FAQs: What you need to know about the public protector and Absa’s ‘apartheid bailout’

1.Whose report is it anyway?

In 2012, Advocate Paul Hoffman convinced former public protector Thuli Madonsela to investigate the alleged failure of the democratic government to recover the funds borrowed by Bankorp (now Absa) from the apartheid regime.

For four years, Madonsela interviewed affected parties but before she left, she had not signed the report and sent it to them.

Mkhwebane took over and seemingly finalised the draft report and, on December 21, it was sent to the parties.

But Mkhwebane is the current public protector and this is her report.

2.Why did it take so long?
“It transpired during a meeting we had with him (Dr Chris Stals, former governor of the Reserve Bank) on September 8 2016 that he had left with curial (sic) original information from the bank which could have been useful and helpful from the commencement of this investigation a decision which contributed to the delay in the finalisation of this investigation” reads the preliminary report.

3.Has the report shaken Absa’s share price?
The markets responded only slightly negatively to the news on Friday. Absa, trading as Barclays Africa, saw its share price dip 1.2% between the market opening and midday – which equates to a total market capitalisation loss of R1.75-billion.

While the other three major banks, First Rand, Nedbank and Standard Bank, were all slightly up on the day, the market as a whole was up 0.75%

4.Why is Black First Land First making such a noise?
BLF has been making a noise about this particular investigation. In October they stormed the public protector’s office in Pretoria demanding a meeting with Madonsela. They wanted her at the time to speed up the investigation into R26-billion allegedly stolen from the Reserve Bank under the apartheid regime. This R26-billion includes the loans made to Bankorp (Now Absa).

5.Who did the public protector actually interview?
After five years, the preliminary report records the following interviews:

Maria Ramos, as group chief executive of Barclays and former director general of Treasury (May 24 2016);

Reverand Frank Chikane as former director general in the presidency (May 30 2016);

Trevor Manuel as former minister of finance (May 31 2016);

Thabo Mbeki as former president (May 12 2016);

Judge Dennis Davis (July 22 2013);

Judge Willem Heath (January and March 2013);

Tito Mboweni and Gill Marcus as former reserve bank governors (September 2 2013);

Keep the powerful accountable

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Athandiwe Saba
Athandiwe Saba

Athandiwe Saba is a multi award-winning journalist who is passionate about data, human interest issues, governance and everything that isn’t on social media. She is an author, an avid reader and trying to find the answer to the perfect balance between investigative journalism, online audiences and the decline in newspaper sales. It’s a rough world and a rewarding profession.

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