Reserve Bank independence remains sacrosanct – Ramaphosa


JOHANNESBURG, January 16 – President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday, contradicted the secretary general of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), Ace Magashule, about the government’s intention to nationalise the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb), saying that there was no intention to tamper with the bank’s independence.

In an interview with 24-hour television news broadcaster, eNCA, on Sunday following the launch of the ANC manifesto, Magashule said that the resolutions taken at party’s 54th national conference in December 2017, would be implemented in the next five years, including the controversial move to nationalise the Sarb.

Speaking at a business breakfast in Johannesburg to announce his delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos next week, Ramaphosa said the message by the governing party was that the Reserve Bank should be able to keep an eye on employment.

“No one should be alarmed by ANC comments on the Reserve Bank, the mandate is not being changed. The independence of the Reserve Bank is sacrosanct,” Ramaphosa said.

“The governing party is essentially saying we have got a burning platform with regard to employment and we would like everyone to focus on the creation of jobs. Clearly there is nothing wrong with that.”

Over the weekend, the ANC called for the Reserve Bank to pursue a flexible monetary policy regime, aligned with the objectives of the second phase of the transition.

Sarb is currently under partial control of private shareholders who are believed to have no direct influence over monetary policy decisions, an arrangement meant to reduce conflicts of interest and ensure transparency. Nationalising the bank would mean that control would shift from independent shareholders to the minister of finance.

On Wednesday, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni also reiterated Ramaphosa’s message, saying that political parties were within their own right to raise issues that their members wanted to understand.

“There is no need to panic about the comments made by political parties on the Reserve Bank. So there is nothing to fear on the Reserve Bank,” Mboweni said. (ANA)