Reserve Bank Governor designate Lesetja Kganyago promises continuity

OCTOBER 6, 2014

South African Reserve Bank (SARB) Governor designate Lesetja Kganyago has promised continuity at the central bank, saying he is honoured by his appointment.

This as President Jacob Zuma announced on Monday that Kganyago, who is currently serving as one of the three Deputy Governors of the SARB, will take over the reins on 9 November 2014. This follows the announcement by Governor Gill Marcus that she will step down when her term ends on 8 November this year.

“To Governor Marcus and colleagues it is continuity. I don’t have to reinvent anything; I just have to carry from where she left off. She has guided us through the dangerous forest that is the global economy; she knows where the drinking holes are,” he said.

Speaking at the announcement of who will take over from Marcus, who was appointed in 2009, Kganyago said that elephants don’t forget and that the bank will find those drinking holes because Marcus has steered the central bank well.

Kganyago will take over the post from the first female Governor of the country at a time when central banks are faced with a range of challenges.

“The world of central banking is not what it used to be. The worlds over central banks are faced with a challenge of having to balance the issue of growth and issue of tackling inflation,” he said.

Lessons from the global financial crisis have shown that the singular task of a central bank of exclusively focussing on price stability is not enough to make sure that economic crises do not materialise.

“Hence the worlds over central banks have had this added mandate of financial stability.

“The SARB has also been tasked in a letter from the Minister of Finance saying that we now have an explicit mandate with respect to financial stability. These two mandates are what we will continue to espouse and we will be able to pursue these mandates as our constitution tasks us to do,” he explained.

President Zuma highlighted that in terms of the Constitution the primary objective of the SARB is to protect the value of the currency in the interest of a balanced and sustainable economic growth.

Kganyago thanked the leadership of South Africa for the confidence it has shown in him, saying the new post is a mammoth task.

“Mr President thank you very much for the confidence you’ve had in me in once again asking me to come and serve our people in one of the most difficult tasks. The position of the Governor of the Reserve Bank is at the apex of the public service,” said Kganyago, who was appointed as a Deputy Governor in May 2011.

In his announcement, the President said Kganyago has been appointed to the top post so as to enable a smooth transition to the post.

“He is already part of the team. He is highly regarded for his extensive knowledge and expertise of the South African and global financial systems,” said the President.

Outgoing Governor Marcus thanked the President for the confidence he has had in the institution, adding that it had been a privilege to head the bank.

“It is a reflection of the knowledge of the choice we have and commitment of trust that the leadership of the country and the people of South Africa have in the bank,” she said.

She also took the opportunity to congratulate Kganyago, who has previously served as the former Director-General of National Treasury from 2004.

“I wish you well, I have absolutely no doubt that you will reflect the strength of the organisation…. And the ability to take the decisions in the interest of the country without fear or favour,” she said.

On what is his priorities will be when he takes up the post the Governor designate said: “Challenges will remain what they have been, I do not foresee new challenges at this stage, there might be others that would crop up as it always happens in economics.”

He will focus on attracting the best brains in the business as well as the “new mandate of financial stability. The SARB must be geared up to be able to fulfil that mandate.”

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene also congratulated Kganyago, saying he comes from a team that has done well.

“He walks into a team that is dedicated to taking the country forward. I assure him of our support,” said the Minister.

The announcement was made at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. –

Photo caption: CONTINUITY... President Zuma flanked by New Governor Lesetja Kganyago, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and outgoing Governor Gill Marcus. Source: GCIS.