Absa must just pay back the money

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Dr Thabisi Hoeane

THE STAND-OFF be­tween Absa and other so­ci­etal for­ma­tions over the fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits it im­prop­erly re­ceived dur­ing apartheid once more un­der­lines how the pow­er­ful in so­ci­eties such as South Africa con­tinue to be treated with kid gloves at the ex­pense of us all.

The fact of the mat­ter is that Absa has been caught out and must do the re­spon­si­ble thing and pay back this money.

This is no less as in such “lib­eral democ­ra­cies” as South Africa, much is made of The Laws of Suc­ces­sion which de­cree: if you take over an en­tity, you in­herit all the bad and good that comes with this in­her­i­tance.

Thus Absa clearly ben­e­fited from a shady deal be­tween Bankorp and the apartheid gov­ern­ment.

This is why af­ter 1994, the ANC gov­ern­ment had to com­ply with that heinous in­junc­tion by lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional cap­i­tal that it had to re­pay the apartheid debt.

Its plea that it would be un­fair to be forced to do this on moral grounds was res­o­lutely re­buffed. It was sim­ply told “we lent the apartheid gov­ern­ment money and you have taken over that gov­ern­ment, and we don’t care about moral­ity; we want our money back”.

Thus, why should Absa be treated any dif­fer­ently?

And this sub­tle move to try to le­git­imise this wrong by not­ing that the Man­dela gov­ern­ment and the of­fi­cials who were sup­posed to have pur­sued Absa to re­pay this money did not do so must be ex­posed for the non­sense it is. This mat­ter is not about what Man­dela and his gov­ern­ment did or did not do about this mat­ter; it is sim­ply that Absa , as a pri­vate en­tity, im­prop­erly ben­e­fited from state funds.

And where one may ask, are the plethora of “ac­count­abil­ity” or­gan­i­sa­tions that popped all over the place af­ter 1994 like wild mush­rooms, osten­si­bly to “safe­guard democ­racy and in­stil ethics in so­ci­ety?”

Why have they sud­denly gone to ground on this mat­ter of Absa?

In­deed, if South Africa is to up­root all the evils, in­clud­ing cor­rup­tion, that are ev­i­dent in the post 1994 era, the coun­try can­not af­ford to pre­tend that pre-1994 shenani­gans can be swept under the car­pet.

It just does not make sense to ap­ply dif­fer­ent stan­dards when we rightly con­demn the wrongs which are hap­pen­ing now and turn a blind eye when ev­i­dence is pre­sented of pre1994 skul­dug­gery.

WRITE TO US You take over an en­tity you in­herit both bad, good

Pre­to­ria East

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