Marcus the best choice, 'considering the circumstances'

The appointment of Gill Marcus as the new governor of the SA Reserve Bank (SARB) was welcomed by several political parties, business organisations and economists on Sunday.

“She will take care of the country to the best of her ability and she has it [the ability],” economist Mike Schussler said.

However, Schussler said he would have preferred to see someone from within the SARB promoted to the position.

“It would have been ideal to have someone from within the bank as new governor.”

On Sunday, President Jacob Zuma announced Marcus would replace Tito Mboweni from November 9 this year.

Schussler said Marcus was well respected by market players and her experience in the institution would stabilise the markets.

He said Marcus was the best choice, “considering the circumstances”.

He described the incumbent governor as a person with sound judgement and said her knowledge of the institution would ensure continuity.

He also did not expect any change in policy.

“There will not be any policy changes, inflation targeting is a policy from the Treasury,” said Schussler.

The African National Congress said the appointment of Marcus as the first woman governor of the SARB demonstrated the government’s commitment to gender equality.

“A progressive thinker, she will be bringing to the bank financial systems towards ensuring the achievement of economic growth,” the party said in a statement.

The South African Communist Party welcomed Marcus’ appointment, saying it hoped this would bring “a breath of fresh air”.

“The SACP hopes [Marcus] will allow us to take forward the policy debate on the mandate and the role of the Reserve Bank going forward in helping us navigate the current problems imposed on us by the global capitalist crisis,” said the party in a statement.

The Democratic Alliance welcomed the new governor’s appointment, but said it was concerned about the manner in which Mboweni was replaced.

“The reasons for the governor’s sudden change of heart are not known, but it could well be argued that the president has bowed to pressure of unions and pushed the current governor out,” the party said in a statement.

This came after Mboweni accepted his re-appointment to the position, but asked to leave in November.

Standard Chartered Bank emphasised the need for the new governor to talk to role players in the debate on inflation targeting.

“Within South Africa, there is much debate over the future course of inflation targeting.

“While the market itself in the current environment has become more accepting of growth concerns taking centre-stage, an interesting debate lies ahead,” said regional head of research, Razia Khan.

Business Unity SA (Busa) welcomed the appointment and said Marcus’ qualifications and experience in the public and private sectors made her a worthy successor to Mboweni.

“Her appointment sends an encouraging message to business and the markets and will have a positive impact on business and investor confidence.” said Busa CEO Jerry Vilakazi. - Sapa


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