Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, pictured, has been accused of a gross waste of public resources after applying for a postponement of a bid to set aside her Absa-CIEX report, only to withdraw the application hours later and offer to pay punitive costs.
Absa Bank, the SA Reserve Bank and the finance minister strenuously opposed Mkhwebane’s bid to postpone their review application to set aside the drastic remedial action ordered in her CIEX report, which will be heard before a full bench of the High Court in Pretoria on December 5.
They accused her of wasting public money, a high-handed and dismissive approach, trying to manipulate the court and negatively affecting already fragile financial markets.
Absa said uncertainty about whether or not they must pay back R1 billion to government, as directed by the public protector, was affecting clients.
Absa also objected to her “highly inappropriate” allegation that they “looted state funds”.
Judge Billy Mothle ordered the protector to file her answering affidavit on November 27 and her heads of argument on November 29.
Mkhwebane said her previous legal team had withdrawn and her new team needed time to prepare for the case.
Her counsel, Panesa Khoza, said she did not intend to enforce the remedial action and the Special Investigating Unit had agreed not to proceed on it. Gilbert Marcus, for Absa, pointed out that the Reserve Bank had an order setting aside Mkhwebane’s directive for the constitution to be changed to remove the Reserve Bank’s mandate to keep inflation in check.
He said remarks by the judge in that ruling that the release of the report had immediate negative consequences for the economy, the market and investor confidence was not merely an opinion, but was based on evidence.