EFF sees a way for the state to grab ownership of the Reserve Bank

By expropriating its 802 private shareholders without compensation.
Lawyers point out that expropriation without compensation is unconstitutional as things stand. Image: Moneyweb

There are 802 private shareholders of the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) wants their shares expropriated and handed over to the state.

Last month it introduced the South African Reserve Bank Amendment Bill, which many see as a not-so-subtle attempt at nationalisation. It may be a long shot – parliament’s own legal advisors say it probably doesn’t pass constitutional muster – but the EFF seems determined to give it a go.

The DA didn’t like the way the EFF had pushed its private member’s bill before the committee, when it had already been declared unconstitutional by parliament’s advisors. The EFF briefing went ahead anyway.

While the Sarb has been hailed as a bastion of independence and good governance, the EFF sees it otherwise. In a recent presentation to parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance and Select Committee on Finance, EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu claimed the Reserve Bank presides over a banking and insurance sector owned by the white minority, where racial profiling allows discriminatory practices against black people (this is denied by the banks but there is some evidence the EFF may not be entirely off the mark).

The Sarb further presides over sophisticated cross-border illicit financial flows, resulting in tax avoidance and base erosion, said Shivambu.

“The Sarb is toothless, evidenced by its inaction when the banks fixed the currency,” says the EFF in its parliamentary presentation.

This refers to the ongoing currency rigging case involving up to 28 banks in 2017.

A campaign run by Dear South Africa elicited several thousand responses, the majority of them coming out against the bill.

Says one Dear South Africa commentator: “In my opinion, the amendments are a preliminary to temporary elected politicians having unprecedented control over state finances. This is an unhealthy risky situation in the world of finance. Looting would be that much easier, and checks and balances would be nigh nonexistent if such politicians could change controls at will.”

Says another: “For once I agree with Julius Malema. Those in control where there are no checks and balances have robbed us blind.”

‘Madness’

“It’s madness,” says Dawie Roodt, senior economist at Efficient Group.

“The economy is in depression and they are aiming at something – ownership – which is irrelevant for now. Ironically, nationalising a central bank at a time when private monies [such as cryptocurrencies] are gaining traction is likely to boost them even more.”

Roodt previously sounded the alarm over a possible motivation for nationalising the Sarb: in 2018 it had assets of R170 billion on its balance sheet belonging to the state but not available for state spending. A good portion of this was accumulated when Trevor Manuel was finance minister and tax revenues exceeded budget projections. Manuel handed over R70 billion to the state with the express instruction that it may not be used in future for state spending.

It was a smart move, and there are no doubt keen eyes on this pot of money at a time when it could solve a lot of problems.

Further expanding on its motivation for introducing an amendment bill, the EFF cites this famous quote attributed to Mayer Amschel Rothschild (founder of the Rothschild banking dynasty): “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.”

The party says the Sarb’s private ownership structure is majority white and does not reflect the demographics of SA, “and we are proposing a law, an amendment that will take shares from 800 odd private shareholders [and give] to 57 million South Africans”.

Global perspective

Research by the EFF suggests just nine of the roughly 240 central banks in the world have private owners. Only in Italy, SA and the US does the state have zero shareholding in their respective central banks. Most of the others are owned 100% by the state.

The proposed amendment bill will vest the power to appoint Sarb directors with the minister of finance, who will also have the power to appoint its auditors.

The EFF wants Section 10 of the Sarb Act to be amended to remove its power to “form shares” for issue to private owners, as these will henceforth be owned by the state.

Section 13 of the Sarb Act outlines certain prohibited businesses, such as the purchase of its own shares, or the purchase of shares in a bank (without the minister of finance’s approval). The proposed bill seeks to remove these prohibitions, which would allow the Sarb to purchase its own shares, buy shares in a bank, and remove limitations on its ability to purchase government bonds from National Treasury.

Also up for amendment is Section 21 of the Sarb Act, which limits the Reserve Bank’s share capital to two million shares of R1 each (R20 million).

Mandate

The Reserve Bank’s mandate is to protect the value of the rand in the interests of balanced and sustainable growth, to supervise the banking sector, and to act as lender of last resort to the commercial banks.

The latest financial results show the bank holds total assets of about R1 trillion, an increase of R264 billion over the 2019 figure due to high values for its gold and foreign exchange reserves.

Though the bank made net income of R7 billion for the year ended March 2020, dividends paid to shareholders is capped at R200 000. Hence, there is little financial benefit to owning Sarb shares other than participate in shareholder functions such as electing directors and getting a bird’s eye view of events in the high cathedral of financial control.

And who exactly are the shareholders identified by the EFF?

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni (with 10 000 shares, according to the EFF presentation), DA shadow minister of finance Hill Lewis (10 shares), Anton Rupert Trust, Absa Bank, Discovery Limited, FirstRand Bank and Nedcor, to name a few. It would make sense for Mboweni and the DA to own shares to keep an eye on things at the Reserve Bank.

