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BLSA appalled by threats to SARB independence

10th June 2019 BY: Thabi Madiba
Creamer Media Writer

Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) on Monday said it condemned what it called “deliberate attempts” to undermine the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB’s) legitimacy and called out the African National Congress (ANC) for threatening to collapse the country’s economy.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule last week announced that the party's National Executive Committee lekgotla had agreed to go ahead with the expansion of the mandate of the SARB to include growth and employment, on top of protecting the currency and keeping inflation in check.

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BLSA said in a statement that the ANC seemed to be at war with itself and added that the party’s calls for a mandate expansion were disingenuous because SARB’s mandate already takes into account growth and employment, when setting monetary policy.

The organization added that some in the ANC did not understand that the objective of monetary policy is to ensure price stability for sustainable and balanced economic development and inclusive growth.

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“The mixed messages from the ANC undermine our collective effort to rebuild the economy. It is unfortunate that the bruising factionalism and dysfunction within the ruling party, at a time when the country’s investment and growth rates are deeply imperilled by institutional uncertainty and political tensions, is now encroaching on the mandate of this critical Chapter 9 institution, threatening to diminish the ability of SARB to effectively and efficiently fulfil its constitutional mandate,” said BLSA.

It warned that efforts to fight State capture and corruption would be constrained by this “economic sabotage”.

“The individuals who are calling for expanding the mandate of the central bank and questioning its efficiency in executing monetary policy, undermine the collective efforts to accelerate socioeconomic growth and protect our constitutionally guaranteed institution. They represent a clear and immediate danger to our hard-fought democratic values,” said BLSA.

It went on to say that President Cyril Ramaphosa was facing factionalism within the ruling party and that the ANC was unable to make decisions on policy.

BLSA also said that “populist demagogues ensconced at Luthuli House” wanted to plunder the public purse and plunge the economy into turmoil without a care for ordinary, hardworking and hopeful South Africans.

“We call on all law-abiding South Africans to reject populist attempts to capture SARB. We firmly believe that this would guarantee institutional failure, leading to societal anarchy,” BLSA concluded. 

EDITED BY: Sashnee Moodley Deputy Editor Polity and Multimedia
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