The accusations date back to the six years following 2005 and are aimed at Dube Tshidi, who was chief of the FSB, which became the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) on 1 April 2018.
The report centres on the administration of 10 pension funds that had been hit by fraudulent activities.
The report of the public protector, which is one of six independent state institutions set up to support and defend democracy in South Africa, was published in March 2019.
It was triggered by a 2017 complaint from Julius Malema, president of strongly left-leaning political party the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
He alleged that Tshidi acted improperly by appointing an attorney called Antony Mostert as curator of the pension funds, for which Mostert was paid ZAR188m (£10m, $12.7m, €11.2m) in fees and a further ZAR48m in legal fees.
Among a host of other allegations, Tshidi was also accused of misleading parliament and persistently refusing to answer questions for fear of incriminating himself.
He also reportedly abused power in that he threatened and bullied various financial institutions into withdrawing civil action against Mostert, in which he allegedly threatened to withdraw their operating licences.
The full report, which runs to 96 pages, is signed by advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane and dated 28 March 2019.
She concludes: “Based on the information and evidence obtained during the investigation, as well as the legal framework that is applicable to the facts of this matter, it can be concluded that, the [executive officer] and registrar of the FSB, Mr Tshidi acted irregularly in the performance of his duties.”
The FSCA has hit back and strongly criticised the report and Mkhwebane.
On 7 June it confirmed that papers had been filed in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to request the court review and set aside the report.
“The [public protector’s] report concerns actions dating back more than 10 years, when several pension funds that had fallen victim to a fraudulent scheme were placed under the curatorship of Mr Antony Louis Mostert,” the FSCA said.
“The review is sought on the basis that it is immediately apparent from the report that the [public protector’s] findings and conclusions are entirely unreasonable.
“It is also our view that the manner in which she conducted her investigation renders the findings reviewable for perceived bias, bad faith and/or ulterior motives.
“The only other explanation for these failures is gross incompetence and negligence,” the financial watchdog added.