WATCH: Thousands take part in Racist Banks Must Fall protest in Sandton
Sandton – Civil society flexed its muscles against racist banks in a protest outside the Rand Merchant Bank in Sandton, with around 6 000 people in attendance.
The protest saw different civic organisations coming together and singing against structural financial racism and bank bullying, which included the EFF, Sanco, ANC MKMVA and Cosas.
Members of the public 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 Reserve Bank and a former minister. Slogans and chants, such as “FNB Must Fall”, reverberated all over Friedman Drive.
The banks were also challenged for not freezing the accounts of racist whites such as former ministers of apartheid South Africa. The different groups protesting handed over a single memorandum as a sign of a united struggle.
MKMVA treasurer-general Des van Rooyen said this event should not be a once-off, urging more people to mobilise.
“This event we have today is long overdue. 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 by the financial sector.
“We call for the nationalisation of the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb),” said the Black Finance and Banking Association of South Africa’s Makhosini Kharodi.
Transform SA president Adil Nchabeleng said they want to put an end to corruption 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.
The Public Service Commercial Union’s Tahir Maepa said the protests are not about individual political parties but about 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.
Gugulethu Maqetuka, acting communications head at ABSA, and Arkash Ramsawak, risk manager for FNB, received and signed the memorandum on behalf of the companies.
There was heavy police presence at the protest, with traffic having to be diverted on Friedman Drive.
Meanwhile, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg has dismissed an urgent application by AYO Solutions Technologies to interdict FNB from closing its bank account pending an application to set aside its decision.
The court found that the application lacked urgency and then struck it from the roll with costs. FNB served Ayo with a two-month notice of termination of banking facilities on March 2.
In papers filed in court, AYO CEO Howard Plaaties asked that the court grant an interdict to restrain FNB from closing Ayo banking facilities and interdict it from unilaterally limiting the manner in which AYO may operate its banking facilities.
The part B of application was to declare the termination clauses in the AYO banking agreement to be unconstitutional and unlawful.
It wanted to develop a common law rule to declare unjust termination of a banker-client relationship forthwith subject only to reasonable notice unjust.
“The core issue in this application is whether the respondent is entitled to take a unilateral decision to close the bank account of the applicant, do so on 61 days’ notice to the applicant and do so in the absence of good cause,” Plaatjies said in a founding affidavit.
He said the consequence of AYO not having transactional banking arrangement in place without any facilities being provided put significant limitations on AYO and would ultimately lead to AYO not being able to operate.
However, FNB’s Frederik Basson complained that they were given five days to file an answering affidavit.