Dear Comrade Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane
We, and here I speak on behalf of many who have waited for years, are ecstatic to finally have the matter of the ABSA conspiracy and theft – concocted between senior members of the Broederbond including then South African Reserve Bank (SARB) Governor Chris Stals, Anton and Johann Rupert, the then ABSA CEO Danie Cronje, Marinus Daling and Anton Du Plessis – being validated by your report and your finding that the money should be returned to the public purse.
We have waited for twenty years in fact, since Michael Oatley, the then Chairman of Ciex Ltd, brought to the attention of then Deputy President Thabo Mbeki the fact that the broederbond in association with the SARB and the banks had looted the state during the apartheid regime.
After six years of your predecessor Thuli Madonsela dilly-dallying and we now know why, you have finally made it emphatically clear that corruption, irrespective of the era it was committed and the thieves involved, will not be tolerated. Those found with their fingers in the public kitty will be exposed, the money recovered and the culprits prosecuted. Madonsela was conflicted. The man who had offered her a job at Stellenbosch Univeristy on her departure from the Office of Public Protector (OPP) was involved in the looting. She found it difficult or near impossible to bite the hand that would feed her.
What is also encouraging is that you hold the democratic government accountable. The ANC government under former President Thabo Mbeki spent public money and paid CIEX Ltd 600 000 British Pounds to investigate the rampant looting of state funds on the eve of the democratic dispensation. Having received the report it then did absolutely nothing with the report. Today Mboweni calls the former Chairman of CIEX Ltd, Michael Oatley a “bounty hunter”. In fact, in his response to the final PP report which he posted on social media Facebook, he omits to mention that the government of which he was a cabinet minister at the time, paid this bounty hunter money. He simply mentions how the bounty hunter came up with the suggestion that he could recover money lent to Bankorp which was later taken over by ABSA, and they turned him down. This is a falsification of facts. Oatley’s CIEX was commissioned to investigate and help recover the public funds which were estimated at around R26bn. In its investigation, the London-based intelligence and investigatory consultancy, discovered that the SARB had made illegal loans to several banking institutions and these reinvested at huge profit. Two investigations thereafter found the loans to have been irregular and unlawful. They confirmed the CIEX report by the “bounty-hunter”.
It is quite understandable for revolutionaries of our liberation struggle to be embarrassed that they have been caught out. They have turned a blind eye to this massive corruption and have instead, gone on to sit on the boards and have been given opportunities to participate in the operations of these organisations. They in fact have colluded with the oppressor against the people of this country. We now hear them say there’s risk of systematic damage to the banking system. There is no such. Ciex presented to Mbeki and a cabinet which included Mboweni, how ABSA could pay the money off over a period of time. The most astonishing and perhaps most painful in its deceit, is that ABSA which was expecting to be required to re-pay, had actually concluded that they could pay-back-the-money in installments without damage to their business let alone any risk to the banking system as a whole. ABSA could have paid this money over the twenty years that the ANC government of the time chose to bury the issue instead.
You clearly state in your report that a “public functionary who is alerted to an irregularity or impending irregularity has a responsibility to take action to arrest such irregularity”. There are many functionaries who would have to face criminal charges.
Comrade Busisiwe, SARB was corrupt then and some will say it still is today but its mandate today must be reviewed. It is not surprising that it would, as part of your investigation into CIEX, say the South African public “were not prejudiced in any way”. To suggest that R26bn stolen from the public purse would not have prejudiced us in any way in a country where some children go to bed without food and others still study under trees, is beyond crass and insensitive. This is an institution that is pro-capitalist and anti-poor and couldn’t give a toss about its citizens.
The greatest gift you’ve given us perhaps, over and above your ruling that ABSA should pay back the money, is re-opening the investigation into apartheid theft to include the beneficiaries of the R26bn and more that is covered in the CIEX Report. We hear the Reserve Bank rejects your report and will challenge it in court. We also hear ABSA will do the same. It will be fun to have all the skeletons of both Reserve Bank and ABSA come out into the open. In some way, the corrupt history of these institutions will now be laid bare for all to hear so that never again shall we allow our country to be abused in the manner that it was and still is.