JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s anti-graft watchdog on Tuesday defended her recommendation that the central bank’s mandate of maintaining currency and price stability be changed, saying the bank should act in the interests of empowering ordinary citizens.
In an interview with 702 Talk Radio Busisiwe Mkhwebane also said that the reserve bank’s mandate was focused on a “few commercial interests.”
“The Reserve Bank should be acting in the interests of empowering South Africans,” Mkhwebane said. “The way it is (now), it is only focusing on very few commercial interests.”
Mkhwebane made the proposal to change the bank’s mandate at a news conference on Monday where she delivered her findings on an apartheid-era bailout of a bank that was subsequently bought by Absa, now a unit of Barclays Africa Group.
In her statement on Monday Mkhwebane specifically said the phrase “to protect the value of the currency” should be removed from the constitution.
The rand weakened as much as 1.6 percent on Monday after Mkhwebane recommendations, but on early Tuesday it had recovered some ground, trading 0.2 percent firmer at 12.9500 per dollar, a touch off the three-week lows of the previous session.
“The proposals add more noise to the South African political saga, which is being offset to a large degree by a favourable top down emerging markets backdrop and improving domestic fundamentals,” Head of Emerging Markets Strategy at Societe Generale Jason Daw said in a note.
Opposing Zuma’s bid to set aside influence peddling report
South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog will oppose a bid by President Jacob Zuma to have a report on claims of influence-peddling by him and his government set aside, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said on Monday.
Thuli Madonsela, Mkhwebane’s predecessor as Protector, released the report in November. It called for a judicial inquiry into allegations that Zuma, some cabinet members and some state companies acted improperly, but stopped short of asserting that crimes had been committed.
In December Zuma, who has denied wrongdoing and faced down calls for his resignation over a series of scandals that have plagued his administration, asked the High Court to set the report aside.
In February, Mkhwebane said she was seeking legal advice on how to proceed on the issue.
On Monday she told a news conference her office would oppose Zuma’s application to have the report set aside.