LOOK: Unions, civil society blast banks over unfair practices
Johannesburg - Civil society and some unions on Thursday stretched their muscles against what they termed as “racist banks” during a protest outside Rand Merchant bank in the Sandton CBD.
The protest attended by almost 3 000 people saw different civic organisations coming together and singing with one tune against structural financial racism and bank bullying.
Present at the protests was the EFF, Sanco, ANC MKMVA, Cosas sand other organisations and unions.
Ordinary people who had lost their houses to the bank also came to show their support against the “racist bank”.
The protest also included prominent members of society such as shareholders of the South African Reserve Bank and a former minister. Slogans and chants saying “FNB MUST FALL,” reverberated all over Fredman Drive.
The banks were also challenged for not freezing the accounts of racist whites such as former ministers of apartheid South Africa. The groups present at the event handed over one memorandum as a sign of a united struggle.
MKMVA treasurer-general Des van Rooyen said this event should not be a once-off, he called on more people to mobilise.
“This event we have today is long overdue, as the MKVA message, we say there is no freedom without a financial economy. We need to take stock after 27 years of so-called freedom, the financial sectors have not transformed. These are the banks that championed and sponsored the apartheid regime,” said Van Rooyen.
Van Rooyen urged the government as the biggest client of the banks to not be quiet when black people continue to be victimised and excluded.
“We call for the nationalisation of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB),” said Black Finance and Banking Association of South Africa’s Makhosini Kharodi.
Transform SA president Adil Nchabeleng said they wanted to bring an end to the corruption allegedly carried out by the banks.
“Black people have had enough, you are not going to target us any more. Banks are quick to liquidate or repossess property belonging to black people,” said Nchabeleng.
Public Service Commercial Union's Tahir Maepa said the protest was not about individual political parties but the struggle of black people as a community.
“These banks are sitting with billions of monies that belong to public servants, we have been classified and our lives made hard not because of anything but because we are black. These banks are targeting us, we are in an economic war. These bastards are stifling us,” Maepa.
MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus addressing the media as protesters gear up for a march to the Sandton banking precinct. The MKMVA as well as several unions have joined the outcry against racist banks. Video: Timothy Bernard/ @AfriNewsAgency #RacistBanksMustFall #RacistBanks pic.twitter.com/mz9ZY7CXcS— IOL News (@IOL) April 29, 2021
Gugulethu Maqetuka, acting communications Head at Absa and Arkash Ramsawak, risk manager for FNB, signed and received the memorandum on behalf of the companies respectively.
There was a heavy police presence at the protest with traffic having to be diverted on Fredman Drive.