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Banking industry should stop playing political games and start working for ordinary South Africans

Besides having an unhealthy balance of power, the banking cartel is regulated only in name and shares an incestuous relationship with the SA Reserve Bank. Photo: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)

Besides having an unhealthy balance of power, the banking cartel is regulated only in name and shares an incestuous relationship with the SA Reserve Bank. Photo: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 16, 2022

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THERE is no economy without people to inject their money into it. This gives rise to the question: How are we supposed to contribute to the growth of the economy if the banks continue to arbitrarily decide to close the accounts of businesses that are creating jobs, with flimsy excuses to say the least?

The matter between the Sekunjalo Group, its chairman Dr Iqbal Survé and South Africa’s banking cartel is one of extreme importance for the growth and empowerment of the working class and the economy in general.

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Simply put, the banks need to stop the power trip and start focusing on more important and meaningful things, such as working towards economic growth and stability.

The South African economy is already suffering from high levels of joblessness, which is exacerbated by a plethora of socio-economic issues. The last thing we expect is for our financial institutions to be complicit in the already unprecedented levels of unemployment.

Could it be that there is hidden political agenda at play?

Why then will the banking sector play a leading role in jeopardising the financial wellbeing of more than 8 000 people employed by legitimate businesses that are not facing a single charge of fraud, corruption or money laundering? As we see with the entire Sekunjalo saga.

Job creation is already difficult to achieve, especially with the low economic growth environment and the continued increase in levels of unemployment weakening the economy.

The impact of unemployment is devastating and results in poverty, social exclusion, inequality, crime and social instability, and leads to much greater socio-economic problems.

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To strengthen the relationship between employment and economic growth in South Africa is to stop all forms of corruption and increase economic freedom.

Employment requires people to have jobs; in order to have a jobs we need to have businesses; and, in order to operate a business, it needs to have a bank account.

Banks play an important role in the economy, offering services to finance businesses, which in turn employ people. What benefit would it serve then, if banks are allowed to continue shutting down accounts of clients “willy-nilly”?

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Besides having an unhealthy balance of power, the banking cartel is regulated only in name and shares an incestuous relationship with the SA Reserve Bank (SARB) – the controlling institution. It is incestuous because the banks themselves have shares in SARB, which makes them player and referee.

This unhealthy balance of power manifests itself in the form of the many unilateral closures of banking accounts of institutions and individuals, without a shred of accountability. This is what we are seeing in Sekunjalo’s battle with the banks.

What would you do if your bank were to shut down your account tomorrow? Right now, there is nothing that you can do because, realistically, the banks have all the power. The fact that the banks are being taken on by the Sekunjalo Group gives ordinary South Africans a glimmer of hope that the power balance can be restored.

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The only way we can reach our ultimate goal as a nation is to balance inclusive economic growth and social development. Formal and informal, public and private, white and black, large and small.

An honest and dynamic banking system that acts in the interests of its clients and the development of the economy will go a long way in helping us achieve those goals – not the current system of mafia banks that act only in their own interests or to settle political scores.

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