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Nedbank ordered to leave Sekunjalo’s accounts untouched amid ongoing court case

Sekunjalo urgently approached the Equality Court on Monday after Nedbank had turned down a request to keep the bank accounts open until the matter was heard. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency

Sekunjalo urgently approached the Equality Court on Monday after Nedbank had turned down a request to keep the bank accounts open until the matter was heard. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency

Published Mar 15, 2022

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Cape Town - The Sekunjalo Group of Companies’ (Sekunjalo) bank accounts at Nedbank will remain open after the Equality Court in the Western Cape ordered the bank to not close them.

Presiding over the matter in which Sekunjalo is taking Nedbank and South Africa’s banking cartel on for discrimination, Judge Mondi Samela ordered Nedbank to leave the accounts open until such time an interdict application against Nedbank was heard on April 8 and an outcome is reached.

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Having considered the issues raised by both parties, Judge Samela said he was of the view that a case has been made for the relief sought by Sekunjalo.

“The respondents are hereby interdicted from closing the applicants’ accounts on Tuesday, March 15. This relief is pending the outcome of the application on April 8,” Judge Samela said.

Last week, an 11th-hour technical objection by Nedbank regarding the jurisdiction of the Equality Court to hear Sekunjalo’s application in respect to the imminent closure of the Group’s accounts, was postponed following consultations in the judge’s chambers with advocates from both sides.

Sekunjalo urgently approached the Equality Court on Monday after Nedbank had turned down a request to keep the bank accounts open until the matter was heard.

In its refusal, Nedbank said Sekunjalo had accounts at Standard Bank; this meant they would not be negatively affected if Nedbank went ahead and closed the accounts.

Sekunjalo’s advocate, Vuyani Ngalwana SC, argued that the Standard Bank accounts were not the remedy, as those accounts were alredy under review and these circumstances hindered Sekunjalo from conducting business or opening new accounts.

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On Monday, another Sekunjalo attorney, Ashley Adriaans, said: “The matter has not been heard yet, so I can’t say much. I can just say: the court has granted an interdict until the outcome of the main interdict application.”

A week ago, Sekunjalo took Nedbank and eight other banks to the Competition Tribunal accusing them of refusing to provide banking and payment services to Sekunjalo, and also arguing this behaviour constitutes an abuse of dominance or collusive conduct in contravention of the Competition Act.

Some factors Sekunjalo wanted the Tribunal to consider to make its prima facie case for interim relief, include prohibitive practices; the modus operandi by which banks operated to close Sekunjalo’s accounts; and the abuse of dominance.

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Sekunjalo and its executive chairman, Dr Iqbal Survé, told the Tribunal of fears that country’s major banks might have discussed and agreed to shut down the bank accounts of the Sekunjalo Group of companies as part of unscrupulous collusion among them.

The ruling by the Tribunal in the matter was reserved.

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