Barclays Africa says "no obligation" to pay SA govt


The rand was weaker against major global currencies on Monday afternoon‚ after risk spiked following a call by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane for a change in the South African Reserve Bank's mandate.

Mkhwebane released the Ciex report, along with three other reports on various spheres of government, on Monday during a press briefing.

The public protector will also be opposing applications brought by ministers Mosebenzi Zwane and Des van Rooyen in the same matter.

She specifically asked for the removal from the constitution of the phrase "to protect the value of the currency" that has been central to South African monetary policy since the end of white-minority rule in 1994.

Her office told the newspaper that the reports were pending, not buried.

Economists Nic Borain and Jeff Schultz at BNP Paribas South Africa said in a note that the Public Protector had placed the future of the central bank's autonomy into question.

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She also said the government and the Reserve Bank had failed in their role.

The preliminary report found that Absa - which took up ownership of the Bankorp group of banks - could be forced to pay back R2.25-billion to the fiscus after an unlawful apartheid-era bailout of banks in the Bankorp group.

On Sunday, DA MP and justice spokesperson Glynnis Breytenbach said that with the flurry of reports uncovering state capture, it was more important than ever for the public protector to investigate and report without fear or favour.

At the same event, Mkhwebane said she will oppose a bid by President Jacob Zuma to have set aside a report on claims of influence-peddling by him and his government. Absa‚ which has not yet seen the report that contains the order‚ said it would study it before a possible legal review.

President Zuma has denied any wrongdoing.