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Masondo: I didn’t mean to intrude on Sarb with monetary policy comment

Deputy Finance Minister David Masondo said his comments were a response to questions during the interview and that he’s fully aware that Treasury comments only on fiscal policy.

Deputy Finance Minister David Masondo. Picture: @TreasurySA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Deputy Finance Minister David Masondo said on Thursday he did not intend to encroach on the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb)'s territory by commenting on monetary policy.

Masondo has been challenged over comments he made in an interview with Business Day, in which he labelled the debate in the African National Congress on monetary policy as "misguided", saying the real issue was whether interest rates had been set at the correct level.

At a meeting of Parliament's finance committee on Thursday, Masondo was asked by the Democratic Alliance why he'd breached the protocol that sees Treasury traditionally steering clear of commenting on monetary policy, which is strictly the domain of the Reserve Bank.

The challenge came from the DA’s Geordin Hill-Lewis: “For the longest time, it has been the tradition or the observed etiquette that the Treasury does not comment on the monetary policy instrument choice of the Reserve Bank. This does not wash with the comment you made that was reported this morning.”

Hill-Lewis suggested the deputy finance minister’s comments might influence the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy committee when it met and suggested he withdraw them.

Masondo said his comments were a response to questions during the interview and that he’s fully aware that Treasury comments only on fiscal policy, leaving monetary policy to the Reserve Bank.

“One was not in any way trying to usurp the powers and responsibilities of the Reserve Bank and if it did come across as such, it was unintentional.”

Masondo said he was making no attempt to influence the Reserve Bank and fully recognised its independence, as enshrined in the Constitution.

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