Lesetja Kganyago. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS
Lesetja Kganyago. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS

SA Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago said he would be available to serve another five years at the helm of the central bank when his first term runs out in November 2019 — if he is asked to.

Kganyago was appointed by former president Jacob Zuma almost four years ago and another term will extend his stay as head of the Bank until 2024. The governor and his three deputies are appointed by the president for a fixed five-year term and legislation makes no provision for their removal.

"If the appointing authority tells me that somebody else could do the job, it is in the hands of the appointing authority," Kganyago said in an interview from his office in Pretoria on Thursday.

"That is why you are appointed for a fixed term, so that during that term you know that no-one will interfere with you."

Credit-rating companies have continuously cited the central bank and its leadership as institutional strengths for SA, even as they cut the country’s rating to junk in 2017 when Zuma changed the finance minister and his deputy in a surprise cabinet reshuffle.

Kganyago and the central bank have successfully challenged an attempt by the nation’s antigraft ombudsman to change the regulator’s inflation- targeting mandate.

The governor called the steps recommended by public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane "irrational" in court papers.

Even with changes at the National Treasury, and Zuma appointing people seen to be loyal to him to top positions at the SA Revenue Service (Sars) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), there was never pressure on him to step aside, Kganyago said.

The governing ANC forced Zuma from office in February 2018, and he was replaced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

"I can tell you that no-one tried," he said. "But if they were to try, they would have [had] a fight on their hands."