SARB integrity must be protected

Issued by Dr Dion George MP – DA Shadow Minister of Finance
24 Aug 2023 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Dr Dion George MP.

Today, the DA has submitted a request, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) for the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) to release the report on their investigation into allegations that President Ramaphosa contravened Exchange Control Regulations.

In its media release on 21 August, the SARB stated that it had, on 14 August, finalized its investigation into the Phala-Phala matter. In this media release the SARB stated that “due to legislative requirements and constraints”, the investigation report into the matter will remain internal and private and will not be made available to the public.

The media release did however indicate its finding that the transaction in question was “not perfected” and that they therefore could not conclude that a contravention had occurred. This finding is puzzling and sets a dangerous precedent.

The law does not permit foreign currency to be held longer than prescribed timeframes and the SARB must uphold the law without fear, favour, prejudice or political interference. Moreover, the media release was completely silent on the apparent fact that foreign currency was actually held. Whether the transaction was completed or not is irrelevant.

The SARB lies at the heart of our financial system, and the DA will fiercely defend its integrity and independence. We will not stand by while the reputation and integrity of yet another institution fails.

South Africans need to be certain that the SARB has thoroughly investigated the matter and it’s conclusion is grounded in law. This is especially pertinent following South Africa’s greylisting in February and the heightened scrutiny from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). South Africa can ill-afford some hare-brained attempt to hide the facts and protect another President from taking accountability.

Should the SARB fail to provide the report following our PAIA application, we will proceed to court action.