But as lawyers have pointed out, expropriation without compensation is unconstitutional as things stand.

The Constitutional Court has ruled that expropriation must be accompanied by compensation. Advocate Noluthando Mpikashe, the parliamentary legal advisor, told the standing committee that the law is vague as to what is considered just and equitable compensation, and that the EFF bill can expect a rough ride through the Constitutional Court.

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I am invested offshore in foreign currency.

So go for it. Will make life a bit cheaper around these parts and will be the cause of greater inequality.

Inequality is what the EFF wants????? Do they know what they want?

It will just be another EISH!!! moment.

Just another attempted bank heist by Julius et co. Clearly the millions stolen from VBS bank has all been spent. On luxury cars, designer clothes and KFC, no doubt. And still the voting public has not wisened up to the EFF’s shenanigans.
The following must be the most cynical statement in democratic South Africa’s blighted history: “and we are proposing a law, an amendment that will take shares from 800 odd private shareholders [and give] to 57 million South Africans”. No Julius, the 57 million will not see one cent of the stolen loot. Only the robber politicians and their obsequious hangers-on will.

The Reserve Bank is a national asset. So are the JSE and all the listed companies, private farms and small businesses that provide employment opportunities, a regular income, social stability and food security. These institutions are national assets because they are in private hands. They belong to individuals through the pension funds and they serve the consumers by delivering the best products at the best price. Everybody who deals with a bank, or buys a product that has been produced by an institution that uses a bank, or uses the rand as a means of exchange, already has a vested interest in the Reserve Bank. By simply owning a currency that has purchasing power, the average citizen already enjoys all the benefits of the Reserve Bank. Nationalisation will destroy this most important benefit.

Eskom, SAA, 80% of municipalities and all the SOEs are national liabilities. They cost more than they produce. These state entities consume capital and act as a drag on society and impoverish the nation. These entities will consume pension fund assets and deliver a substandard service at an unaffordable price. These self-serving government monopolies exploit the consumers and their only purpose is to act as a special social grant to politically connected cadres and labour unions. These entities consume and destroy the assets of the nation and cause rising inequality and poverty. If the Reserve Bank loses its independence to become another SOE under the control of Luthuli House, the rand will be worth less than toilet paper.

The EFF is a dangerous mob of self-serving fascists that target people with the slave mentality to exploit their ignorance.

Spot on! Couldn’t have said it better myself.

The sooner people realise that Julius and the EFF ARE relevant the better. They are not just some fringe party with no power. They arguably have the most power, especially when you consider their size. Look at how they got away with the Clicks saga and this was just the latest one.

They are and have been leading the ANC by the nose and Julius will look to play the power game once the ANC looses the majority vote. Then South Africa will basically be run by the EFF as they’ll then truly be the king makers, much more so than in 2014 in some of the metros.

Be warned, Julius is very similar in his ways as a certain German in the 1930’s. The writing is on the wall and people need to choose whether or not they will take the writing seriously or not and fast.

There is a positive feedback loop between politics and the socio-economic reality. The relative popularity and dominance of a particular political opinion depends on, as well as determines, the socioeconomic reality.

The economic destruction, the decimation of the middle-class and the poverty in Weimar Germany that resulted from the hyperinflation, motivated the rise of National Socialism. Hitler was merely a product of the times. Hitler did not “invent” National Socialism. He merely exploited the socio-economic reality to further his ambitions. People support free-market capitalism when they are employed and when they enjoy a relatively decent living standard. The same people support socialism, national socialism, communism and eventually fascism when they feel that the system fails to provide them with the opportunity to improve their situation to escape poverty.

Malema’s business model relies on an unemployment rate of more than 40%. The DA’s business model relies on an unemployment level of lower than 20%. If unemployment rises further, then the socio-economic reality will favour Malema. If the economy improves, the DA will be the winner. If Malema wins the majority of the votes, the unemployment rate will rise to 100%. If the DA wins, then the unemployment rate will shrink to below 10%.

This is the feedback loop between politics and the economy. Malema has a bankable business plan at the moment.

@Sensei

Spot on again you are. That is exactly why I feel South Africa is doomed on it’s current trajectory with unemployment shooting out the lights, especially under the youth of the country. Since nothing is changing the forces and momentum that’s playing out, I can only deduce one outcome for SA and that is down, down, down.

Sad, but true and as someone once said, facts don’t care about your feelings.

Not sure how the JSE can be seen as a “national asset”
Unless the EFF or some other party or entity has nationalised it?

Read the post, Louise. Everything that is “nationalised” is a liability and everything that is in private hands are assets, simply because the former consumes capital and taxes an the latter produces capital and taxes. A liability is something that makes you poorer and an asset produces wealth.

The JSE and all private businesses are national assets because it builds wealth for the nation. All SOEs under the socialist ANC government are liabilities because they impoverish society. These national assets fund the social grant and produce employment opportunities.

