It’s surprising how the youth league of the ruling African National Congress (ANCYL) stormed an Absa branch in Durban on Thursday demanding that the bank pays back all it allegedly owes the country from the apartheid era.
Over a hundred ANCYL members matched into Absa’s branch on Anton Lembede (formerly Smith) Street in the Durban CBD on Thursday, giving the bank an ultimatum of three weeks to start paying back the R2.25-billion bailout it received from the apartheid government.
The march against Absa was initiated after a leaked draft report from the Public Protector stated that the bank owes the country millions of bailout fund it received from the apartheid government.
Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s leaked draft report found that billions of payments made to the Bankorp group of banks – which was later acquired by Absa – were irregular, and ordered that the money be paid back into the fiscus.
Though the report has been argued to be wrongly understood, South Africans alongside opposition parties have taken on Absa ordering it to begin paying back the money.
“We are here today to ask for the money that was stolen by Absa. Our plan is to disrupt Absa and occupy [it] until such time as the public coffers they have stolen are returned to government‚” said Thinta Cibane‚ ANCYL eThekwini regional secretary.
“The picket is part of a national call for action against Absa in order to force it to pay back the money it looted from our people,” he added as the youths chanted struggle songs which spilled into the street and partially obstructed traffic.
Several SAPS members kept a close eye on the protesters which were accompanied by a public address system raised on a bakkie. The situation later calmed down and the group dispersed, leaving strong “pay back” message with the firm even as similar actions are expected in economic hubs across the country.
While the ANCYL takes to the street in reaction against Absa, the EFF dismissed the campaign as “nonsense“, saying the party will be implementing its own plans for the bank.
Speaking during a media briefing following an EFF leadership plenum at the weekend, the EFF leader, Julius Malema aid the “Absa nonsense is not legit and I will not be told by opposition of the EFF how to act
“We will hold Absa accountable through our own terms and at our own time. The people calling for the occupation of Absa and pay back the money are on the Gupta payroll,” he said.