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SA banks ‘don’t care about jobs’

Nedbank has been recently called to close Sekunjalo Group bank account as well as companies linked to Sekunjalo and its Founder Dr Iqbal Survé, even though Sekunjalo or Dr Survé have not been charged for any crime, says the writer. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Nedbank has been recently called to close Sekunjalo Group bank account as well as companies linked to Sekunjalo and its Founder Dr Iqbal Survé, even though Sekunjalo or Dr Survé have not been charged for any crime, says the writer. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Feb 28, 2022

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By Jacques Sibomana

“The latest official data reflect that two out of every three young people (under 35 years) in South Africa are unemployed”, according to an article by the Daily Maverick published on December 5, 2021.

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In a country where every job matters, creating job opportunities has been the country’s focus to reduce the level of inequalities and other social and economic ills. We continue to see banks in South Africa behaving unpatriotically towards this call.

When the president called on all South Africans in the private and public sectors to work together to reduce the level of unemployment, it seemed that South African banks were on their own mission to cut 8 000 jobs.

In the past 10 years, I have worked with both informal and formal small business owners, and the sentiment towards the banks have been the same across the board - how difficult it had been for black-owned businesses to access credit.

It has become a joke on how black-owned businesses struggle to access a credit line from the banks, and when you do get one it will be overpriced, almost designed to cripple you and your business.

Small business owners are working tirelessly to build their businesses, create jobs and contribute towards economic growth. But are last to receive any support, especially from the banks that are happy to bank their hard earnings.

One thought that this was perhaps just the way banks treat small business owners.

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To understand how South African banks are careless about jobs and job creation in South Africa, you will see how they are treating The Sekunjalo Group, black-owned investment group with over 8 000 employees.

Nedbank has been recently called to close Sekunjalo Group bank account as well as companies linked to Sekunjalo and its Founder Dr Iqbal Survé, even though Sekunjalo or Dr Survé have not been charged for any crime.

In a country where we need to protect existing jobs while creating others, and where the financial institutions need to be more patriotic to this call and use their network to invest more in job creation projects, why would an institution like Nedbank be active to impact 8 000 jobs?

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With over 1.5 million small business owners in South Africa that are struggling to grow their business due to lack of access to financing partners, why are the banks not active in this space and creating a real impact that results in job creations?

Eight thousand jobs are at risk because South African banks desire to play politics, 8 000 jobs that South Africa needs, these are 8 000 friends, family members and neighbours that could lose their jobs.

Let us not all go to open a black bank, but rather call for a fair playing ground for all. If we worked together we can create 8 000 more jobs, but divided we are putting 8 000 jobs at risk.

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Today it is Sekunjalo Group, tomorrow it could be ARM, RH Bhopelo, or Phembani and others. Let us work together to mentor each other as we continue to create jobs in South Africa.

* Sibomana is a Social Entrepreneur.

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