Tuesday’s judgment in the matter of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and the Reserve Bank does not bode well for her chances of withstanding a court challenge by Absa regarding findings made by her in the same report. Mkhwebane risked the charge of "hypocrisy and incompetence" if she did not hold herself to an equal or higher standard of legality than those subject to her writ, Judge John Murphy said when handing down judgment in the High Court in Pretoria. He set aside Mkhwebane’s remedial action directing a change in the Bank’s constitutional mandate. The protector’s "superficial reasoning and erroneous findings on the issue [of the Bank’s mandate], as appear in the final report and answering affidavit" did not provide a rational basis for the remedial action, he said. Remedial action directing changes to the Bank’s constitutional mandate and instructions to recover money from Absa for an apartheid-era bail-out of Bankorp, which Absa had bought afterwards, were contained in a r...

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