BANK­ING ON IG­NO­RANCE

Tes­ti­mony that se­nior ANC lead­ers sug­gested the Gup­tas’ ac­counts were closed ‘on in­struc­tions from Stel­len­bosch’ re­veals so much

Financial Mail - - EDITOR’S NOTE -

The tes­ti­mony by the banks at the state cap­ture inquiry this week pro­vides sear­ing ev­i­dence — not that more was needed — of just how clue­less many of the politi­cians ac­tu­ally are about the re­al­i­ties of “white monopoly cap­i­tal”. On Mon­day, Stan­dard Bank’s for­mer head of com­pli­ance Ian Sin­ton tes­ti­fied about how the bank was ca­joled, bul­lied and threat­ened by the top brass of the rul­ing ANC — all for a sin­gle fam­ily, the Gup­tas.

Like many of the rev­e­la­tions, we al­ready knew the bare out­line of the story. But the bank’s tes­ti­mony re­veals the tech­ni­colour of the ANC’S com­plic­ity.

On April 21 2016, Sim Tsha­bal­ala and Sin­ton were sum­moned to meet the ANC’S then sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe, his deputy Jessie Duarte and eco­nomic pol­icy head Enoch Godong­wana.

As it started, Tsha­bal­ala said he couldn’t say any­thing about in­di­vid­ual clients. But the bank said it would ex­plain poli­cies around “ac­count clos­ing gen­er­ally”. The ANC seemed to ac­cept this — though it end­ing up ask­ing about the Gupta ac­counts any­way.

“We were asked to com­ment on the per­cep­tion that we were part of white monopoly cap­i­tal (WMC) op­press­ing black busi­ness,” said Sin­ton. “We were asked to com­ment on re­ports that we were tak­ing in­struc­tions from Stel­len­bosch in clos­ing ac­counts.”

It was, said Sin­ton, “the first time I saw my boss‚ Sim Tsha­bal­ala‚ get re­ally an­gry”.

This il­lus­trates two points. First, it shows that as much as the ANC’S Zizi Kodwa claims his party isn’t on trial, the tes­ti­mony begs to dif­fer. It has shown how the party went out to bat, fu­ri­ously, for the fam­ily.

The bankers’ tes­ti­mony de­posits de­ploy­ees of the rul­ing party at the cen­tre of claims that the state was bent to the will of one fam­ily

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