Cape Town - SCORES of students aligned to the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) demonstrated in front of banking institutions FNB and ABSA in Cape Town on Friday.
The protesting students – holding aloft placards saying “Racist Banks Must Fall” – started their demonstration outside FNB at about midday and then moved to the nearby ABSA.
Cosas national treasurer Masimbonge Sihlahla said they embarked on the action to display their unhappiness with the banks’ attitude in closing down accounts of progressive businesses and purging black executives.
The action was prompted by this week’s stepping down of Absa chief executive Daniel Mminele from his position 15 months into the job.
Cosas was also protesting against the decision of FNB to close down the accounts of AYO Technologies without providing reasons, a move that prompted the JSE-listed company to institute legal action.
Last year, ABSA had also terminated banking facilities of JSE- listed African Equity Empowerment Investment and its subsidiaries, which included AYO Technologies Solutions, among others.
SIhlahla said they noted with concern the reactionary moves taken by ABSA and FNB.
“Our campaign is on-going and it does not end here. We will hold more demonstrations and we are also mobilising nationwide and in the provinces to say enough is enough,” he said.
FNB and ABSA have been approached for comment and asked that questions be sent via email. At the time of publishing, they ha not responded. This story will be updated later.
Lee-Anne van Zyl, CEO of FNB Points of Presence, confirmed that a small number of individuals attempted to illegally disrupt services at one of its branches in Cape Town.
“We are not aware of the motive for the incident; however, we condemn this criminal act in the strongest terms. The matter has been reported to law enforcement authorities and the impacted branch has resumed normal operations,” Van Zyl said.
“We apologise to impacted customers for any inconvenience caused by the incident,” she said.
ABSA spokesperson Phumza Macanda said: “We are aware that a group of people gathered at our Adderley Street branch for a demonstration but since we were not officially notified about the action or received a memo from the group, we are not clear about what it was about. If and when we are notified about a planned action, we will respond accordingly.”