Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament Alf Lees announced in a statement that he would write to Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni seeking clarity on the governing African National Congress’s election manifesto commitment to changing the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank.
While ANC general secretary Ace Magashule told eNCA that nationalising the Reserve Bank was a 2017 elective conference resolution, the ANC’s manifesto said that the South African Reserve Bank needed to become more "flexible" as well as play a role in reducing unemployment, poverty and inequality.
This comes after Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago said the institution survived a time of great political pressure to control it. The Economic Freedom Fighters introduced the South African Reserve Bank Amendment Bill which proposes more powers for the finance minister.
Lees said in a statement released on Sunday that the Reserve Bank ought to be handled with great care, as any damage to the institutions would spell trouble for bank depositors, pension and retirement fund contributors, pensioners and insurance policyholders.
"The imposition of prescribed assets is exactly what the apartheid regime resorted to in desperation when they could not raise capital in the international markets. Now the ANC is to resort to the same annexation of private funds as international markets hold back on making capital available to South Africa," said Lees.
Lees said instead of announcing bold new initiatives to stimulate economic growth and job creation, the ANC decided to “expropriate” ordinary South Africans’ savings to try to save bloated and corrupt state-owned entities such as SAA and Eskom.
"Clearly President Cyril Ramaphosa has not had the backbone to stand up to the SACP and Cosatu and has capitulated to their demands for these changes to the Reserve Bank mandate and to imposing a prescribed asset regime," said Lees.
Lees urged Kganyago to "withstand the coming onslaught" and to continue to focus on the existing SARB mandate. He said this "onslaught" would only lead to sovereign credit rating downgrades and scare investors away from South Africa.