MKMVA welcomes the clear and unambiguous conclusions and findings in the final Report of the Public Protector on the ALLEGED FAILURE BY GOVERNMENT TO RECOVER FUNDS BORROWED TO ABSA
In her report the Public Protector found that the South African government breached its constitutional duty to spend public money wisely when it made no effort to act on the findings of the 1997-1999 Ciex Report in which it was found that the Reserve Bank irregularly gave money to Bankorp – a predecessor of ABSA. The report by the UK recovery and investigations agency CIEX found that a so-called ‘lifeboat’ running into billions of Rands had been given to Bankorp/ABSA by the South African government. The findings of the CIEX Report had been known to government for more than a decade now and yet the government, and specifically the Reserve Bank, took no action to reserve this huge amount of money. Yesterday Advocate Mkhwebane found that the correct amount of the illegal gift to Bankorp Ltd/Absa totals R 1. 125 billion. She pointed out that two investigations into the matter established that the financial aid given to Bankorp was irregular.
We agree with Advocate Mkhwebane when she points out in her Report that for government having spent £600 000 on investigating this irregular loan, and then when receiving the results of the investigation, doing absolutely nothing about it is contrary to the principles of Batho Pele (People First), in that there was no value for money and was thus wasteful expenditure. We furthermore agree with her finding that this inaction of government was in contravention of Section 195 of the Constitution, which calls for public administration to be governed by a high standard of ethics and the efficient economic and effective use of resources. We fully agree with the Public Protector that South Africans were severely prejudiced by the conduct of the government and specifically the Reserve Bank.
It is evident that the money given to ABSA belonged to the citizenry of South Africa, and that the state’s failure to recover this huge amount of money severely prejudiced the people (especially poor Africans) because this money could – and should – have benefited them instead of a mere handful of primarily white Absa shareholders. This is especially shameful in a country where the majority of black people continue to suffer the consequences of apartheid capitalist exploitation and languish in abject poverty. Such a huge amount of money can go a long way to finance free and quality education that our young people have now been demanding for so long. Furthermore, it could assist with the funding of our National Health Care plans. All of this is indeed criminal, and we agree with the Public Protector having referred the case to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) for the recovery of the misappropriation of public funds that were unlawfully given to ABSA. We furthermore support the Public Protector in her request to the SIU to ask President Zuma to amend the relevant proclamation to facilitate their investigation and especially the recovery of the money.
It goes without saying that the Reserve Bank has been derelict in having procrastinated for so long in dealing in a satisfactory manner with this serious issue, and we call on the Reserve Bank to heed the recommendation to co-operate with the SIU. The Governor and management of the Reserve Bank should note that MKMVA, together with many other progressive and concerned organisations as well as the majority of South Africans who have been seriously affected by their dereliction of duty, will carefully monitor if they do so and that there definitely will be consequences if they do not do so.
MKMVA also strongly supports the recommendation of the Public Protector that the Constitution should be amended to specifically stipulate that the Reserve Bank’s primary objectives must include protecting citizen’s socio-economic conditions. This recommendation concurs with a position that we as MKMVA have been articulating for a considerable time. It is also in line with our 5th National Conference Resolutions on Radical Socio-economic Transformation. Our relevant Resolution reads as follows:
“That the Reserve Bank cannot be policy independent from government. Government needs to exert control over the South African Reserve Bank in order to ensure that the Reserve Bank will align, support, and implement government economic transformation policy. The private ownership of shares in in the Reserve Bank must cease, and government must be the sole owner of Reserve Bank shares.”
MKMVA notes that there is already a full-scale process on the go by ABSA and various other representatives of White Monopoly Capital to cast aspersions on the Report and findings of the Public Protector. Their behaviour comes as no surprise to us, this is exactly how we expected them to behave. We also note that most of the mainstream media, who are in the pockets of White Monopoly Capital, have already proceeded with a propaganda campaign against the Report and even the person of the Public Protector. Again we are not surprised, this is the kind of behaviour by White Monopoly Capital that we have come to take as standard. However, the arrogance of ABSA declaring that they have no intention to accept the findings of the Public Protector and that they will not pay back the money is provocative in the extreme – even for the standards of this bank with its long apartheid history!
As MKMVA we call on all progressive organisations who want to see true and Radical Socio-economic Transformation to proceed with popular mass action against ABSA and their arrogant management being led by Mrs. Maria Ramos, Barclays ABSA CEO. We also call on government to close all bank accounts that government and State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s) may still hold with ABSA.
MKMVA wants Mrs. Ramos to understand that it has not escaped our attention that the dereliction of duty by government and Treasury in particular, that the Public Protector so severely criticises overlaped with a period when she was Director General of Treasury and her husband, Mr. Trevor Manuel, was the Minister of Finance. It is our belief that the SIU should also investigate their personal complicity in the criminal activities that took place. We furthermore want to advise ABSA, and Mrs. Ramos and her husband in particular, not to try and be arrogant and contemplate to ignore the findings of the Public Protector. By now they should know that these findings are legally binding. In the past Mrs. Ramos and her husband were in the forefront of insisting that the findings of the former Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, were legally binding when those findings suited their objectives, now that the current Public Protector’s findings do not suit them they sing an entirely different tune. As MKMVA we will not allow these counter revolutionary sell-outs of our revolution to escape what they themselves have so vociferously advocated. What suits the goose must also suit the gander!
In conclusion MKMVA dedicates ourselves again to an economic and just society where the majority of South Africans (especially Africans) will be in control and fully share in the wealth of our country.
We as Umkhonto we Sizwe veterans joined the ANC in order to fight for the full liberation of our country. We will not rest until we live in an economically just and free society.
Issued by the President of MKMVA, Comrade Kebby Mapatshoe
For further inquiries contact Carl Niehaus (NEC Member of MKMVA and National Spokesperson)
Mobile number: +27 82 796 2626