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SA banking collusion charges – why now?

SA banking collusion charges – why now?

The timing of the Competition Commission’s price-fixing case involving 17 banks seems suspicious, according to the Democratic Alliance.

The Commission on Wednesday referred a collusion case to the tribunal for prosecution against the banks, including three of South Africa’s big banks. “The DA takes note of the Competition Commission’s referral of the matter to the Tribunal and will wait for the law to take its course,” said DA MP and shadow minister of economic development Michael Cardo.

“But the timing of the announcement does seem a little suspicious, coming hot on the heels of [President Jacob] Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), in which he made it clear that the competition authorities would be used as one of the main tools of ‘radical economic transformation’ going forward,” he said.

When delivering his SONA, Zuma said one of the ways in which government will enforce broader economic participation is to draft new legislation to counter economic concentration. Zuma said a small grouping still controls most of the market. “During this year, the Department of Economic Development will bring legislation to Cabinet that will seek to amend the Competition Act to address the need to have a more inclusive economy and to de-concentrate the high levels of ownership and control we see in many sectors.”

He acknowledged that South Africa’s competition authorities have done excellent work to uncover cartels and punish them for breaking the law.

“Last year I signed into law a provision to criminalise cartels and collusion and it came into effect on 1 May. It carries jail sentences of up to ten years. We are now stepping up our actions to deal with the other challenges, namely economic concentration.

“In this way we seek to open up the economy to new players giving black South Africans opportunities and make it more dynamic, competitive and inclusive. This is our vision of radical economic transformation.” Last week Zuma also blamed South Africa’s top four banks for controlling the economy.

“If you have got four banks – major ones – and they take everything; they don’t want you to do anything,” he said on SABC’s Morning Live, which is sponsored by Gupta-owned newspaper, The New Age.

Zuma said banks often treated poor black people unfairly due to their lack of collateral. “The time has come: we should be able to deal with the economy at a fair level,” he said.

The top four banks are Absa, Standard Bank, FNB and Nedbank. The three banks mentioned in the latest collusion case are Investec, Standard Bank and Absa.

“There’s a clique in Cabinet that clearly wants to do battle with the banks – without any regard for economic fallout – and I hope this latest move doesn’t form part of that trend,” said Cardo.


Read: 3 South African banks face massive fines for price-fixing and collusion

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  • Devon Naidoo

    Don’t let the timing of the case deflect our attention from the real issue here which is thieving. It’s a shame blue chip corporations stoop so low and engage in such criminal activities. Corruption is endemic is all societies.

    • 小杜 (xiao du)

      Timing is of course suspicious.

      – It was news in 2015. Google it.
      – The alleged crimes happened oversea’s.
      – SARB wasn’t too bothered about it at the time.

      So now it gets brought up again immediately post SONA,
      at a time when the Gupta’s are looking for any ammunition they can use against the “evil banks” ™.

      Strange co-incidence indeed…

    • siyabonga mbonambi

      Devin Naidoo i agree with you the media has kept this under wraps only telling us how corrupt is ANC but now look at ABSA on another scandal and the other banks so who is fooling who here all major stakeholders have sold our country to the highest bidder those who blame the timing shows how one sided they are no one ever question the timing when government is exposed as corrupt why now do they pity the banks , DA will always oppose and argue even whats needs no justification these banks named are criminals just like JZ .

    • Thabi Nzuza

      Its only the blind who cannot see that this is a deliberate attack on the banks for shutting Gupta accounts doesn’t need a rock scientist really!

  • ndaba

    this is too convenient and that is why I am so suspicious. Perhaps he is singing for his supper from the Gooptas.

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