President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo: Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has backed the South African Reserve Bank as the debate rages on in the ruling party and outside about its mandate.

Ramaphosa said he would defend the Sarb and ensure it maintained its reputation in the international markets.

ANC leaders came out against each other this week after secretary-general Ace Magashule said the national executive committee lekgotla had agreed to extend the mandate of the bank to include growth and employment.

But he was contradicted by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and ANC head of economic transformation Enoch Godongwana, who said there was no such decision.

Political parties in Parliament said yesterday Ramaphosa must use the State of the Nation Address on Thursday to clarify the role and mandate of the Sarb. They said it would not make sense for Ramaphosa to talk about other issues in the address, and not touch on such a sensitive and important matter.

The DA, IFP and African Christian Democratic Party said the president needed to deal with the issue of policy uncertainty and Parliament was the right platform to do this.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko said the president met the Sarb board on Friday including its Governor Lesetja Kganyago at his guest house in Pretoria. The meeting was to discuss the vacancies at the bank.

Kganyago’s term comes to an end in November, while that of his deputy Daniel Mmimele expires at the end of the month.

Another former deputy governor, Francois Groepe, resigned in January this year.

At the meeting, Ramaphosa backed the Sarb. “The president has reiterated his commitment to safeguarding the high reputation the Sarb enjoys in the international financial community and committed to ensuring directors of a high calibre befitting the importance our country attaches to the Sarb are appointed,” said Diko.

Deputy minister of finance David Masondo met the board with Ramaphosa .

The issue of the Reserve Bank has also brought in the ANC’s tripartite alliance partners Cosatu and the SACP, which said they support the decision to expand the mandate of the bank.

They said this was the resolution of the ANC and it must be implemented.

ANC head of presidency Zizi Kodwa said last week Ramaphosa has spoken on the matter and there was no need to open the debate.

This was after the ANC president issued a statement on the NEC decision regarding the bank, and he considered the matter closed.

The ANC Top Six had met after Magashule’s statement days earlier.

Political Bureau