30/06/2017 11:55 SAST | Updated 30/06/2017 13:10 SAST

Reserve Bank Independence Non-Negotiable, Says Malusi Gigaba

Nobody should fear a debate, but the Public Protector should have brought recommendations on the Reserve Bank directly to the Finance Ministry.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane overstepped the mark when she challenged the South African Reserve Bank's inflation-targeting policy, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Friday.

"The public protector does not have the power to direct Parliament to amend the Constitution", Gigaba told attendees at a business breakfast at the ANC's policy conference on Friday morning.

"We should all insist on the independence of the South African Reserve Bank, to set monetary policy within the framework defined both in the Constitution and the law," he said. " The recommendations of the Public Protector should have been directed at the finance ministry," he said.

Gigaba however also said nobody should "panic... [or] fear a debate".

Mkhwebane earlier in June criticised the Reserve Bank's current mandate saying its emphasis on inflation-targeting and maintaining the value of the rand panders to a "few commercial interests" over a broader emphasis on growing the economy.

The Reserve Bank fired back, arguing Mkhwebane's office does not have the mandate to make recommendations on how it should function, later filing a court challenge to set aside her recommendations. Mkhwebane's recommendations were also rejected by the ANC.

The ANC's 5th National Policy Conference will continue at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg until Wednesday.