ANC delegates push for state bank

Siyabonga Cwele

Government given ultimatum to ensure new facility is up and running in six months

ANC delegates have given the government an ultimatum to ensure that a state bank is up and running within six months. This comes a week after Post Bank filed its application for a commercial banking licence with the South African Reserve Bank.

Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele said party delegates wanted the bank set up as soon as possible but “the ball is in the court of the Reserve Bank”.

“They want it tomorrow. The key thing is‚ we want it tomorrow too, there is no one that does not want it. Let’s give a chance to the Reserve Bank‚” he said.

“I am quite confident that the Reserve Bank is professional enough.

“It is able to process the application in an expeditious manner.

“We can’t say tomorrow. We don’t want a short cut.

“We want it to be done properly, but expeditiously.”

Yesterday‚ commissions heard heated calls for the establishment of the state-owned bank in the form of the Post Bank‚ which the ANC resolved to do more than 10 years ago.

Insiders said delegates demanded that the bank be given a development agenda aimed at providing services to South Africans who were excluded from the commercial banking sector.

The minister revealed that the government had met the deadline from the Reserve Bank to submit the bank-

ing application licence last week and hoped to get an outcome soon.

“We had specific requirements we had to heed within 12 months and sub- mit a final application,” Cwele said.

“The deadline was July 4 to the Reserve Bank. We met that deadline. We submitted on June 27.”

Cwele said the Post Bank was one step closer to being registered as a commercial bank.

The government established the bank’s controlling company earlier

this year and appointed the inaugural board to get the bank off the ground.

He said the government had worked to comply with the Reserve Bank while his department was working with the national Treasury to amend the Banking Act to allow a state- owned company to operate a bank.

“In short, we have done all that is required‚” Cwele said.

He said growing calls for the establishment of the Post Bank proved

African economy and vowed to shield the bank from any political pressure.

“Interference is bad. All we have to do as a shareholder is to give [the bank] a mandate,” Cwele said.

“The mandate is that this bank must serve those who are unbanked and must not lend recklessly‚ so that it is sustainable.

“Once you have done that‚ leave it to the board and the management.”

Cwele said scepticism from the banking sector on the state-owned bank was unwarranted. – TimesLIVE

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