"Open your brain" - Finance Minister and Ekurhuleni mayor twar over reserve bank

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Finance Minister Tito Mboweni (Esa Alexander, Gallo Images, Times Live, file)
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni (Esa Alexander, Gallo Images, Times Live, file)

The raging debate in internal ANC structures, over whether or not the South African Reserve Bank should be nationalised, has spilled over to social media with Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina going head to head over the contentious issue.

Masina, like many in the ANC, has been calling for the reserve bank to be nationalised, as per the ANC's own conference resolutions adopted at its 2017 national conference in Nasrec.

But it is understood that the likes of Mboweni and ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa have been largely against the move. Some within the movement have even criticised both men's public utterances about the SARB's independence being sacrosanct.

In a protracted twitter debate that started on Thursday, Masina questioned whether current reserve bank governor Lesetja Kganyago thought he was bigger than the ANC.

This after Kganyago had defended the reserve bank's independence and mandate."He occupies one of the most important positions on the African continent. Executive mayor of Ekurhuleni (the city of peace). This is the largest industrial zone on the whole of Africa. I respect his views, misguided as they might be. Energetic, active and honest," observed Mboweni in a tweet.

Masina, who then sought to unleash his "research" on Mboweni argued that the reserve bank's existence and operations were all products of political processes.

"There is a constant Mboweni idiom when the Mboweni brothers and me get together. It says, honourable executive mayor: open your brain first before opening your mouth! Remember that," responded Mboweni to this view.

The Ekurhuleni mayor who refused to back down, continued to remind the governor of recent decisions taken by the ANC on the matter, quoting the party's position on the issue from both its national policy conference and the national conference.

Masina, listed a number of policy considerations and perspectives over the past two days.

"Once we agree that this was the formulation at the NPC, I would like to remind you verbatim the resolve of the national conference flowing from these recommendations. I hope this will help those excited thinking we can't use our brains as branches," tweeted Masina.

Several ANC members on Twitter agreed with Masina, who is also the ANC regional chairperson, arguing that the ANC had taken a decision on the fate of the reserve bank.

Just this week Ramaphosa told local business leaders in the country that there were no plans to interfere with the SARB, saying it would remain independent as stated in the Constitution.

While the fiery Masina kept his cool and stuck to his research in the matter, he took a stand against being ridiculed for expressing his views.

"We have a responsibility to defend leadership elected at the 54th national conference together with all duly adopted policy positions of the organisation without feeling small when we are ridiculed without substance," tweeted Masina.

Both leaders agreed to engage further on this issue when they meet at the ANC's national executive committee lekgotla, which is set to take place on Sunday.

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