FILE PHOTO: Ramaphosa arrives for his inauguration as South African president, at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria

Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa has broken his silence following a bitter spat between senior officials in the ANC regarding the South African Reserve Bank’s mandate.

This comes after ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule announced on Tuesday that the governing party’s NEC’s lekgotla had resolved that the central bank’s mandate be expanded beyond price stability to also include growth and employment.

Labour federation Cosatu backed the call, while several leaders in the party, including former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni dismissed Magashule.

“Let us leave the SARB alone to pursue its mandate without fear, favour or prejudice. Let us focus on micro-economic restructuring to grow the economy,” said Mboweni.

ANC head of economic transformation Enoch Godongwana also accused Magashule of misrepresenting the outcomes of the NEC lekgotla.

“He is lying. None of what he said was resolved by the lekgotla on the SARB. I called him and he switched off his phone,” he told Independent Media.

In Ramaphosa’s statement on Thursday, which was released through the ANC’s presidency office, Ramaphosa said the mandate of the central bank remained unchanged.

“The officials emphasized the policy positions of the ANC on the independence and role of the SARB as set out in the constitution. The Constitution sets the role of the SARB as protecting 'the value of the currency in the interest of balanced and sustainable economic growth'. It further states that this mandate must be exercised in regular consultation with government, through the cabinet minister responsible for national financial matters. This policy has not changed,” said Ramaphosa.

He added that it was the party’s desire for the central bank to be public owned, but he said this would not be happening immediately.

“We recognize that this will come at a cost, which given our current economic and fiscal situation, is simply not prudent. The officials viewed the recent public spats about the mandate of the SARB as not being helpful and migitaging and undermining the confidence of citizens and of investors,” said Ramaphosa.

“There is broad agreement that all viable, legal and other policy instruments at our disposal should be used to ensure that we get the economy growing again and create jobs, by implementing the apex programmes of our manifesto, in order to achieve our desired national objectives,” he said.

Ramaphosa the party resolved to tackle with urgency, issues affecting the country following the announcement of a 3.2% drop in the gross domestic production for the first quarter of 2019.

IOL