Read the ANC’s two statements on the Reserve Bank and make up your own mind

21 September 2018 - 08:46 By Staff Writer
ANC economic policy head Enoch Godongwana. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
ANC economic policy head Enoch Godongwana. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

What was that all about?

On Thursday, ahead of the Reserve Bank’s announcement on interest rates, Phelisa Nkomo, describing herself as a member of the “ANC communications team”, issued this statement:

20 September 2018

ANC STATEMENT ON THE NEED FOR THE MONETARY POLICY COMMITTEE TO PRIORITISE THE POOR

The African National Congress has today noted that this is the final day of Monetary Policy Committee meeting held over the last three days. The African National Congress implores the committee members to prioritise the plight of poor South Africans whose cost of living is skyrocketing due to increased cost of food, fuel and electricity, healthcare as well as education. 

The South African economy recently moved back into a decline in Industrial output with a negative growth rate of (-0.7%) during the second quarter of 2018. The sluggish growth occurred as a result of a prolonged trend of slowdown in economic growth that has been below 2% following the 2008 global financial crisis. 

The ANC reiterates its call that the ANC-led government must take immediate and concrete steps to lift the growth rate by activating macro-economic policy tools, institutional efficiencies and specific sector interventions to mitigate the effects of a contraction in economic activity. Specifically, the “stimulus package” must be rapidly activated.

The ANC believes that Monetary Policy is critical legislative instrument in driving growth, creation of jobs and reduction of the capital costs in the economy. 

ISSUED BY THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS

Phelisa Nkomo

ANC Communications Team 

The statement appeared to have been sanctioned at the highest level. At the end, it referred inquiries to Pule Mabe, the party's national spokesperson.

Not long after, the ANC issued a second statement, this time by Enoch Godongwana, the head of its economic transformation committee, retracting the earlier statement.

Here is what Godongwana said: 

20 September 2018

ANC RETRACTS ITS STATEMENT ON MONETARY POLICY

The ANC with immediate effect retracts its earlier statement on the SARB Monetary Policy Committee announcement.

This was unfortunately issued without the requisite consultations.

The ANC respects the independence of the SARB.

The Chair of the Economic Transformation Committee is handling all policy matters related to this issue.

ISSUED BY THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS

ANC HEAD OF ETC

Enoch Godongwana

It has since been reported that Nkomo has been barred from commenting on the economy, as Natasha Marrian has reported in Business Day.

The two statements suggest that there is a tussle within the ANC over the independence of the Reserve Bank, with some believing it should take political instructions and others, such as Godongwana, in favour of its independence. For now, those favouring independence appear to have the upper hand.


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