South African Reserve Bank
The South African Reserve Bank is the central bank of the Republic of South Africa. The primary purpose of the Bank is to achieve and maintain price stability in the interest of balanced and sustainable economic growth in South Africa. Together with other institutions, it also plays a pivotal role in ensuring financial stability.
The Reserve Bank is responsible for:
- formulating and implementing monetary policy;
- issuing banknotes and coin;
- supervising the banking sector;
- ensuring the effective functioning of the national payment system;
- managing official gold and foreign-exchange reserves;
- acting as banker to the government;
- administering the country’s remaining exchange controls;
- acting as lender of the last resort in exceptional circumstances.
Owing to its unique role as a central bank, some people are under the impression that the Reserve Bank was the first banking institution to be established in South Africa. This, is not the case however. The first bank to be established in South Africa was the Lombaard Bank in Cape Town, which opened its doors for business on 23 April 1793.
The earliest proposals for the establishment of a central bank in South Africa were made as far back as 1879 – calls that were repeated for the following few years, until a select committee, consisting of the ten members of Parliament was established on 31 March 1920 to examine the practicalities of establishing a central bank.
Following on the recommendations of the committee, the South African Reserve Bank opened for business on 30 June 1921, making it the oldest central bank in Africa. The first banknotes were issued to the public by the Bank on 19 April 1922.