ANC power struggle, SAA head, Reserve bank spat: Stories that got us talking this week

In a week that saw the revival of a war of words over the expansion of the Reserve Bank’s mandate, politicians ranging from ANC bigwigs to President Cyril Ramaphosa attempted to offer clarity on the matter. But this seemingly only served to increase confusion, taking its toll on the markets.

Below are 7 stories that dominated headlines:

On Tuesday, ANC secretary general Ace Magashule told reporters in Johannesburg that the party’s National Executive Committee resolved at the latest Lekgotla that the South African Reserve Bank’s mandate should be expanded, prompting a flurry of opposing views on the subject.

  • “These measures should consider inflationary impact on the currency and the poor, and all must be done to cushion them,” Magashule said.

Magashule’s comments opened a can of words from inside and outside the ANC.

  • “Let us leave the South African Reserve Bank alone to pursue its mandate without fear, favour or prejudice,”  wrote the Finance Minister in a post on Facebook.

The governor of the Reserve Bank Lesetja Kganyago also came out swinging in defence of the institution.

In a temporary respite from the Reserve Bank noise, Ramaphosa on Wednesday met with over 20 CEOs of state-owned companies to discuss challenges they faced. 

Ramaphosa said:

  • “These range from inadequate capitalisation and poor governance to outdated legislation and political interference. “As government, we are committed to working with the leadership of SOCs and stakeholders to urgently address these difficulties.”

On Thursday, Ramaphosa entered the Reserve Bank discourse in a bid to clarify the raging confusion, describing the political public spat by politicians as “not helpful”.

  • “It is our desire for the South African Reserve Bank to be publicly owned. However, we recognise that this will come at a cost, which given our current economic and fiscal situation, is simply not prudent.”

On Thursday, Kganyago intensified his rejection of the ANC’s position likening the political imbroglio over the central bank to the arrival of the “barbarians at the gate of SARB”.

  • “Institutions have been systematically weakened and gutted – key institutions in law enforcement. Quality institutions matter,” he said.

The week ended with the announcement of an interim SAA CEO, Zuks Ramasia, to take over from Vuyani Jarana who resigned from his job a week ago. Jarana quit after a year and a half on the job.

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