South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesteja Kganyago used his graduation to urge South Africans to defend state institutions from attack by those who want to abuse power to enrich themselves.
Kganyago graduated with an honorary Doctor of Commerce degree from Stellenbosch University on Monday afternoon.
Since assuming the position as Reserve Bank governor, Kganyago has stressed the importance of fiscal policy certainty and prudence. He has also been a vocal critic of politicians using populist economic policy to drum up support from South Africans ahead of next year’s elections.
He has expressed his reservations towards proposed draft laws to nationalise the Reserve Bank, such that the powers which currently rest with private shareholders would rest with the Minister of Finance.
Spell out transformation
After having the doctorate conferred to him by Vice-Chancellor Wim de Villiers, Kganyago wasted no time stressing the importance of social and economic transformation of South Africa to those in attendance.
"Given the history of SA, it is important that this institution invest in transformation, build on successes and learn from shortcomings.
"We need to clearly spell out the kind of institution we would like to see in the future," said Kganyago.
Kganyago urged vigilance among South Africans, saying that there would always be powerful people looking to control institutions for selfish reasons.
"If at all the institutions of our democracy could be threatened or undermined, it would not be because the enemies of our democracy are stronger, but it would be that good men and women would have cowed and failed to stand up," Kganyago said.
According to Kyanyago, the Reserve Bank was not spared this kind of attack in the past. "The SARB is one of the institutions that came under attack in the past few years. We survived and are still pursuing our mandate assigned by the founders of our democracy," he said.
Kganyago is due to deliver a full lecture to Stellenbosch University in the first quarter of 2019.