NFP calls for a run on Standard Bank in light of Sekunjalo account closure matter

The court will deliver its judgement on Friday. Photo: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)

The court will deliver its judgement on Friday. Photo: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Sep 13, 2023


The National Freedom Party (NFP) has strongly condemned the recent decision by Standard Bank to terminate the bank accounts of Independent Media and the 30 other companies related to the Sekunjalo Group.

This comes after Standard Bank and the Sekunjalo Group appeared in the Equality Court sitting at the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

The Sekunjalo Group has applied for an urgent interim interdict from the court to prevent the closures of the bank accounts by Standard Bank on Friday.

Judgment in this matter is expected to be handed down on Friday.

NFP leader in Parliament, Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam said the alarming move, which threatens media freedom and the livelihoods of countless South Africans has raised concerns about political interference in the diversity of opinion in the press.

“Standard Bank's decision jeopardises not only the principles of media freedom and freedom of speech but also the economic stability of these businesses and their employees,” he said.

“It is evident that there is a bigger agenda at play here. There is a concerted effort to shut down or cripple media houses who ideologically don’t align to the ‘dominant’ narrative.“

Shaik Emam said the NFP firmly stands with the Sekunjalo Group in opposing this infringement on media independence and the suppression of diverse voices in the press.

“Their attempt to invoke the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (Fica) as a justification for closure is weak. This move raises questions about their motives and suggests that it may be operating under political pressure,” Shaik Emam said.

“If Standard Bank's actions are allowed to proceed unchecked, it would set a dangerous precedent for any individual or entity holding a bank account. This could lead to a chilling effect on media organisations' ability to report fearlessly and independently, undermining the very foundations of our democracy.”

The party said it believed this move by Standard Bank is simply not an assault on a media institution but an assault on the very foundations of democracy and it implored the banking institution to reassess its course of actions and further called for transparency in this matter.

“If they refuse to withdraw this ridiculous decision, then we have no choice but to call on South Africans to close their Standard Bank accounts and shift to banks who are committed to press freedom and democracy,” Shaik Emam said.

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