ANCYL protests at Absa branch
THE ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal has given Absa an ultimatum of three weeks to start paying back the R2.25 billion bailout it received from the apartheid government.
Leaders of the league in KZN led a large group of their supporters in a protest at the bank’s branch in Anton Lembede Street in the Durban CBD yesterday.
The protesters briefly entered the bank’s premises, toyi-toying inside while holding up banknotes and shouting “Sifuni’mali yethi” – we want our money.
Police officers also entered the premises but did not attempt to remove the protesters.
After the protesters moved out of the building, they blocked the entrance while holding pamphlets that lashed out at the bank and former public protector Thuli Madonsela.
During the protest, which lasted for about four hours, branch operations came to halt as customers were blocked from entering, and those who were trying to use the ATMs were shouted at.
ANCYL provincial secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo said the bank would suffer indefinite disruptions if it did not pay back the money. He gave Absa options of paying back the money in instalments.
“If they do not start paying the first instalment on February 15, we will occupy every building of Absa on the important (pay) days – 15th, 25th and the last day of the month,” he said.
There was also picketing outside the Absa branches in Ixopo.
The South African Reserve Bank gave R300 million bailout to Bankorp in 1985 and 1986 when it was in financial trouble, with a promise to pay it back.
Absa is now being implicated in the matter as it bought Bankorp in 1992. The loan had never been paid back, and according to a leaked public protector preliminary report, the bank has to pay back R2.25bn to the state.
Sabelo called on KZN Premier Willies Mchunu to remove all provincial government accounts from Absa, which he labelled as “devil young people’s money”.
“We cannot continue working with criminals who stole the money of poor people,” Sabelo said.
He added that the government should move its accounts to Ithala Bank, and that the South African Reserve Bank should move with speed in granting Ithala a full operational licence.
“We also call upon all municipalities that are banking with Absa to move their accounts to Ithala Bank,” he said.
KZN Absa regional executive for customer network Rajiv Singh said he would pass the league’s demands on to the bank’s national authorities.
“We will respond in due course. The other is a separate matter, and the bank is co-operating with the public protector,” he said.
CALLING FOR BOYCOTT: A member of the ANCYL protests in front of an Absa bank in Durban against the bank allegedly benefiting from an apartheid-era bailout.