The Banking Association South Africa commends and notes with serious concern the implications of the judgement handed down by the Constitutional Court today. This relates to the powers and binding nature of the Public Protector’s findings, including on the President and Parliament.
According to the Association’s Managing Director, Cas Coovadia:
“We commend the unanimous and significant judgement by the Constitutional Court in affirming the duties, responsibilities and co-equal nature of Government, Parliament, Chapter 9 institutions and the Judiciary to uphold their Constitutional obligations in executing their mandates. We are however deeply concerned that the judgement confirms that in respect of the Public Protectors report on the Nkandla matter, Parliament, the President and members of Cabinet have been found by the Constitutional Court to have acted in conflict with their constitutional obligations.”
At this critical economic and fiscal juncture, our country requires the central tenets and principles of our Constitutional democracy and the duty it places on all organs of State to be affirmed, respected and complied with in order to ensure rule of law and the Constitutionally enshrined principle of the separation of powers.
The judgement is significant in that it illuminates how the separation of powers should be navigated by all organs of state.
No individual, irrespective of their position and the office they hold is beyond reproach. Where there are reservations about questionable conduct, they must be held answerable to the institutions of accountability and oversight. This includes Parliament, the President and the Constitutionally enshrined Chapter 9 institutions reporting to it, such as the Public Protector in this instance.
The stability and credibility of our Constitutional democracy fundamentally requires critical institutions such as Parliament to perform its Constitutional functions and mandate of accountability, oversight and legislating in a procedurally sound, unbiased and Constitutionally compliant manner.
The Constitutional Court’s judgement requiring National Treasury to determine the portion of funding for non-security items to be paid back by the President, is a sign of confidence in National Treasury’s role as a critical and credible state institution as the custodian of our public finances and fiscal management.
The Banking Association welcomes the initial response by Parliament, the Office of the Chief Whip of the ANC in Parliament and by the ANC itself, recognising the serious nature of the Constitutional Court’s judgement– including on the functioning of Parliament, and that they will abide by and respect it.
During the Minister of Finance’s recent international investor road show, with business and labour, the credibility of our institutions of state was highlighted by international investors and ratings agencies as a significant imperative impacting on our ability to attract and retain FDI, boost confidence and promote inclusive economic growth.
“We are faced with fundamental national economic and social priorities that need to be addressed through our collective efforts as government, business, labour and civil society to get our economy back on track and to affirm that our Constitution remains intact and unshaken, ” emphasises Coovadia.
This requires the Constitutional Court as the ultimate protector and final arbiter of our Constitution and our democracy, to be respected by all individuals and institutions. We commend the Constitutional Court for confirming the centrality of our Constitution and emphasising the credibility of the Court and Public Protector.
We also commend the Court for demonstrating that critical institutions remain credible and will ensure the implementation of the Constitution by all organs of state, including the Presidency.
We cannot afford for these to be trampled on as a result of political bias and politicking of any sort.
For media enquiries or an interview with the MD please contact
Media & Communications Officer
Managing Director’s Office
The Banking Association South Africa
Tel: +27 11 645 6729
Cell: +27 76 791 6918