The South African Reserve Bank is established

South African Reserve Bank

Thursday, 30 June 1921

The South African Reserve Bank was established in terms of the Currency and Banking Act, 1920 (Act No. 31 of 1920) in Parliament.This came into being after a Gold Conference was held in October 1919.

Prior to its establishment South African commercial banks issued banknotes to the public. These banks had to convert the notes from the public in to gold. Subsequently the gold was sold to London. Moreover, the gold had to be re-imported into South Africa and then be converted into banknotes again.

The commercial banks requested the government to release them from the obligation to convert their banknotes into gold on demand. For this reason the Gold Conference was convened to discuss South Africa’s currency. In the course of the conference a Select Committee of the Parliament recommended the establishment of a central bank to take over the gold held by commercial banks and the issuing of banknotes. The recommendation was accepted by the South African Parliament. The South African Bank opened its doors for business on 30 June 1921.

References:
• Mbuya J.C. (2008), ‘The Pillars of Banking’, (MP), pp. 195-197 South African Reserve Bank, Background, [online], Available at: www.resbank.co.za[Accessed: 26 June 2014]

Last updated : 30-Jun-2017

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011