Mkhwebane was forced to admit that she had got it wrong when she ordered that the Bank’s constitutional mandate be changed to no longer focus on protecting the value of the rand‚ as part of that report’s remedial action.
Arguing for the Bank in the Constitutional Court, advocate Kate Hofmeyr said that remedial action had resulted in the sale of R1,3bn in government bonds and caused a drop in the value of the rand.
Hofmeyr has urged SA’s highest court to dismiss Mkhwebane’s attempt to overturn the personal costs order granted against her in the case.
Should the court grant Mkhwebane leave to appeal that order, she said, the Bank would ask it to find that Mkhwebane “abused her office” in the way she conducted the probe.
“The public protector failed to live up to the standards required of her office during her investigation. She conducted a partisan investigation which was aimed at undermining the Reserve Bank,” the bank’s lawyers stated in documents before the Constitutional Court.
They added that Mkhwebane “also fell egregiously short of her duties” during the litigation that ultimately saw her office’s report on the apartheid-era bailout, given by the SARB to Bankorp, being overturned. Bankorp was later taken over by Absa.
In her report‚ Mkhwebane ordered the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to reopen its earlier investigation into the apartheid-era lifeboat granted to Bankorp “in order to recover misappropriated public funds unlawfully given to Absa Bank …”