Sunday, July 17, 2011

Gwede Mantashe Clarifies African National Congress Stance on Nationalisation in South Africa

Mantashe clarifies ANC stance on nationalisation

Times Live

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said this week he did not believe in "outright nationalisation of all banks".

"Our financial sector is doing well and is more sophisticated than people might imagine," said Mantashe.

But he said Post Bank should be run as a de facto "state bank" with a proper banking licence and regulated by the registrar of banks, not the communications minister.

Two private-sector economists, who did not want to be named, have suggested that Post Bank operate as the retail arm of a state bank, with the Industrial Development Corporation financing entrepreneurs and businesses. The National Empowerment Fund would then act as commercial arm of the bank, supporting black-run enterprises.

They suggested that the Development Bank of Southern Africa should be the investment arm and the Land Bank continue to provide financial services to commercial farming and agri-business.

Mantashe emphasised that expropriation without compensation of mines and other key sectors was not in the ruling party's vocabulary.

The ANC is investigating 13 cases of nationalisation in other countries. The findings will be discussed by the ANC's conference next year.

Goolam Ballim, chief economist at Standard Bank, said nationalisation talk made international investors cautious. Their horizon would not go beyond three years if they feared expropriation.

Siobhan Cleary, JSE head of strategy, pointed to a recent decline in trading as global investors expressing concern about policy uncertainty. "Where there is uncertainty people are wary of getting involved."

Standard Chartered Bank opted to use its new head office in Nairobi, not SA, as regional hub to become "a top financial centre in Africa".

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