The Pretoria High Court’s ruling on the Public Protector’s remedial action should not be used to censor the debate about the role and mandate of the Reserve Bank
The Congress of South African Trade Unions has taken note of the Pretoria High Court’s decision to set aside the Public Protector’s remedial action to amend the Constitution and change the Reserve Bank's mandate. We respect the decision by the court and we have long argued that the question on whether the Public Protector was empowered to pronounce on this matter was a valid one. COSATU continues to argue though that this ruling should not be used to censor the debate about the role and mandate of the South African Reserve Bank.
The federation’s argument is that this matter is not just about a dichotomous trade-off between protecting the value of the currency and development (job creation, etc,). We are clear that the collapse in the value of the currency affects the working class the most. But we favour and are pushing for an approach that incorporates both the developmental imperatives and protection of the currency. We view these as mutually reinforcing rather than contradictory.
Unfortunately in the current reality that is dominated by finance capital, higher inflation rate suggest structural imbalance and it is an impediment for investors, including our own companies as they become hesitant to invest if they are sure that the value of that investment is going to plummet. So price stability is important even from a point of view of radical socioeconomic transformation – as long as we currently depend on capitalists from job-creation and growth.
But this issue of an expanded mandate is also not taboo subject and we denounce the notion that it should be treated as a natural law; the mandate of the American and other global-north countries includes employment creation. The NGP that has been virtually replaced by the Neoliberal NDP has called for a loose monetary policy but a tighter fiscal policy in order to create the 5 million jobs.
COSATU will continue to push for a fully publicly owned reserve bank that will account to the public through their representatives in Parliament on the implementation of this broad mandate we are calling for.
Statement issued by COSATU, 15 August 2017