President Cyril Ramaphosa has reaffirmed that the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) as an independent monetary policy institution has “not changed.”
Ramaphosa said this on Thursday, 6 June 2019, following a statement from African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Ace Magashule that the ANC had decided to expand the apex bank’s mandate – a development that has left the local rand currency shaken and business confused.
According to Magashule, a meeting of the ANC’s that took place last weekend decided the bank should take up the functions of guiding growth and employment as part of its nationalisation.
Ramaphosa, however, has said this was not the decision made during the meeting and Magashule’s statement was misplaced.
Magashule is a member of Zuma’s faction that openly supported the disgraced leader’s former wife Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma failed campaign during the ruling party’s presidential election contest against Ramaphosa.
Recalling the discussions held during the ANC meeting on 1 to 3 June, Ramaphosa said: “The party officials emphasised the policy positions of the ANC on the independence and role of the SARB as set out in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa [which is] protecting ‘the value of the currency in the interest of balanced and sustainable economic growth'”.
This mandate should be exercised through the responsible cabinet minister, the president said, adding that “this policy has not changed.”
“It is our desire for the South African Reserve Bank to be publicly owned. However, we recognise that this will come at a cost which, given our current economic and fiscal situation, is simply not prudent.”