Mboweni not afraid to be ‘burnt at the stake’ while defending SARB from nationalisation

Mboweni not afraid to be ‘burnt at the stake’ while defending SARB from nationalisation

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: ANA

The finance minister questions what the ANC is ‘trying to achieve’ through nationalisation, as 90% of SARB profits are handed over to the National Revenue Fund already.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has made it clear that he opposes the resolution taken by the African National Congress (ANC) to nationalise the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

In a series of tweets, Mboweni argued the ANC has adopted the “wrong resolution”.

He began by stating that while he understood the way ANC resolutions work, he questioned why this particular one was adopted.

“As a long-standing member of the ANC and its leadership structures, I know and understand our resolutions,” he said. “I don’t need lectures on that.

“But on the SARB, I am convinced that we adopted a wrong resolution. What do we want to achieve? Our Strategic focus: Structural Economic Reforms.”

In a second tweet, he again questioned what the ANC was trying to achieve, and preempted those within the ANC who might suggest this should be an “internal debate” by saying arguing that “this is a fundamental national debate”.

He also said: “As of now, 90% of the SARB profits are handed over to the National Revenue Fund”, questioning what would then be achieved through nationalisation.

READ MORE: The ANC’s war about nationalising the Reserve Bank is pointless

In a third tweet, he said he was not afraid to be criticised by ANC members who may find his views on the SARB an unpopular opinion.

“Burn me at the stake then,” he said.

He ended the series of tweets by calling on those who engaged in this debate to answer the “fundamental” question of what the ANC would be trying to achieve through nationalisation, before announcing that he was going to dinner.

In January last year, political analyst Ralph Mathekga told The Citizen the issue of nationalisation of the SARB was largely a symbolic move, which would not affect the bank’s statutory mandate, while economist Sam Rolland called the resolution “purely populist rhetoric” ahead of the 2019 national elections.

Mathekga said ANC radicals were mainly pushing for nationalisation in a bid to show dominance over moderates within the party who were opposed to the idea.

Mathekga said there were two ANC groups that emerged out of the party’s Nasrec conference who were trying to outdo each other. The RET advocates, who were aligned to former president Jacob Zuma, were symbolised by ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, while the moderates opposed to a radical approach were represented by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Mboweni has been consistent in his opposition to the resolution, in the process earning criticism from RET such as Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Additional reporting, Eric Naki)

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