The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) Governor Lesetja Kganyago has appointed Dr David Fowkes to serve as a member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) while the Presidency looks for former deputy governor Kuben Naidoo’s replacement.
Naidoo tendered his resignation from the Sarb to President Cyril Ramaphosa in October 2023, just less than 18 months before the end of his second five-year contract.
Naidoo was one of three deputy governors of the Sarb and a member of the crucial five-member MPC, which oversees the interest rates in the country.
Since Naidoo left the Sarb, a replacement has to be found in order to balance the MPC’s voting split and avoid a stalemate when it comes to interest rates decisions.
Kganyago reiterated that his hands were tied on the replacement of Naidoo as that appointment can only be made by the President.
“We are not the appointing authority. The President is the appointing authority. The terms of reference of the MPC say that we can include up to four staff members of the Reserve Bank in the MPC,” he said.
“It always makes sense to have an odd number so that the Governor does not have to exercise two votes, and the Governor can exercise one vote like everybody else. The maximum number [of Sarb staff members to the MPC] is thus eight, and we can go to seven.
“At the moment we are five. When the President makes an appointment of a deputy governor we will go to six, and we will continue to search like we have been doing for another person to take it to seven. But six is definitely better than five.”
Fowkes’ appointment to the MPC became effective from 12 January 2024 after he was appointed as an adviser to the governors on 1 December 2023.
He has served the Sarb in various positions since joining the organisation in 2013.
Prior to his appointment as adviser, he worked in the Financial Markets Department where he led the reform of the Monetary Policy Implementation Framework, which became operational in 2022.
Between 2013 and 2021, Fowkes worked in the Economic Research Department where he edited the Bank’s flagship publication on monetary policy, the biannual Monetary Policy Review, as well as provided analyses on domestic economic developments for MPC meetings.
In addition to his role as an MPC member, in his capacity as adviser, Fowkes will offer analytical support to the governors on significant economic and financial developments and their implications for the bank and its policies, among a range of other tasks.
Fowkes has a Master’s degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, and a Doctorate from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in the United States, as a Fulbright Scholar.