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Corruption Watch: Mkhwebane Showed 'Unbelievable' Ignorance And Should Consider Stepping Down

"She has demonstrated a lack of understanding and caused a lot of anxiety."

11/07/2017 15:04 SAST | Updated 11/07/2017 15:04 SAST
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Corruption Watch Executive Director, David Lewis.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane should be asking herself whether she is competent to run office.

That is according to Corruption Watch's David Lewis, who described Mkhwebane's recommendation that Parliament change the Constitution to alter the South African Reserve Bank's mandate as an embarrassment to her office.

"At the minimum, you would expect her [Mkhwebane] to understand constitutional law. She has demonstrated a lack of understanding and caused a lot of anxiety," Lewis said.

"Frankly, [the decision] was an embarrassment to the office of the public protector by making decisions that everybody, and firstly her as a law student, should know would not stand up in court."

Mkhwebane's office announced that it would not oppose SARB's application to the High Court for the urgent review of her remedial action directing Parliament to effect a constitutional amendment to the bank's powers.

Last month, she recommended that the bank's mandate be changed from one of maintaining currency stability to one of taking responsibility for economic growth. It set off court challenges by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, the Reserve Bank and Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete.

After initially deciding to oppose the court case, on Monday, Mkhwebane's office said she had changed her mind. Opposition parties like the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Democratic Alliance have since asked for Mkhwebane to step down.

"I can understand why people are feeling that she is not competent to run an office of this sort. She made a horrendous decision, one that was horrendously ignorant and displayed unbelievable ignorance of administrative law and constitutional law," Lewis said.

"On those grounds, she should be asking herself whether she is competent to run that office or not."