ANC instructs government to start nationalising Reserve Bank

The ANC has instructed government to begin the process of nationalising the South African Reserve Bank.

The final decision on the matter was taken at the national conference of the governing party on Wednesday‚ which would see government owning 100% of the bank’s shares instead of the current arrangement where these are held by a number of private shareholders.

The party has now mandated government to develop a proposal to ensure full public ownership in a way that “does not benefit private shareholder speculators”.

Conference delegates repeated a view held at the policy conference that it was a historic anomaly that there were private shareholders of the Reserve Bank.

Earlier this year SARB spoke out against the proposal when it was discussed at the ANC’s policy conference in June‚ saying the bank’s private shareholding structure had no bearing on its monetary policy stance or the regulatory role it played in the banking sector and the broader economy.

The bank also suffered some political pressure when Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane recommended that the Constitution be amended to change its mandate – a recommendation the bank has contested in court.

Turning to the roles of state owned firms in the economy‚ the ANC conference has resolved that only skilled and qualified people should be appointed to lead state owned enterprises.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant told the plenary that firm action was required to improve the governance and performance of parastatals by ensuring the appointment of skilled staff and qualified board members.

The party also resolved that SOCs must be protected from improper influence.

Exposés on state capture revealed details of how the Gupta family got improper control of SOCs through proxies in senior positions in the executives and boards.

Party delegates agreed that Treasury must develop a wealth tax that may be in the form of a land tax in an effort to promote equity and raise the revenue in the state coffers.

They also resolved that to deal with the high levels of concentration of ownership in many sectors in the economy‚ the penalties for uncompetitive behaviour must be increased‚ sources in the plenary said.

The plenary heard that the competition commission needs to be strengthened with additional resources.

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