President Cyril Ramaphosa has moved in to quell the public spats by government and the ruling party's officials over the mandate and ownership of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), saying that government's policy on the independence and role of the central bank has not changed.
This comes as Ace Magashule, secretary general of the African National Congress (ANC), said on Tuesday that the ruling party’s national executive committee 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 the Lekgotla had 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.
Magashule’s statement has caused serious consternation within the ruling party, with finance minister Tito Mboweni dismissing the “quantity easing measures” and ANC economic transformation head Enoch Godongwana saying the secretary general's statement was “inaccurate” as there was no decision to expand the mandate of the Reserve Bank.
In a statement as ANC president, Ramaphosa reiterated Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago's sentiments that the Constitution outlines the mandate of the SARB of protecting the value of the currency in the interest of balanced and sustainable growth.
"This policy has not changed," Ramaphosa said.
"It is our desire for the SARB to be publicly owned. However, we recognize that this will come at a cost, which given our current economic and fiscal situation, is simply not prudent."
Ramaphosa also said government should use other policy instruments at its disposal to grow the economy rather than focusing on using the Reserve Bank to do this.
"In the context of the above, the officials viewed the recent public spats about the mandate of the SARB as not being helpful and mitigating and undermining the confidence of citizens and of investors," he said.
"There is a broad agreement that all viable, legal and other policy instruments at our disposals should be used to ensure that we get the economy growing again and create jobs, by implementing programmes of our manifesto , in order to achieve our desired national objectives."