South African Reserve Bank. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
South African Reserve Bank. Picture: MARTIN RHODES

The ANC has instructed the government to begin the process of nationalising the South African Reserve Bank.

The final decision on the matter was taken at the national elective conference of the governing party on Wednesday.

This could lead to the government owning 100% of the bank’s shares, instead of the current arrangement whereby these are held by a number of private shareholders.

The party wants the government to develop a proposal to ensure full public ownership in a way that "does not benefit private shareholder speculators".

Delegates at the elective conference repeated a view held at the policy conference that it was an historic anomaly that there were private shareholders of the Reserve Bank.

Bank officials spoke out against the proposal when it was discussed at the ANC’s policy conference in June‚ saying its private shareholding structure had no bearing on its monetary policy stance or the regulatory role it played in the banking sector and the broader economy.

The Bank was put under some political pressure when Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane recommended that the Constitution be amended to change its mandate — a recommendation the Bank has contested in court.

Turning to the role of state-owned enterprises, the ANC resolved that only skilled and qualified people should be appointed to lead them. The
party also said that state-owned enterprises had to be protected from improper influence.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant told conference delegates that firm action was required to improve the governance and performance of parastatals by ensuring the appointment of skilled staff and qualified board members.

Party delegates agreed that the Treasury had to develop a wealth tax that could be in the form of a land tax in an effort to promote equity and raise the revenue in state coffers.

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