Political parties ActionSA and the African Transformation Movement (ATM) have demanded that heads roll at Wesbank after a former employee exposed how the finance provider allegedly used a specific system to overcharge black clients.
On Sunday, the Sunday Independent newspaper reported on how an employee, who worked as a consultant in the IT department as a contractor between 2014 and 2018, told them of the alleged rip-offs directed at black clients by the bank.
According to the employee, the bank used the acquisition system to determine the interest rates.
This comes after a recent exposé on how banks made a chunk of profit by manipulating the rand.
ActionSA said it would write to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to investigate alarming allegations by the employee.
The party clarified that it did not accuse Wesbank of being guilty, but instead, said the commission was in a better position to establish the facts.
“Wesbank’s actions, if proven to be accurate, run contrary to this belief, and the covert racism it represents cannot be tolerated in a country with a problematic history like our own.
“Non-racialism is a pillar of our Constitution that is constantly under threat as social cohesion breaks down in South Africa, and it is the responsibility of every business in South Africa to act morally and treat every citizen the same in the workplace,” it said in a statement.
The ATM expressed concern about the practices at Wesbank, reflecting a pattern of systemic discrimination within the financial sector.
However, it said the finance provider’s silence on these damning allegations was troubling.
The ATM called on WesBank to address these accusations transparently, acknowledging the severity of the claims and taking immediate steps to rectify any discriminatory practices.
“It is just as bad that financial investigator Emerald van Zyl, who looked into the matter, received multiple complaints and found evidence supporting the claims that black clients were charged significantly higher interest rates,” it said.
The party reiterated the need for investigations into discriminatory practices within the financial sector, adding that their call remained crucial in ensuring that justice prevailed on the basis of the financial system.
ATM had previously requested a commission of inquiry into the rand manipulation case from President Cyril Ramaphosa, highlighting the detrimental effects on South African citizens, especially the most vulnerable.
Wesbank has since refuted the allegations of discrimination against customers based on race.