Effect of Mkhwebane’s proposals would be ‘huge’, says Tito Mboweni
Former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni has said that any changes to the bank’s mandate could have huge implications.
He called for calm after Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane proposed such an amendment on Monday.
"I hope the PP [public protector] has consulted widely about her proposals in this regard. One cannot just take this for granted. This is too fundamental to be treated this easily‚" Mboweni said in a Facebook post.
"The impact of any proposed changes are huge for our country. In any case‚ one requires a huge majority in Parliament to effect the suggested Constitutional changes which no party in Parliament currently commands."
Mkhwebane’s report revolved around a bailout granted by the Reserve Bank to apartheid-era bank Bankorp‚ which was bought by Absa.
Mkhwebane recommended that the government take legal action to recover R1.125bn in public funds unlawfully given to Absa.
But it was her statement about the Reserve Bank’s mandate that raised eyebrows.
Mkhwebane said she would approach Parliament regarding a constitutional amendment to adjust the Reserve Bank’s mandate to include enhancing South Africans’ socioeconomic conditions.
Mboweni was Reserve Bank governor when the Absa allegations were brought to authorities’ attention.
He said he was travelling abroad and had yet to study the report. However‚ he did not believe that Mkhwebane had any ulterior motives.
"I will respond to the public protector’s report in due time. I don’t think that the public protector’s report was meant to fuel political issues in this year of schizophrenic political tensions. She was just doing her job within the available capabilities. Stay calm. No heroics needed‚" Mboweni said.