Tito Mboweni instructed to toe policy line after SARB tweets_1

The African National Congress (ANC) on Wednesday chided South Africa’s finance minister, saying it was “concerned” at comments made by Tito Mboweni about nationalising the South African Reserve Bank (SARB)

“The African National Congress (ANC) is concerned about the public posture taken by comrade Tito Mboweni in relation to resolutions and policy positions of the ANC, specifically on the South African Reserve Bank,” national spokesman Pule Mabe said in a statement.

It was the ANC’s view that Mboweni should “act with care and be cautious at all times on matters of policy” given his ministerial position, said Mabe.

The minister should subject himself to the communications’ protocols of the governing party, he added.

On Tuesday, Mboweni took to micro-blogging site Twitter to reiterate that the ANC’s decision to nationalise the SARB was “a wrong resolution”. He asked his overs 487 000 followers to answer the “fundamental question” of what would be achieved by nationalising the bank.

Mabe said that those who served in ANC leadership structures – particularly of the national executive committee – were expected “at all times to uphold and defend resolutions of the ANC on public platforms”.

“The bar placed on national leaders of our glorious movement is even much higher as they are collective custodians of democratic centralism. Elected leaders of the ANC are therefore not freelancers and remain bound by the overall prescripts of our organisational values and discipline in pursuance of the National Democratic Revolution.”

ANC leaders were expected to convey a “consistent, coherent and unifying message on policy positions”, said Mabe. Unprovoked public spats fed into the narrative of policy uncertainty, he added.

“The character of our organisation confers on the membership the authority to determine policy and to hold the leadership accountable.

As a long standing member of the ANC and its leadership structures, I know and understand our resolutions.I don’t need lectures on that.But on the SARB, I am convinced that we adopted a wrong resolution. What do we want to achieve?Our Strategic focus:Structural Economic Reforms.

— Tito Mboweni (@tito_mboweni) January 14, 2020

Only the national conference has the right and power to review, ratify, alter or rescind any decision taken by any of the constituent structures, committees or officials of the organisation.

“The constitution of the ANC enjoins only the president as the political head to make pronouncements for and on behalf of the NEC, outlining and explaining the policy or attitude of the ANC on any question.”

Members of the organisation in good standing could take part in discussions about policy matters through the “appropriate internal platforms”, he said.

Any public statements by a leader of the ANC questioning “the wisdom of a national conference” outside formal party structures had the potential to create confusion in and outside of the party, he said.

“We therefore encourage leaders and members of the ANC to exercise their freedom of speech within the confines of the structures and discipline of the ANC.

The NEC had already reaffirmed a conference resolution to nationalise SARB, said Pule.

In his 8 January statement, presented over the weekend, president Cyril Ramaphosa said the bank would be nationalised in a way that did not affect its mandate or independence.

As of now, 90% of the SARB profits are handed over to the National Revenue Fund. So? What do we want to achieve? Tell the public. Lets debate. Dont say internal debates, this is a fundamental National debate.

— Tito Mboweni (@tito_mboweni) January 14, 2020

Answer the question. What do you want to achieve by nationalizing the SARB. Don’t tell me about internal debates, NEC, etc. what do you want to achieve? Lets answer that fundamental question.

— Tito Mboweni (@tito_mboweni) January 14, 2020