Greenspan was wary of Treasury ''initiatives'' in 1995


By Joe van Zyl
Bedfordview, South Africa

As a shareholder of the South African Reserve
Bank, I have directed questions to the bank in
respect of the bank's involvement in gold swaps
and collateral agreements, but the bank refused to
make any information available. I requested Peter
George to have questions in Parliament directed to
the minister of finance, Trevor Manuel. Manuel is
also the chairman of the Board of Governors of the
World Bank.

The questions that were asked in Parliament by Mr
S. N. Swart, member of Parliament of the ACDP, are
herewith attached, as well as the answers thereto
by Minister Manuel on August 27, 2001. (Manuel did
not answer all the questions put to him.)

I am not passing any comment at this stage on the
answers of the minister, other than to refer the
matter to my attorneys with a view of taking the
matter further.

The South African government was very concerned
when these questions were asked in Parliament. It
is clear from the answers that the minister is
covering up.

Further, note that finance minister stated that he
was assured by the South African Reserve Bank that
the bank's activities were considered in respect
of their possible impact on the gold price. While
no question was asked whether the activities of
the Reserve Bank would have had any effect on the
gold price, that the minister referred to this in
his answer is clearly indicative that such gold
swaps had an effect on the price of gold.

I trust that the above information will be of

* * *

29 JUNE 2001


1) Whether the South African Reserve Bank has been
involved in any (a) gold swap, (b) gold collateral
and/or (c) gold lease transactions, contracts
and/or agreements, regardless of whether or not
they may were concluded in its own name, on behalf
of the South African Government or any agent or
nominee; if so,

2) Whether he will furnish details of each such
transaction, contract and agreement in which the
South African Reserve Bank is or was involved,
directly or indirectly, either for its own account
or on behalf of any South African gold producers,
persons, organisations, central bank, bullion
bank, government, agent and/or nominee, with any
foreign central bank, international organisation,
including the International Monetary Fund,, the
World Bank and the Bank of International
Settlements, the Exchange Stabilisation Fund in
the USA, foreign bullion bank, including Goldman
Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Deutsche Bank and Citibank,
and/or foreign government or its nominee during
the period 1 January 1992 up to the latest
specified date for which information is available;
If not, why not; if so, (a) in respect of each
such transaction, contract or agreement, (i) on
what date was it concluded, (ii) how many ounces
of gold were involved, (iii) what was its (aa)
value and (bb) duration, (iv) what rate was agreed
upon and (v) what was the identity of each person
and/or party involved and (b) what was the total
value of the combined transactions (i) at the time
of conclusion and (ii) as at the latest specified
date for which information is available?


1) In terms of the South African Reserve Bank Act,
1989 (Act No. 90 of 1989) ("the Act"), section
10(1)(k), the South African Reserve Bank ("the
SARB"), may "buy, sell or deal in precious
metals". In terms of section 10(1)(s) of this Act,
the SARB may "perform such other functions of
bankers and financial agents as central banks
customarily may perform."

In terms of these powers, the SARB has been
involved in gold swap transactions over the time
period under consideration, viz as from 1 January
1992. That is, gold was swapped for foreign
currency from time to time for liquidity purposes
in preference to selling gold. To the extent that
the SARB had outstanding gold swaps, this was
reflected by way of a reduction in the physical
gold on the SARB's balance sheet. Currently the
SARB has no gold swaps outstanding.

The SARB has infrequently made gold deposits with
banks, primarily to offset the cost of gold
borrowing. The SARB currently has no gold on
deposit. In fact, the SARB is at present a
borrower of gold from the market.

It should be noted that, over the period under
consideration, the SARB was active in the
international bullion market as it sold, until
fairly recently, the overwhelming bulk of South
Africa's gold production.

2) The Minister of Finance and the SARB will not
furnish details of each such transaction. The
counter-parties to these transactions were
internationally recognised bullion market
participants operating in the wholesale bullion
market over that period. The transactions were
spread amongst these institutions, who were
approved bullion counterparties of the SARB and
who typically provided the SARB with credit lines.

The second part of this question relates to
reasons why the details regarding each transaction
are not divulged. By virtue of section 33,
Preservation of secrecy, of the above-mentioned
Act, detailed information on these transactions is
regarded as confidential and may not be disclosed
Moreover, it would be contrary to generally
accepted international banking practice to divulge
detailed information regarding such transactions
and agreements. The SARB has also assured the
Minister of Finance that the possible impact on
the gold price of any of the SARB's activities or
transactions were and are always carefully
considered given the importance of gold to the
South African economy.


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