Public protector Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane this week reportedly asked the Pretoria High Court’s deputy judge president to postpone the review of her controversial Bankorp/Absa report until next year following reports that her legal team had dumped her.
EWN reported on Friday, the public protector’s legal team told the deputy judge president there were simply too many documents – said to be about 7 000 in total – to read through and file an answering affidavit by the court’s set deadline on Monday.
This is despite Mkhwebane’s office telling EWN last week that the withdrawal of her legal team would not have any bearing or negative impact on the review application.
The high court was due to hear the matter over three days in December, but Mkhwebane reportedly wanted to postpone her deadline to file papers until the January 29.
Absa, National Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) are all challenging the public protector’s report and want its recommendations and remedial action to be overturned.
Absa reportedly rejected Mkhwebane’s request to postpone the review application. The bank said in correspondence that it had filed its founding affidavit more than two-and-a-half months ago.
On August 15, the same court set aside Mkhwebane’s instruction that the constitution should be amended to remove the Sarb’s constitutional mandate to keep inflation in check. This followed an urgent application by the central bank, which accused the public protector of acting irrationally, unfairly, well beyond her powers and making a recommendation that was ill-informed, reckless and a threat to the poor.