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Kganyago open to second term as Reserve Bank Governor

Aug 24 2018 08:30
Rene Vollgraaff and Ntando Thukwana, Bloomberg

South African Reserve Bank (SARB) Governor Lesetja Kganyago said he’d be available to serve another five years at the helm of the central bank when his first term runs out in November next year – if he is asked to.

Kganyago was appointed by former President Jacob Zuma almost four years ago and another term will extend his stay as head of the Reserve Bank until 2024.

The governor and his three deputies are appointed by the leader of the country for a fixed five-year term and legislation makes no provision for their removal. Deputy Governor Daniel Mminele’s second term ends next June.

“If the appointing authority tells me that somebody else could do the job, it is in the hands of the appointing authority,” Kganyago, 52, said in an interview at his office in Pretoria Thursday. “That is why you are appointed for a fixed term, so that during that term, you know that no one will interfere with you.”

Credit-rating companies have continuously cited the Reserve Bank and its leadership as institutional strengths for South Africa, even as they cut the nation’s debt to junk last year when Zuma changed the finance minister and his deputy in a cabinet reshuffle.

Kganyago and the Reserve Bank have successfully challenged an attempt by the nation’s anti-graft ombudsman to change the regulator’s inflation-target mandate. The governor called the steps recommended by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane “irrational” in court papers.

Even with changes at the National Treasury, and Zuma appointing people seen to be loyal to him to top positions at the revenue service and the National Prosecuting Authority, there was never pressure on him to step aside, Kganyago said. The African National Congress forced Zuma from office in February, and he was replaced by Cyril Ramaphosa.

“I can tell you that no one tried,” he said. “But if they were to try, they would have a fight on their hands.”

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