Money and Markets

This is probably the last chance ever to become a director of the Reserve Bank before it is nationalised

Business Insider SA

  • The Reserve Bank has one empty seat for a non-executive director, and nominations are now open.
  • Anyone can nominate a candidate, but there are tough requirements to actually get the job.
  • With nationalisation looming, this may be the last chance ever to become a shareholder representative.

The ANC has instructed the government to nationalise the Reserve Bank. But for the time being it is still technically owned by shareholders who select the non-executive directors who represent them on the board. And until 23 March nominations are open for just such a position. 

This is how you can get the job.

Step 1: get nominated.

This is the easy part. Anyone can submit a nomination by just downloading the right form and sending it back via email. Or fax. The Reserve Bank really still has a fax machine. It is 012 313 4421, if you also have a fax machine and nobody to fax.

Step 2: be the right kind of person – so not a banker.

This is where it gets tricky. By law Members of Parliament are banned from the job, and so are bank employees, or the directors of any banking institution. 

Step 3: be the right kind of person – so a banker.

The Reserve Bank is required to have a spread of expertise on its board. The specific seat it is trying to fill is for "the commerce or finance sector" – so skills in that kind of field are required. Despite the "commerce" bit in there, chances are an ex-banker will have better luck than, say, someone who once ran a supermarket.

Step 4: be the right kind of person – so not a crook.

There are a couple of general requirements to be a Reserve Bank director: South African citizenship and residency, and five years' experience on a board of directors. The catch-all requirement, though, is "fit and proper", to weed out anyone with a dubious history.

In the past that requirement has been somewhat thinly applied but presumably letting in a Holocaust denier was a one-time thing.

Lesetja Kganyago

Step 5: convince a former judge, Nedlac, and the Reserve Bank governor you are the right kind of person.

Shareholder democracy is fine in theory, but not when it comes to the place that sets monetary policy. Any candidate for the directorship must be approved by a panel chaired by Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago and that includes a former judge and another person appointed by the minister of finance, plus three people sent by the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).

Step 6: get elected by the select group that is the Reserve Bank's shareholders.

Once it has found a banker who is not a banker, the selection panel sends no more than three names to the 650 or so shareholders of the bank, which includes names such as the Anton Rupert Trust, Bothaville District Farmers Union, and the Police Widows' & Orphans' Fund – but is mostly a random mix of individuals.  

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