South Africa: Deafening Silence - Is the SA Reserve Bank Captured By Steinhoff?

opinion

The Reserve Bank has a rock-solid reputation and this can disincline citizens to hold it accountable. This crossed my mind recently as the fascinating and complex debate about the biggest corporate heist in the country's history, Steinhoff's unresolved gigantic fraud, continues to play out.

The details can be mind-numbing. Sometimes it is hard to follow the investigative news reports, the legal issues and other technicalities that seem to require degrees in finance before one can make sense of it all.

However, detail can hide breathtakingly simple questions.

I want to raise questions about the comfort of Steinhoff in still not making amends for their illegal and unethical behaviour, and the Reserve Bank's silence about how it features in this saga. The Bank has some basic questions to answer and their silence on this is potentially culpable (if they are propping up Markus Jooste and Steinhoff) or, at the very least, their silence is unhelpful in helping claimants to receive a just and equitable outcome.

Steinhoff took about €19-billion worth of assets offshore to Europe from 2014 onwards after getting permission from the Reserve Bank to do so in terms of exchange control laws and regulations. The mandate of the Reserve...

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