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Mboweni dismisses Magashule’s statement about the Reserve Bank

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ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule announced plans to expand the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), which Minister Tito Mboweni has dismissed as false.

During a post-lekgotla briefing on Tuesday, 4 June 2019, African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Ace Magashule made a sweeping statement about the ANC’s mandate to expand SARB, so as to focus on economic development and job creation.

“The ANC NEC lekgotla agreed to expand the mandate of the SA Reserve Bank beyond price stability to include growth and employment,” Magashule said.

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Former Reserve Bank governor turned Finance Minister Tito Mboweni quickly corrected this statement, saying it was “painful” to see people make such “reckless statements” as this was not under discussion.

“Nobody is talking about changing the mandate of the Reserve Bank. This is clearly stipulated in the constitution. I don’t understand why the obsession about the central bank all the time,” Mboweni said. “Why say things that destabilise the market?”

The statement made by Magashule sparked a widespread debate on social media, led by the finance minister himself. Mboweni took to Twitter to explain that there were no such discussions, highlighting SARB’s primary mandate. He tweeted, “Government sets the mandate for the SARB. There is no quantitative easing thing here. The primary mandate of the SA Reserve Bank is to “protect the value of the currency in the interest of balanced economic growth and development””.

The ruling party’s head of economic transformation, Enoch Godongwana, backed Mboweni’s claims. In a statement released on Tuesday evening, 4 June 2019, Godongwana reiterated that there was no decision taken by the ANC to expand the mandate of SARB. The party’s spokesperson, Pule Mabe, cemented this, explaining that the resolutions outlined at the lekgotla should not be confused with policy objectives.

“There is nothing untoward said by the lekgotla which will change the way the SARB operates as things stand now,” Mabe said.

Abenathi Gqomo

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