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South African Reserve Bank

Dr Michiel Hendrik de Kock 

MH de Kock.gif
TERM SERVED IN OFFICE: 1 July 1945 – 30 June 1962
Through his work on the Board of Commerce and Industry Dr de Kock came into contact with the State Treasury and later with the Minister of Finance, Adv. NC Havenga and  in 1927, he attended the International Economic Conference in Geneva, Switzerland as a delegate of the Union of South Africa. At the request of the Minister of Finance, he visited a number of central banks after the conference with a view to advising the Minister on the possible extension of the powers and functions of the relatively new South African Reserve Bank. His report on this visit – Report on the methods employed by central banks for the effective control of currency and credit in Europe and America, and the extent of their applicability to the operations of the South African Reserve Bank – not only laid the foundation for his later appointment to the Reserve Bank, but constituted the embryo of his later authoritive work on central banking.
Dr de Kock was appointed at the Reserve Bank with effect from 1 January 1931. His stature in the Bank, even during the one year interim period before his final appointment as Deputy Governor (with effect from 1 January 1932) is illustrated by the fact that he was the first person, other than 
Directors an the Secretary, allowed to attend board meetings. Dr De Kock’s position as Deputy Governor, together with his wide knowledge of the field in central banking, enabled him to publish his magnum opus, "Central Banking" in 1939.  This was internationally recognised and translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Hindi and Gujarati. On 1 July 1945, Dr De Kock succeeded Dr Johannes Postmus as Governor of the Reserve Bank he held this position until his retirement on 30 June 1962.
After retiring, Dr de Kock stayed stayed on as Chairman of the Bank’s Board of Directors for another year and a half subsequently serving as an ordinary Director until 30 June 1970. His authoritive speeches as Chairman of the Bank’s Board enjoyed wide publicity and his views were generally highly regarded. He was directly responsible for the creation of a separate department in the Bank with the specific task of gathering and processing statistics and undertaking economic research. He was also responsible for the establishment of a specialised library in the Bank with a view to acquiring books, other material on banking and economics and making this collection available to the personnel.

In February 1946 Dr de Kock was appointed South Africa’s Alternative Governor at the IMF and South Africa’s Governor on the Board of the World Bank. Recognition of his services to his country and the world of finance in general came in the form of various awards and honorary doctorates. In 1950 the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns honoured him with the Havenga Prize for his achievement in economics and in 1965 the same institution awarded him the Frans du Toit Prize for business achievements.

He also received four honorary doctorates:
1955: D.Econ from the University of Natal
1955: LL.D. From the University of Cape Town
1958: D.Com from the University of Stellenbosch
1975: D.Econ.Sc. From the University of the Witwatersrand.

Dr De Kock also authored two additional books : "Economic Development of South Africa" (1936) and "Geld-en Finansiewese" (1944). In addition, he published numerous in the "South African Journal of Economics" and in the "South African Banker’s Journal". To encourage formal studies by South African bank officials, Dr De Kock donated a prize to be awarded on an annual basis by the Institute of Bankers to the candidate obtaining the highest marks in the International Banking and Credit, Money Systems and Exchange examination.
After retiring as Governor, Dr De Kock served on the boards of Anglo-American Corporation, De Beers Consolidated Mines, South African Mutual Life Assurance Company (Old Mutual). In 1974 he published his fourth book on central banking. He was a trustee of the Eeufeesfonds of the University of Stellenbosch and served as a member of this University’s council from 1966 – 1972.

His son, Dr G P C de Kock became Governor of the Reserve Bank on 1 January 1981.
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