South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) Governor Lesetja Kganyago on Wednesday defended the central bank from those who are calling for its mandate to be expanded by throwing the Constitution into the fold.
Ace Magashule, secretary general of the African National Congress (ANC), said on Tuesday that the ruling party’s national executive committee Lekgotla agreed to ensure that the resolutions of the 54th National Conference will be fully implemented, including expanding the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank beyond price stability to include growth and employment.
Speaking at the launch of the SA25 commemorative circulation and collectable coins in Johannesburg, Kganyakgo said that the Constitution has an important place in the work of the Reserve Bank, with one of the principles being the independence and impartiality of the Reserve Bank in the interests of the maintenance of effective public finance and administration.
"The Constitution also outlines the primary mandate of the Sarb: protecting the value of the currency in the interest of balanced and sustainable growth. This past year, as the Sarb leadership was considering the most significant way to mark 25 years of democracy, we were left with only one answer: the Constitution,” Kganyakgo said.
“The enhancement in basic human rights – the right to housing, health care, basic services such as water and electricity, the rights of workers, the rights of civil organisations, the accountability of the executive to Parliament, the transformation of public finance management, the independence and competence of the judiciary, the independence and mandate of the Sarb – all come from the Constitution.”
Magashule said the ANC Lekgotla directed government to consider constituting a task team to explore quantity easing measures to address intergovernmental debts to make funds available for developmental purposes.
He said these measures should consider inflationary impact on the currency and the poor and all must be done to cushion them.
Magashule’s statement has caused consternation within the ruling party, with finance minister Tito Mboweni dismissing the “quantity easing measures” and Enoch Godongwana saying Magashule’s statement was “inaccurate” as there was no decision to expand the mandate of the Reserve Bank.