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Finance Minister Tito Mboweni slammed over Reserve Bank mandate

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni slammed over Reserve Bank mandate
The SA Communist Party has slammed Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and other ANC leaders who have expressed their opposition to the expansion of the mandate of the SA Reserve Bank (Sarb).

Since last week, the ANC and its alliance partners have been embroiled in debate on the reconfiguration of the central bank's mandate.

The debate was triggered by ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule's announcement that the party's national executive committee lekgotla had agreed to go ahead with the expansion of the mandate of the Sarb to include growth and employment, on top of protecting the currency.

This resulted in Magashule being publicly accused of "lying and causing policy uncertainty" by Mboweni - a former Sarb governor - and ANC economic transformation head Enoch Godongwana.

Following the conclusion of the SACP's central committee meeting yesterday, general secretary Blade Nzimande accused Mboweni "and his faction" of being “neo-liberals” who were trying to drag the country “back to the disastrous neo-liberal policy of the 1996 class project”.

“Our problem is to be told by this old orthodoxy. It is old fashioned to actually be told you cannot debate whether you should expand the mandate of the Reserve Bank or not,” Nzimande said.

He said they forgit that the ANC's election manifesto promised the expansion of the Sarb's mandate.

“The South African Reserve Bank does not have policy independence. It only has operational independence. Policy is not determined by the SA Reserve Bank but by Parliament and the incumbent government,” Nzimande said.

Some in the faction close to Magashule within the ANC, including former president Jacob Zuma, have defended him, saying he was articulating resolutions of the governing party.

Nzimande said some within the had been instrumental in collapsing critical state institutions and their capacity.

He said the SACP would reject both the populists and conservative neo-liberals in the ANC, accusing them of factional posturing and derailing substantive debates on policy issues.

The SACP has also joined calls for Parliament to establish an inquiry into Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's fitness to hold office.

Mkhwebane has been the subject of controversy following several court judgments which ruled against her reports.

Nzimande said the office under Mkhwebane had become an instrument for party political battles.

“It is not because we, as the SACP, have a personalised agenda against the person, but we think these judgments have the potential of damaging the standing and the dignity of the Office of the Public Protector,” he said.