ANC back­tracks on mo­tion on pub­lic own­er­ship of Re­serve Bank

African Times - - Politics - RUSSEL MOLEFE

THE ANC has back­tracked on its Par­lia­men­tary mo­tion on pub­lic own­er­ship of the Re­serve Bank, claim­ing its to al­low for more con­sul­ta­tions. The bomb­shell was dropped on Tues­day, the day set for the de­bate. The Par­lia­men­tary Cau­cus said it needed to speak to its struc­tures on the mat­ter, this de­spite it be­ing a con­fer­ence de­ci­sion that was adopted in De­cem­ber.

“The African Na­tional Congress in Par­lia­ment has with­drawn its mo­tion on full pub­lic own­er­ship of the South African Re­serve Bank (SARB) in line with in­ter­na­tional prac­tice sched­uled for de­bate this af­ter­noon [Tues­day], to al­low for greater con­sul­ta­tion within struc­tures of the African Na­tional Congress and key stake­hold­ers,” spokesper­son Non­ceba Mh­lauli said.

The de­ci­sion was scorned by the Youth League and the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fighters.

The league ac­cused the cau­cus of tak­ing an un­man­dated de­ci­sion when it with­drew the mo­tion.

It added that the rea­sons be­hind the with­drawal of the mo­tion were flimsy and not po­lit­i­cally con­vinc­ing.

“The with­drawal sug­gests that some of the lead­ing fig­ures in the ANC re­main “cap­tured”, and abuse their po­si­tions of power to ad­vance the in­ter­ests of white mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal. The pub­lic own­er­ship of the Re­serve Bank will rep­re­sent a de­ci­sive shift, and re­de­fine its man­date to con­trol prices in­creases; fight poverty; pro­mote cre­ation of de­cent work, and aban­don­ment of the in­fla­tion tar­get­ing pol­icy.

“The SARB must be repo­si­tioned to play a key role in the devel­op­ment path that the coun­try, amidst the triple chal­lenge of poverty; un­em­ploy­ment and in­equal­ity,” said spokesper­son Mlondi Mkhize.

He said the league re­it­er­ated its call for the na­tion­al­i­sa­tion of the SARB, in­clud­ing Banks and other mo­nop­oly in­dus­tries to be in the hands of the peo­ple un­der the cus­to­di­an­ship of our demo­cratic State. “Our call is con­sis­tent with the broader ob­jec­tives of the Na­tional Demo­cratic Rev­o­lu­tion (NDR) as de­fined in the Free­dom Char­ter. The ANC can­not self-pro­claim it­self to be a leader of so­ci­ety, but egg walk on the key res­o­lu­tions taken at the wa­ter­shed 54th Na­tional Con­fer­ence, as part of our rad­i­cal so­cio eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion agenda.

“We don’t need the self-anointed “eco­nomic free­dom fighters” to op­por­tunis­ti­cally ta­ble this mo­tion and “steal” the thun­der, whilst we make our­selves look in­de­ci­sive in the eyes of the pub­lic and elec­torate. The ANC must demon­strate its role as a leader of so­ci­ety even in such mat­ters.

“We can’t al­low the SARB to re­main in pri­vate hands any­more,” he said.

EFF spokesper­son Mbuyiseni Nd­lozi said the EFF was of the view that the mo­tion on na­tion­al­i­sa­tion of the South African Re­serve Bank should be tabled as a mat­ter of ur­gency, and amongst other things, it must man­date the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Fi­nance to com­mence the process of draft­ing leg­is­la­tion that will cul­mi­nate in State own­er­ship of the SARB, whilst re­tain­ing its au­ton­omy as called for in the Con­sti­tu­tion.

He said the rel­a­tive au­ton­omy of the Re­serve Bank was im­por­tant so that politi­cians are not tempted to di­vert some of its re­sources into cor­rupt and self-en­rich­ment ac­tiv­i­ties. Nd­lozi ac­cused the ANC of lack­ing courage.

“In its cur­rent form, the SARB is owned by pri­vate share­hold­ers, some of whom are for­eign­ers with no pa­tri­otic in­ter­ests and com­mit­ment to South Africa. The sta­tus quo is un­ac­cept­able and should be changed through de­ci­sive po­lit­i­cal ac­tion. It is only the EFF that has the courage, de­ter­mi­na­tion and po­lit­i­cal will to change the eco­nomic base of South Africa in order to ben­e­fit our peo­ple,” he said.

Nd­lozi added that the en­vis­aged leg­is­la­tion on the SARB should ad­di­tion­ally strengthen its ca­pac­ity to pro­vide pru­den­tial over­sight over the ex­ist­ing banks, to avoid wrong­do­ing and fi­nan­cial mal­prac­tices.

He said the leg­is­la­tion should also set a frame­work for decon­cen­trat­ing bank own­er­ship as cur­rently only 6 banks own more than 90% of bank­ing ser­vices in South Africa and they op­er­ate like a car­tel.

“The SARB should also be in­structed to ex­pe­dite the li­cens­ing of Post­bank into a fully-fledged State bank with the ca­pac­ity to do what other banks do at a rea­son­able rate and ac­ces­si­ble man­ner.

“The SARB must also cre­ate an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment for the cre­ation, ex­is­tence and sus­te­nance of fully black-owned and co­op­er­a­tive banks. If the ANC does not ta­ble a mo­tion on the na­tion­al­i­sa­tion of the SAR, the EFF will use its next op­por­tu­nity to ta­ble a com­pre­hen­sive mo­tion on na­tion­al­i­sa­tion of the Re­serve Bank.

“The EFF will do be­cause our Found­ing Man­i­festo says, the cre­ation of a State Bank and the na­tion­al­i­sa­tion of the Re­serve Bank con­sti­tute an im­me­di­ate task and es­sen­tial to the devel­op­ment of the South African econ­omy, as it can be pro­gres­sively po­si­tioned to im­prove the ex­is­tence of state-owned devel­op­ment fi­nance in­sti­tu­tions, in order to fi­nance new in­dus­tries,” he said.

The ANC has how­ever tried to down­play the de­ci­sion. Spokesper­son Pule Mabe said the party was of the firm be­lief that the with­drawal of the mo­tion would deepen the con­tent of the en­vis­aged mo­tion and that the post­pone­ment cre­ated an ad­e­quate plat­form for the ANC to place on the agenda an in­struc­tive mo­tion that places South Africa on the path of rad­i­cal so­cioe­co­nomic trans­for­ma­tion based on job cre­ation and eq­ui­table wealth, as­set and in­come dis­tri­bu­tion.

“The ANC af­firms its in­tent to re-ta­ble the mo­tion which will be fully aligned with the out­comes of its 54th Na­tional Con­fer­ence on the Re­serve Bank.

“Af­firms the in­de­pen­dence of the Re­serve Bank in per­form­ing its func­tions, and notes the his­tor­i­cal anom­aly of the Bank having pri­vate share­hold­ers, and thus con­se­quently ad­vo­cates for the 100% state own­er­ship of the Bank.

“The ANC led Gov­ern­ment re­mains a Gov­ern­ment of the Peo­ple and that Par­lia­ment is one of its the­atres to carry for­ward the as­pi­ra­tions of the peo­ple,” Mabe said.

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