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ANC top 6 open up on Reserve Bank spat

The party said while it was its "desire for the South African Reserve Bank to be publicly owned", it recognised this was not prudent given the current economic and fiscal situation.

FILE: The ANC top six present at a special NEC meeting. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress’ (ANC) top six leaders on Thursday said the party's public spats about the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) were not helpful and undermined investor confidence.

The party’s top leaders met following public contradictions on the ANC's position on the matter by senior ANC leaders.

In a statement that was released through the ANC presidency’s office and not through the normal channel of the secretary-general’s office, the top six leaders emphasised the policy position of the party on the independence of the SARB as set out in the Constitution.

The Constitution sets the role of the Reserve Bank as protecting "the value of the currency in the interest of balanced and sustainable economic growth".

"It further states that this mandate must be exercised in regular consultation with government, through the Cabinet minister responsible for national financial matters. This policy has not changed."

But the party said it was its "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,” ANC head of presidency Zizi Kodwa said.

“In the context of the above, the officials viewed the recent public spats about the mandate of the SA Reserve Bank as not being helpful, and mitigating and undermining the confidence of citizens and of investors.”

The party’s secretary-general Ace Magashule told journalists earlier this week that last weekend’s ANC lekgotla agreed that the mandate of the central bank must be expanded beyond price stability to focus on development and job creation.

However, that statement was rejected by the party's economic transformation head, Enoch Godongwana, who said no such decision had been taken.

SARB governor Lesetja Kganyago also reiterated the central bank would continue to operate independently without political interference.

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