A group of Cape Town youth took to the street to protest against Absa and FNB. They said the protests aimed to raise awareness about banks that were racists. Photo: Twitter.
A group of Cape Town youth took to the street to protest against Absa and FNB. They said the protests aimed to raise awareness about banks that were racists. Photo: Twitter.

Cape Town youth protest against “racist” banks

By Dieketseng Maleke Time of article published Apr 23, 2021

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A group of Cape Town youth took to the streets to protest against major banks Absa and FNB, which they claim are racist.

Speaking to BRO, a protester Hendrick Smith, said the group gathered because they were “tired” of banks being racist towards black people.

“The protest was about the recent bank account closures of black people. It is also in relation with the book written by Emerald van Zyl exposing how FNB was charging blacks 30 percent more on mortgages compared to other people,” he said.

“This racism has been happening for a long time, some of us learned about it in 2009 when Van Zyl filed in the equality court and requested it to intervene and try to convince FNB to change some of its policies, which he deemed discriminatory against black people.

He said they decided to take action after Van Zyl lost that case.

“There has been a build-up for the protest as some black people’s bank accounts were closed by these banks. One of those is AYO Technology and former president Jacob Zuma's bank accounts,” he said.

“I would like the powers that be to take action against institutions like FNB and Absa. Let's address this issue and find solutions, it’s unfair that black people are excluded based on their skin colour.”

According to Smith, the protest is a stepping stone, as they are hoping to mobilise the youth across the country to tell their stories of racism at banks.

“At the moment it is difficult for black people to get mortgage loans. So we want people who have been victims of such to come forward and join us so that they can raise their voices,” he said.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, the hashtag RacistBanksMustFall started trending on Friday. It started gaining traction after a Twitter user posted a video of people singing and protesting outside a First National Bank in Cape Town. The user captioned the video: “Financial institutions been threatening Black business ... these systems are designed in a manner to oppress us. MASS is closing Absa in Cape Town”.

Twitter users started sharing their stories on the platform. Yolanda Karabo said: “If you can see the number of people complaining about FNB services at branches [about] racism [and] bank charges. It doesn’t stop.”

Another user, ShaunKeys said: “FNB has always been another racist bank. a Few years ago more than 4K bank customers claimed they were charged 30% more than whites on mortgage loans”.

Last week, JSE-listed AYO Technology Solutions launched a court application on constitutional grounds against FNB after the bank gave the technology firm notice to close its transactional banking facility from May 3.

The black-owned firm said that despite its best efforts, FNB had not provided them with what they regarded as valid reasons for termination.

AYO said it suspected that FNB’s decision was political and a new form of restricting black businesses from participating in the economy, in particular in the ICT sector.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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