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News

ANCWL: Women and children suffer as banks collude against Oakbay

Women and children would be the “victims” of the “colluding tactics of financial institutions” who are refusing to deal with Oakbay Investments‚ the African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) said on Friday.

The league stressed that it is not the “spokesperson” of the Gupta-linked group‚ but was concerned about the “livelihood of dependents of the workers of the company who are in the main unemployed women and children whose husbands/fathers/guardians income security is threatened”.

“Therefore the ANCWL will not be on the sidelines to watch the financial monopolies waging cold-war against SA women and children‚” ANCWL secretary Meokgo Matuba said.

Oakbay Investments CEO Nazeem Howa had‚ in a leaked letter to staff last week‚ said: “The closure of our bank accounts has made it virtually impossible to continue to do business in South Africa. Without bank accounts we may find ourselves in a position where we are unable to pay you‚ our valued employees”.

Howa said the decision of the “Gupta family to step down from all executive and non-executive positions” in the group would “end the campaign against Oakbay and save all of our jobs”. To counter the banks’ “collusion strategy”‚ the league called on its “members who are working in these financial institutions to work through their labour unions to engage the Congress of South African Trade Unions and propose a total shutdown of these”.

Matuba said it also wanted the Post Bank to be granted “a full license to operate”‚ and would urge the African National Congress to move all “government and state-owned enterprise bank accounts” to it.

The league singled out FNB‚ as it had “not yet forgotten that they orchestrated an attack on the ANC and government as well as acting in a ‘treasonous’ manner by posting online videos that fed into the opposition narrative that seeks to project the ANC and its government in a negative manner”.

In 2013‚ the bank pulled advertisements in its “FNB: You Can Help”‚ which featured children in school uniforms calling for‚ among other things‚ an end to corruption and people voting for the “same government” while hoping for change. The ANC and its partners at the time interpreted this as an attack on the party and the government‚ but‚ instead of calling for people and government to close accounts with FNB‚ the ANC took a decision to accept the apology from the bank.