At the end of December 2016, public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane wanted the South African Reserve Bank to “consider reviewing its lending policies”, but if she had other thoughts about how it should go about its work, she did not put those in writing in a draft report.
This week, just six months later, Mkhwebane ordered Parliament to change the Constitution, with wording she drafted unilaterally, to remove the Reserve Bank’s mandate to keep inflation under control.
Just what possessed Mkhwebane to order a change in direct opposition to economic orthodoxy, shocking everyone from the ANC to ratings agencies, is not clear. But in the time during which she changed her mind she had only two meetings on the issue. One was with the department of state security. The other was with Stephen Goodson, a former Reserve Bank director, Holocaust denier and collaborator with the Gupta-linked Black First Land First fringe group.
It seems that Goodson made quite an impression on Mkhwebane.
“A must-read book,” Mkhwebane said on a social media post featuring the front page of Goodson’s book A History of Central Banking (and the Enslavement of Mankind) two days after she met him in April.
Mkhwebane’s report on an Absa bailout, released on Monday, confirms that meeting. It also shows that the public protector, both Mkhwebane and her predecessor Thuli Madonsela, held no other meetings on that report between the end of July 2016 and the release of the report, other than with the “department of state security” on March 3 this year. The report discloses no meetings with economists, central bankers or constitutional experts. Nor is there any evidence that Mkhwebane consulted the Reserve Bank, Parliament or any other body about her proposed change.
Asked about the meeting, Goodson told the Mail & Guardian: “Unfortunately, the conversation which I had with advocate Mkwebane is confidential and I am therefore unable to provide any details.”
As he is still under investigation by the Hawks, Goodson said, he is “not desirous of seeking any publicity regarding this matter”.
Responding to specific questions on who had advised her on the Reserve Bank section of her report, Mkwebane’s spokesperson Cleopatra Mosana said her “remedial action does not in any way amend the Constitution or violate the parliamentary process” and pointed out that the public protector had the power to deal with any “conduct in the state affairs which may result in any impropriety or prejudice”.
Pressed on who had advised Mkwebane, Mosana said she was “an independent thinker and was not influenced by anyone”.
As the M&G first revealed in 2012, Goodson, then a director of the Reserve Bank, considers the Holocaust to be a lie told in service of a largely Jewish global banking community.
“Of course, the principle is to extract enormous sums of money from the Germans as compensation. They [international bankers] tarnished that whole period as being one of great evil in order to keep you blind to what is possible,” he said in a 2010 interview.
He has also expressed his belief that international bankers financed the war against Adolf Hitler because his admirable model of state capitalism threatened their hegemony.
In January, three months before his meeting with Mkwebane, Goodson appeared as a panelist at a Black First Land First event, at the invitation of its convenor Andile Mngxitama, to speak about the banking bailout at the heart of this week’s report.
“The ANC government is in the pocket of the bankers,” Goodson said at the event. “It is the bankers who rule this country.”
If, through central bank reform, the power of this banking “enemy” could be broken, South Africa would have “all the development funds we need and extra”, Goodson said.
On Monday, Mkwebane said she had sent her report to Black First Land First under rules that allow her to inform anyone she chooses about her findings. She did not extend similar courtesy to the likes of former President Thabo Mbeki, who is cited extensively in the report, or former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni, who stands implicated as having failed in his duties there.