The South African Council
of Churches (SACC), through its Unburdening Panel, has called on all
people who may be aware of questionable and inappropriate business
dealings in the transition to democracy to please come forward.
The SACC welcomes that the finding of the longstanding investigation by the Public Protector, that the Bankorp bailout inherited by ABSA Bank has reached a conclusion point.
will no doubt be further developments and contestations on this
conclusion, given the long history and the various interpretations that
have accompanied this story over time, including ABSA’s argument related
to the 1992 purchase options. What seems clear though is that there has
been some benefit enjoyed by ABSA in all of this. As the SACC, we
believe it is better for the stability of our country that agreements
are reached expeditiously, for due restitution to be made. In this
regard, we believe that ABSA should do the right thing and honour the
Public Protector’s remedial action without delay. That is good for the
country; and that is good for the common good!
been said about the depth of what has yet to surface of apartheid era
mutualities, between business and government ministers. Whatever the
logical justification of this bailout at the time, the fact that the
Minister of Finance who approved it at the time – Minister Barend Du
Plessis, did not declare his conflict of interest in relation to his
brother’s position in Bankorp, places the bailout in the unethical
realm. This is highly immoral and deserves strong condemnation. Imagine
if that were a present day Finance Minister!
regrettable that the TRC Terms of reference did not include economic
wrongdoings – a platform for economic transformation for a reconciled
conclusion, as the SACC we do not believe it is the province of the
Public Protector to change laws, not least the highest law in the land,
the South African Constitution. We understand the scope of the Office of
the Public Protector to be to protect the public from the
misapplication of existing laws in the interests of the citizens.
respects the constitutionally entrenched independence of the South
African Reserve Bank, and while Parliament is the body to change the
Constitution, we would advise caution in any consideration for change.
This must however, not stop the process of corrective action for the
wrongs of the past. Where restorative justice is called for, it must be
made for all to see and without equivocation, that is the foundation of
the South Africa We Pray For!