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Sunday, 28 September 2008

SARB shareholder takes issue with Mboweni comment

A South African Reserve Bank (SARB) shareholder's lawyer on Saturday asked SARB Governor Tito Mboweni to apologise for a comment made at the bank's annual general meeting (AGM).

At the AGM, held on September 19, Mario Pretorius asked Mboweni to bring the meeting to order. The governor refused and Pretorius said: "Shocking."

This prompted a further response from the governor, who said that Pretorius should not address him in the manner used by white people when talking to black people during the apartheid era.

"I shall not permit you to talk to me like whites used to talk to blacks," Mboweni said.

Pretorius, through his lawyer, Johan van Huyssteens, requested a public apology for the accusation that he spoke to the governor in a racist manner.

"We once again invite you to withdraw your statement and apologise to our client unconditionally. This must be done by way of a letter and a statement in the public media. Pretorius will accept an apology unconditionally," the letter stated.

The letter further stated that should Mboweni not act on this request by the end of October 3, "our client will institute a claim against you and the SARB for an amount of R1-million".

Mboweni could possibly face further damage claims from Pretorius, the letter stated.

"Should your unsolicited branding of our client as a racist negatively influence his business, he obviously reserves the right to claim further damages from you [Mboweni] and SARB," the letter stated.

Mboweni's spokesperson, Samantha Henkeman, confirmed that they received the letter from Pretoria’s lawyers on Friday.

"We did receive the letter on Friday. We are still studying it and would respond in due course," she said. -- Sapa

Mail & Guardian online

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