The EFF is totally irrelevant in SA, they have made no meaningful contribution to SA.

Just another bit of grand standing seeing they got no attention during lockdown.

First Clicks now this, only good for kicking over rubbish bins.

I remember the first time they stood for election they received an unbelievable amount of television exposure due to their antics. I believe the DA then approached the national broadcaster to complain that while they had to pay to air their ads on the national broadcaster, the EFF received loads of free coverage which likely influenced their performance at the polls. After that the coverage of EFF on the news declined until as you said the antics and anarchy started again. As said in the parliament, they are thugs in red overalls with designer clothes underneath.

This view could be mistaken. I think the EFF are just the ANC’s stormtroopers, 5th Brigade or Brown Shirts and hence a lightning rod for the bad stuff that is going to destroy SA.

Their significance and democratic power is measured by the number of seats in the national Assembly.
Of course, since winning those seats in parliament, they’ve built up an equally impressive non-democratic powerbase by way of illegal land grabs, etc

Agree Paul. They are the sanctioned terrorist arm of the ANC. They go and stir where the ANC may not tread.

Agreed 100% – the EFF is the ANC’s stalking horse to keep the radical youth under it’s control

Wow, just utter wow. The comment section is so broken it’s not even funny. I try to reply to @pwgg and every and all links that manage to open the comments box turns it into a reply to “skunk skunk” whom I do not even see in the comments.

Anyways.

@pwgg

Do not make that mistake. Do not think the EFF are irrelevant. You could in fact not be more wrong. They have gotten the ANC to push their policies, just look at EWC, not privatizing the SOE’s, pushing for more state owned property and also the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank.

The EFF are leading the ANC by the nose and the SACP and Unions are starting to back and support the EFF more and more as the propaganda increases blaming the white people and the apartheid government for what is wrong.

Just look at what Cyril said yesterday, on Heritage Day. The ANC has quite literally turned Erfenisdag against the Afrikaner since ’95.

The writing is on the wall, but it’s people’s choice to read it and comprehend what is happening.

If anyone is still of the opinion that the EFF are irrelevant, I urge you to read up on the history of Germany and how “irrelevant” the Nationalsozialismus was going into the 1930’s.

Ignore me at your own peril.

Wouldn’t we all just love getting rid of the EFF by simple name-calling and dismissive comments…

Trust us and hand over the keys to the Reserve Bank, says those who looted VBS Bank.

I thought SA could not sink lower than under the ANC rule- Imagine it under EFF rule.

The EFF is on a totally destructive path. I think they will either self destruct (disappear), become irrelevant (but still exist) or become in charge and lead SA to complete destruction. The latter will be the worst outcome.

I do not know of a single plan of the EFF that does not involve the taking of someone else’s wealth. Someone should tell them that it takes skill to create wealth and that you can’t steal, you have to acquire it through hard work! Shame!

EWC takes place any many form throughout South Africa.

Examples include:
1)Expropriating Tax monies without the compensation of Service Delivery.
2) Printing Paper Money and thus devaluing the current value of money in the system.
3) Creating State Owned Enterprises which directly compete with private business but when they fail they get Bailed Out by the government.

There are money other examples.

The EFF is the far left wing of the ANC, they are not their competitors even if they say that they are.

Private Individuals can compete for wealth when their competition is a Zombie State Control monoply. We do not see small investments into SA anymore only a handful of Industrial Scale types whose businesses have greased the hands of politicians and thereby do not pay taxes or pay very little.

Yup. Not only is the EFF the “de facto” left-wing of the ANC, they influence ANC policy….and this is worrisome.

Why does Moneyweb coverage to the Zanu PF wannabees? Do you wish that we become another Zimbabwe??

Why delay the inevitable? Many reserve banks are under state control already. We know what will happen. The Reserve Bank will not be “handed back” to South Africans, instead a number of plum vacancies will be created for deserving comrades.

There was a time when ZAR170B could buy a lot. These days it will plug the deficit gap between our revenue and our expenditure for one year. The more these painful but necessary lesson are delayed, the longer the greedy, corrupt socialist monster lives.

The UK central bank is state controlled of late.

Identities of the private shareholders are well documented in media publications, and SARB’s press office has the info ready at the drop of a hat.
So there’s no need to rely on an EFF presentation to know what’s going on.
What is indeed unusual is the assertion that Trevor Manuel instructed that R70bn may not be used by the state.
Pity there is no interview or comment from Manuel himself on this; it leaves more questions than answers for instance, as finance minister, was Manuel’s instruction legally binding? Which law applies? Etc,etc
We’d like to know the facts – hopefully Moneyweb can help.

Don’t criticize the precious EFF, MW gets very upset.

Sorry – I take it back. I’ll even vote EFF in future!

Mail & Guardian list of shareholders as per March 2019 differs from the EFF’s list….
A comparison between the two lists makes for interesting reading; by this time the EFF has probably bought shares itself….

Bank robbers take their lives into their own hands.

End of comments.

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