The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is worried that every strategic sector of SA economy does not belong to “us”. Thus, the congress decided to trouble ABSA which to them, is the symbol of all those with inherited privileges and ill-gotten gains.
COSATU will be marching to ABSA offices today to present a memorandum of demands. The demands follow the bank’s involvement in some controversial activities which according to COSATU’s believe, are plaguing SA economy.
From our gatherings, the march will start at Johannesburg City Hall from 13H0 to ABSA Head Office.
To COSATU, ABSA is a symbol of all those with inherited privileges and ill-gotten gains.
The Congress pointed-out that the Public Protector’s report recommended that ABSA pay back R2.25-billion for the unlawful apartheid-era bailout that continued even after transition to democracy.
Also, it was identified that the commission investigating a case of price-fixing involving the Rand found that 17 banks including Investec Ltd, ABSA and Standard Bank had a general agreement to collude in relation to currency trading involving US Dollar/Rand currency pair.
Adding that members of retirement funds lost billions of rands of their assets through the manipulation of SA currency, COSATU declared thus:
“COSATU is worried that every strategic sector of our economy does not belong to us. The financial sector (banking and insurance) is a monopoly industry dominated by 4 large privately owned banks (ABSA, Nedbank, FNB and Standard Bank), two of which have significant foreign ownership.
Insurance and re-insurance is dominated by Mutual and Federal, Old Mutual, Sanlam, Chartis, Santam, Swiss Re-insurance, Africa Re-insurance, Munich Re-insurance, Chartis, etc. ABSA is 56% foreign-owned whilst Standard Bank is at least 40% foreign-owned. The South African Reserve Bank is also privately owned and has foreign ownership too.
Every day we live with the excruciating pain of looking at the economy of our country being squandered by both foreign and domestic capital when the country is engulfed by racial inequality, poverty and unemployment.”
The sentiment above, is the corruption that has left the country with no resources to fund free education, COSATU proclaimed.
“Corruption in the private sector has got higher implications because of its ability to affect the whole economy and to bring the economy to its knees.
“Money today is still being taken out of the country by multinationals through base erosion and profit shifting and the rich take their wealth to offshore trusts,” added the congress.
As such, COSATU march to ABSA is to ensure that the banks are held liable for their actions. We are marching to demand accountability. It is a fight we will pursue to ensure radical economic transformation.