Research Note

On the mandate, ownership and independence of the South African Reserve Bank

Cobus Vermeulen
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 23, No 1 | a3416 | DOI: | © 2020 Cobus Vermeulen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 October 2019 | Published: 24 August 2020

About the author(s)

Cobus Vermeulen, Department of Economics, College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


It has been suggested that the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) is not doing enough to support economic growth and employment creation. There is confusion in the public debate, however, as three distinct concepts – the SARB’s mandate, ownership and independence – are often inaccurately lumped together and misinterpreted. This clouds the debate, and hinders progress. This article attempts to focus and stimulate the academic debate by distinguishing between these three distinct, yet interrelated, concepts, and to clarify misunderstandings and misinterpretation. It also suggests some avenues through which each could be investigated further, and how different dimensions to the problem could be considered independently.


Central bank; mandate; independence; nationalisation; private shareholders.


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