allegedly stolen funds, but the judges said she did not furnish any reasons as to why the Heath report's findings were irrelevant and why another investigation by the SIU was needed. The EFF said the court found that Mkhwebane did not disclose that she met the Presidency and the State Security Agency before she published her report in June previous year.

Judges Cynthia Pretorius, Nomonde Mngqibisa-Thusi and Dawie Fourie did not mince their words in a 73-page judgment, in which they found Mkhwebane was biased and the remedial action in her June 2017 CIEX report was unlawful.

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