Opposition leader Malema presents bill to nationalise South Africa’s central bank

Julius Malema, the leader of South African opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Thursday introduced a bill to nationalise the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

The central bank has been privately owned since it was founded in 1921 but owners do not have a say in policy or regulatory decisions by the bank.

According to a copy of the bill posted on the South African parliament’s website, the SARB Amendment Bill would “make the state the sole holder of the shares in the bank” and “provide for the appointment of certain board directors by the (finance) minister”.

The president currently appoints the central bank governor in consultation with the finance minister.
The Reserve Bank is privately owned, with 2 million issued shares. The only limitation on shareholding is that no single shareholder may own more than 10,000 shares individually. Currently there are 666 shareholders owning shares in the South African Reserve Bank.

According to the Bank’s website, it has more than 660 shareholders and its shares are traded on an Over- the-Counter Share Transfer Facility market (OTCSTF market) co-ordinated within the Reserve Bank.

“Except for the provision of the SA Reserve Bank Act that no shareholder shall hold, or hold in aggregate with his, her or its associates, more than 10 000 shares of the total number of 2 000 000 issued shares, there is no limitation on shareholding.”

Shareholders are also entitled a dividend of not more than 10 South African cents per share per annum.

The central bank has no issues with becoming state-owned, stressing that any change of ownership would not affect its independence nor change its mandate.