23 January 2019

South Africa: Stokvels, Taxi Associations Must Get Access to Reserve Bank Through Share Scheme - ANC

There are no contradictions within the ANC when it comes to the nationalisation of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) says the party, following its national executive committee lekgotla over this past weekend.

The ANC held a post-NEC lekgotla media briefing on Tuesday, where its leaders reiterated the party's stance on calls from within the movement to nationalise the Reserve Bank.

The move would be in line with its national conference resolutions made at its elective conference in December 2017.

Leaders have come out on opposite sides of the argument, with some calling for the immediate nationalisation of the bank, while others have defended the independence of the institution.

"I think we are talking very clearly about the Reserve Bank here. There is a clear distinction between independence and ownership. Ownership will be by the public, they call it nationalisation, that is the resolution by conference," said ANC secretary general Ace Magashule.

Acting ANC spokesperson Dakota Lekgoete said President Cyril Ramaphosa had spoken of the independence of the Reserve Bank, in line with the country's Constitution, and how it was important for the bank to not only focus on inflation targeting, but to also expand its mandate.

He said the ANC wanted the bank to become a public asset, owned primarily by South Africans.

"By public ownership of the Reserve Bank, we mean that public investment companies - like the PIC, the IDC, like stokvels that we have, agricultural unions, like taxi associations, individual burial societies - through a share scheme to get access to the Reserve Bank, so that whatever we get as income and revenue must, first and foremost, help South Africans," said Lekgoete.

He said the Reserve Bank was currently owned by foreigners who benefitted from its shares.

"Even though we accept direct foreign investment, to a certain extent, we must talk about South Africans owning their own public assets as part of us broadening economic participation and economic ownership."

ANC NEC member Siyabonga Cwele, who was also at the briefing, said now that the governing party had taken this decision, it was calling for caution in how it was implemented.

"We are saying caution must be done. We must explore things and make sure we don't compromise the independence of the Reserve Bank," he said.

"What's critical is to ensure balance when taking the decision on these things, price stability, jobs, economic growth, and that there must be a fairer balance," he added.

Source: News24

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