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