September 23, 2020

South Africa’s ANC Stalls Plan to Nationalize Central Bank

The headquarters of the South African Reserve Bank in Pretoria.

Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

A top South African ruling party official said plans to nationalize the central bank will be shelved as the government wrestles with getting the coronavirus-stricken economy back on track.

The country doesn’t have the “massive resources” that may be needed to buy out the bank’s private shareholders and spending the money would be unjustified in the current economic climate, said Paul Mashatile, the treasurer-general of the African National Congress.

“We would not want to rush to go in that direction because there are other implications,” he said in an interview. “Our view is that we want these resources to be channeled rather to infrastructure projects.”

The ANC decided at a conference in 2017 that the state should take ownership of the South African Reserve Bank, one of a handful of central banks owned by private investors, because the prevailing ownership structure infringed on the nation’s sovereignty. The shareholders have no say over monetary-policy decisions and the bank’s mandate — to ensure price stability — is set out in the constitution.

Read more on why the ANC is taking on the central bank

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