Deputy SA Reserve Bank Governor Kuben Naidoo tendered his resignation to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday.
According to an analyst who spoke exclusively to the Daily Maverick, the ANC and government have no real plan to implement a successor.
“There is no one lined up. It’s a bit of a mess,” the analyst who wanted to remain anonymous told the publication.
This suggests that Naidoo may have made this decision right away and clearly did not create an exit strategy with the central bank and government.
It should be noted that his departure is by no means clear; the president has not made any comment on his leaving or when that would be.
His term at the central bank was scheduled to end in 18 months.
The next interest rate announcement will be on November 23, so in all reality, he may still be with the bank by the next interest rate decision.
WAS THERE POLITICAL INTERFERENCE?
There is speculation that political interference over the South African Reserve Bank's (SARB) monetary policy stance may be the reason for Naidoo’s sudden departure.
Naidoo is one of three deputy governors of the SARB and a member of the five-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), which oversees the interest rates in the country.
Looking at the past two interest rate decisions, the MPC has been split 3-2 over interest rate trajectory.
Three members of the committee have preferred to keep rates on hold at 8.25% per annum, and two prefer to increase the rate by 25 basis points.
Economist Redge Nkosi, founder and executive director of monetary, banking, and macroeconomic policy research and advocacy organisation First Source Money, said Naidoo’s resignation might point to external influence within the bank.
“It is as much a shocker as it is to many,” Nkosi said.
“But what is known is that there are too many foreign interests that the SARB seems to be engaged with, perhaps to the dissatisfaction of a few there.”
It should also be noted that on November 1, the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) will be presented by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana.
This meeting may shed some light on the direction the government is taking fiscally. It may also address the departure at the SARB and what plans government may have to address the leadership vacuum.