The ANC has begun a process to nationalise the South African Reserve Bank – despite dire warnings of the likely damage to the economy. The party won’t backtrack on its conference resolution, but it says it’s willing to hear out dissenting views. Shareholders don’t need to panic just yet – for now it is talks about talks.
On Tuesday, ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule announced that the National Executive Committee has tasked its economic transformation subcommittee to begin a process of engaging and coming up with modalities on the nationalisation of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).
“It is a resolution of conference. It has to be implemented… it has to be implemented with sensitivity in consultation and engagement with various stakeholders, like (the) shareholders there,” he said.
The ANC has long flirted with the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank, arguing that South Africa is the only country in the world where the central bank is owned privately – a claim that is as alarmist as it is false. Belgium, Greece, Switzerland, Japan and Turkey have central banks that are owned by private shareholders and SARB has repeatedly claimed that the bank’s ownership does not affect its independence.
Regardless, the ANC’s December 2017 conference took the radical step to push for the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank. In its conference resolutions, the party resolved:
“It is a historical anomaly that there are private shareholders of the Reserve Bank. Conference resolve that the Reserve Bank should be 100% owned by the state.”