Mantashe: Beware those waiting 'in the wings' to cash in on nationalising Reserve Bank

There are those waiting "in the wings" in the hope of maximising their share benefits at the South African Reserve Bank if it were to be nationalised recklessly, ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe has warned.

He was briefing members of the media shortly after addressing National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) delegates at the organisation's national policy conference on Thursday.

Protect state coffers

"Those who are shareholders want to cash out and get maximum benefit out of the process.

"It’s our responsibility to protect the coffers of the state and implement the resolution process of the ANC very carefully," he said.  

He said president Cyril Ramaphosa had every intention of following through with the ANC’s Nasrec resolutions; however, he needed to do so carefully.

'Not like land'

"People are in a hurry to talk about this thing of the Reserve Bank. The resolution doesn’t say nationalise the Reserve Bank without compensation; it’s not like land," Mantashe said. "That will be done systematically on the basis of availability of resources."

He added that at this time, the country's fiscal framework was in a difficult situation and could not afford to nationalise recklessly. 

Mantashe said a combination of interests had been calling for a nationalised central bank, one of these being the bank's over 2 000 shareholders.

He told journalists it must be appreciated that that the state would have to pay shareholders money, which required government to be careful.

'Lying in the wings'

"There are people who are lying in the wings who want us to nationalise recklessly and cash out on the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank. The government of ANC must handle that issue carefully."

Mantashe said this as Nehawu president Mzwandile Makwayiba joined a list of ANC leaders, including ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, NEC member Tony Yengeni and Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina, who were calling for the Nasrec resolution to be implemented.

Mandate

Mantashe lambasted those who, in his view, were reading the resolutions word for word and speaking out recklessly. 

"We are all aware of it, it must be done.

"We have five years to do it, by the way. Those who want to appear radical and border on being reckless, think that you can walk out of a conference and say the Reserve Bank is nationalised.

"All of us agree, there is no person who resists that the ownership of the Reserve Bank should be national and follow more than 70% of national banks in the world. We agree on that," he said, adding that proper steps needed to be taken implemented.

On Wednesday, during his opening address, Makwayiba – who leads trade union federation Cosatu's biggest affiliate – told delegates there was nothing wrong with changing the mandate of the SARB to create jobs.

"That is the decision of the ANC in Nasrec. Which leader has the right not to implement resolutions of the conference?

Cosatu needed to be clear on its position instead of submitting to the will of its friends, Makwayiba added.

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