There have never even been allegations of activities, like fraud, money laundering or terrorism financing, that may compel FNB to take such action. Yet, the bank was allowed to act as judge, jury and executioner and carry out this detrimental act, says Feroza Petersen. Picture: Dylan Jacobs, ANA.
There have never even been allegations of activities, like fraud, money laundering or terrorism financing, that may compel FNB to take such action. Yet, the bank was allowed to act as judge, jury and executioner and carry out this detrimental act, says Feroza Petersen. Picture: Dylan Jacobs, ANA.

Employees enraged by FNB’s callous decision to close AYO’S banking facilities

By Opinion Time of article published May 6, 2021

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By: Feroza Petersen

LATE LAST WEEK, employees of AYO Technology Solutions were shocked, disappointed, panicked and enraged after hearing that Judge GC Wright ruling against AYO’s and its employees’ urgent interdict application to avert the bank from summarily closing the company’s bank account.

There was no regard for the employees of the AYO group, when the decision was taken at the high Court. By the judge’s curt decision, their rights to human dignity, employment and financial independence was promptly rebuffed.

He didn’t consider how they would put food on the table or how they would afford living in their homes without salaries.

He didn’t consider how they would pay their children’s school fees or what would happen to their medical cover. Such questions didn’t even cross the judge’s mind.

This, only four days before the May 3 deadline of FNB closing the company’s banking facilities. I am saddened and outraged by this closed-minded decision.

Has the judge considered what will happen to all the thousands of employees once their organisation becomes unbanked? Has he thought about what his decision could ultimately mean for their jobs?

Is there a conscious drive to increase the percentage of unemployment in South Africa?

It is unnecessary. According to Statistics SA, the unemployment rate in the country is already at its highest at 32.5 percent for the last quarter of 2020.

A total of 7.2 million people are unemployed, and 1.4 million people lost their jobs over the last year with the Covid-19 pandemic. The statistics do not lie.

And why the discrimination? Why are companies such as Steinhoff, EOH and Tongaat-Hulett, who were proven guilty of criminal and fraudulent activities not acted against, while AYO, which has done nothing but relentlessly drive transformation in the ICT sector, become the target of such crippling and drastic measure?

Is this another sinister step of the deliberate, protracted, media-led, campaign to cripple and defame the first and largest black-owned ICT company in the country?

AYO has never been found guilty of any crime. AYO has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) Commission of Inquiry.

There have never even been allegations of activities, like fraud, money laundering or terrorism financing, that may compel FNB to take such action.

Yet, the bank was allowed to act as judge, jury and executioner and carry out this detrimental act.

Under these circumstances, my dream of being a part of social transformation in our country, my dream of becoming an individual who has contributed to the history of our country’s path to empowerment has ended abruptly.

I am shattered. My only solace comes from the fact that the people at AYO I have come to know and admire are strong, resilient and tenacious. That they will continue to fight for transformation, equality and empowerment.

How cold-hearted can you be, Frederick Basson, when you give AYO four days to arrange alternatives. Four days? Did you think about what your decision meant for the employees? People’s futures are being compromised .

Livelihoods are in jeopardy. Dreams of living a decent life, of opportunities for their children, are shattered! How do you propose that these employees, these real people, continue when they lose their jobs?

I thank Numsa, Saftu, Sanco, PSA, Umkhonto we Sizwe, the Black Business Council and thousands of backers who have come out to expose the banks’ unfair practices and discrimination and to support AYO in this challenging time. We can no longer tolerate such behaviour and allow banks to decide our future.

We need our jobs. We, the people, need our economic freedom. We need the decision to close AYO’s banking facilities annulled for the sake of all their staff, and for the sake of all black clients of the banking industry.

Feroza Petersen writes in her personal capacity.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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