Zuma names new chief for S.Africa's central bank

PRETORIA : South African President Jacob Zuma said on Sunday that Gill Marcus will become the new governor of the South African Reserve Bank, after the current head's term expires in August.

Marcus was deputy governor of the central bank from 1999 to 2004. She is currently chairperson of the country's largest bank Absa.

Zuma said he would have re-appointed the outgoing governor Tito Mboweni, who has come under fire from his leftist allies in labour unions for the bank's policy of inflation-targeting.

"However he has indicated his wish to leave," Zuma told reporters.

Zuma praised Mboweni, who assumed his role in 1999, saying he came at a critical moment when the country was positioning itself on the path of sustained growth.

Mboweni said he believed Marcus was a good choice for the job.

"I think she is a good appointment, she is not a stranger to the bank," said Mboweni.

The powerful government-aligned Congress of South Africa Trade Unions, COSATU, has for months been calling to replace the governor, blaming the bank's inflation targeting policy for high interest rates and rising food prices.

Zuma said that there will be no change in the bank's policy.