Mboweni: I will serve another term if asked to

South African Reserve Bank (SARB) Governor Tito Mboweni said on Tuesday that he has been governor since August 1999, will complete his current term in August 2009, and if asked to serve another term, he will.

“I will complete my current term as an honourable gentleman in August 2009. If asked to serve, I will,” he said.

“That should put that issue to rest and I propose not to entertain that question in the future,” he said.

Mboweni noted that he saw no reason why Jacob Zuma would not appoint him — but that Zuma first had to win the election.

Mboweni pointed out that the South African Reserve Bank Act is silent regarding the number of terms that a governor may serve. The Act does state that once appointed the governor shall hold office for a period of five years.

He noted that in terms of section 4(1)(a) of the Act, the president of the South Africa appoints a governor after consultation with the minister of finance and the board of directors of the SARB.

In answer to a question, Mboweni said that he had spoken to secretary general of the African National Congress Gwede Mantashe and explained to him what is in the statement he read on Tuesday, “so he understands”.

Mboweni said he would also be putting a call through to the chair of the portfolio committee of finance in Parliament to say that he has had today’s discussion to clarify the matter.

Mboweni added that in the case he was not asked to serve again, “there are lots of successors — there is a huge list”.

“Don’t write my obituary yet, I am still around,” he emphasised.

Mboweni said it was too early to say what his future would hold as “there is a long way to go”.

On the possibility of serving on the board of a private-sector bank, he said: “I don’t know, but don’t think it is advisable to join the board of a bank — although I don’t know.”

But Mboweni wanted to steer the media’s focus back to the challenge at hand — inflation.

“Governors are not in the business of popularity contests — they are in the business of controlling inflation and ensuring the poor are protected from the ravages of inflation; the rich can always hedge against inflation, while the poor are at a loss,” he said.

“We have huge challenges on the inflation front, and the central bank is doing all it can to deal with the inflation problems, and we can do with a little help from yourselves,” said Mboweni.

Mboweni concluded that his is a “job that needs to be done” and he will thus continue with his term and stay on if asked to.

Over the past couple of days, a number of news reports had given the impression Mboweni was stepping down as governor when his current term ends. — I-net Bridge

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Evan Pickworth
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