The Reserve Bank has been dragged into the battle between the tenderpreneurs and the reformists for the keys to the state purse, but that doesn’t mean that the Bank’s independence is seriously under threat.
It is, in fact, a lot harder to get rid of a Bank governor like Lesetja Kganyago than it is to get rid of a cabinet minister like Pravin Gordhan.
The appointment of the Bank’s governor and deputy governors is regulated by section 4 of the SA Reserve Bank Act, which does not make provision for their dismissal during their first five-year period of appointment or in subsequent terms, which are allowed to be shorter.
"The implication is that the act would have to be changed by means of a legislative process in parliament if it is considered necessary to dismiss the governor or any one of the deputy governors prior to the expiry date of an appointment," says Prof Jannie Rossouw, who heads the school of economics & business sciences at Wits University.
It is either that or their continued appointment would have to be challenged in a court of law, thus subjecting any attempt at dismissal to public scrutiny.
It follows, therefore, that the governor and deputy governors have security of tenure for their period of appointment.