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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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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