Ramaphosa speaks with forked tongue on SARB nationalisation

Staff Writer | Mar 18, 2019
The ANC is going to nationalise the Reserve Bank; yet Ramaphosa told the World Economic Forum that it wouldn't. Ramaphosa is famous for saying what a particular constituency wants to hear.

On 7 March 2019 President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the ANC has taken a decision to nationalise the South African Reserve Bank.

"We have got to go through processes," Ramaphosa told Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday. "There is no hidden agenda."

Ramaphosa said that South Africa is one of a handful of countries whose central bank is owned by private investors and the move to bring it under the control of its citizens will affirm the nation’s sovereignty.

The Freedom Front Plus has accused Ramaphosa of lying because he “told the World Economic Forum in Davos that the bank would remain independent and that there’s not nationalisation on the cards, now he’s saying something different. This is very bad for investment. People won’t invest in a country where the president speaks with a false tongue.”

It was expected that Ramaphosa would address the matter once more when he returned to South Africa.

And he has: he has confirmed that it will be nationalised.

Ramaphosa has repeatedly said that the independence of SARB is ‘sacrosanct’ and that it will not tamper with its mandate.

In the same week Lesetja Kganyago, the reserve bank governor, said that the bank’s independence was important in helping the SARB to achieve its mandate.

Before Ramaphosa’s statement the rand was already sitting uneasy at R14.30 to the US dollar. Following talks of SARB’s nationalisation, the rand dropped to R14.55.

The problem is not whether a change in ownership will affect SARB’s function. The problems are that Ramaphosa has contradicted himself publicly on the issue. Added to the ANC’s striving for the ‘national democratic revolution’, there is little faith that the ANC will not interfere with SARB’s independence. 

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