Asked about proposals to change the Reserve Bank’s mandate last week, governor Lesetja Kganyago deflected the question, as he usually does. Ask the president not the Bank, he said. It was for the people of SA to change the Bank’s mandate should they wish to do so, not the Bank.

Then, also as usual, he addressed the question anyway, in his typically robust style. First, if politicians want the Bank to have a dual mandate like the US Federal Reserve, one that requires it to target both price stability and employment, they would have to give it the tools to target unemployment. In other words, the governor was suggesting, the Bank would have to be able to intervene in labour market policy...

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