South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party reaffirmed its position that the central bank should be nationalised during a policy conference over the past three days, President Cyril Ramaphosa said last week.
Unlike most central banks in the world, South Africa’s is privately owned. The ANC resolved in 2017 to move it into full state ownership, but has yet to implement the decision.
“The conference noted again the historical anomaly of the private ownership of the South African Reserve Bank,” Ramaphosa said in his concluding remarks.
“And reaffirmed again the resolution that the bank should be fully owned by the people of South Africa.”
He added that delegates to the conference had urged the government to do it with a way and pace that would take account of the costs to an already stretched public purse.
Surrounding the decision is a debate in the ANC over whether or not to expand the bank’s mandate beyond price stability to broader goals such as tackling unemployment that affects two-thirds of people and empowering poor Black South Africans.
Ramaphosa is believed to be opposed to any change in the bank’s mandate, but the debate unnerved investors when it first flared up five years ago.