Wednesday, October 30, 2013

SACP Targets Banks in Red October Campaign

SACP Gauteng march to Standard Bank and Banking Council of SA successful

29 October 2013, Johannesburg

The South African Communist Party (SACP) Gauteng Province staged a successful Red October Campaign march to the Standard Bank of South Africa and the Banking Council of South Africa.

The march was attended by SACP members, supporters and communities from across Gauteng affected by illegal evictions, housing and service delivery related challenges and devious, speculative and reckless banking practices.

The SACP submitted the following memorandum.

Memorandum of demands delivered to the Banking Council of South Africa

SACP Gauteng province, as part of the 2013-2014 annual Red October Campaign declared by the 13th National Congress Central Committee (CC) to re-focus on its historic and popular Financial Sector Campaign, present through this revolutionary, militant and peaceful protest action a list of key demands for your urgent attention and speedy resolution.

We strongly believe that this set of demands are critical, profound and strategic to the ultimate and fundamental transformation of class and power relations of this key sector of our capitalist economy currently dominated, controlled and benefiting forces historically linked to international and local finance monopoly capital and their Imperialist stooges.

We wish to take this opportunity to strongly condemn the undeniable truth that the banking and financial sector that you supposedly regulate, whilst exercising monopoly power over our entire economy through massive trillions of financial resources, remains to date the most racially backward and conservative sector of our economy.

Of more concern to us is that this distortion and deliberate act to undermine our 1994 democratic political advance is executed by mere transactional intermediaries whose real and true value in the economy remains controversial and debatable. This fact is clear from the ownership (shareholding), management and leadership, and overall employment patterns of the banking and financial sector.

In relation to this fact, we also strongly condemn your failure to prevail over Bank’s racially biased retrenchments, employment practices such as labour brokering, short term contracts and casualization against mainly female, African and Black workers especially during mergers and acquisition by international monopoly finance capital that is dominating this sector.

We further take this opportunity to strongly condemn the highly insensitive, arrogant and Apartheid prone banking and financial sector, and your dismal and lethargic consistent failure to properly regulate and reconfigure the banking sector to be in line with our hard worn national liberation and freedom that we proudly cherish.

We further condemn the Banking Council for its dereliction of duty and complete neglect to prevail over the simple and basic meeting of Banking Charter targets which is critical to ensure that Banks do not continue to exist parallel to our democratic dispensation, and pose a real risk of right-wing deviation from core values and ethos of our constitutional democracy.

We further believe that the nature and character of the current accumulation regime of unprotected, reckless and dangerous lending to various class forces in our country, and the persistent failure to play a meaningful role in national development, especially uplifting of poor working class and poor areas is part of the same logic of preserving and reproducing historic, class, racial and gender relations in our country.

It is in this context that we declare that the banking and financial sector and your regulatory role or lack thereof, constitute a strategic terrain of class and national struggle that we dedicate and commit to consistently fight moving forward.

We firmly believe that this sector is well positioned as a target for such struggles as it currently constitute the highest level of concentration of class, racial and gender power contradictions in our country during this phase of our revolution and national democracy.

We therefore wish to state and present the following list of specific demands, that:

That the Council tightly and strictly regulate the housing property market and the role of Banks and financial institutions in this highly profit making “Ponzi” scheme that exploit many families and households through the unregulated bank housing repossessions and resale.

Based on our experiences of the colluding activities of Banks with Johannesburg Housing Company (JHC) in eviction transactions and sheer exploitation of the working class and poor in what we believe is the biggest housing scandal post April 1994, we believe the Council must prevail over lawlessness of unscrupulous Banks’s and property dealers in housing and property market to protect our people, the working class and poor.

The Banking Council must effectively and decisively regulate the banking sector to meet set targets and standards for transformation and profound ownership change as suggested by the Charter, and to demonstrate consistent progress to change employment trends, leadership and management echelons of the sector.

Develop clear policies and guidelines for the sector and set standards and decisive targets to sustain and improve progressive employment and working conditions of workers, especially historically oppressed African and Black, and female workers in particular.

Develop and initiate policies, guidelines and clear national development targets for the sector, with a clear and deliberate bias for working class and poor areas, and publish such data and information about planned national development interventions, targets and their achievements annually.

Develop, initiate and introduce tight and decisive regulations and control measures to protect historically oppressed, working class families and women led households against indiscriminate repossessions, liquidations and evictions and resale of houses by banks.

This we base on our practical experience where banks played the most destructive and colluding role, for example with DA controlled Mid-Vaal Municipality that sought to displace mainly African and Black people out of Mid-Vaal area given the manner in which their houses were repossessed and resold by banks. Some of these practices were exposed by the Office of the Public Protector in their investigations of the activities of the Midvaal Municipality.

We therefore believe as you can clearly see from this highly unregulated and extremely unethical housing repossessions and resale practices, that Banks accumulate massive profits at the expense of destruction and destabilisation of families and households with severe damage to lives of the disabled, elderly, children and women.

Tightly regulate, monitor and enforce policy, including criminal action against unprotected lending by banks and Mashonisa schemes (Loan Sharks) who grant credit known as NINJA Loans (No Income, No Job or Assets) thus plunging many working class and poor families into devastating debts.

We believe that failure to properly regulate reckless and unprotected lending by banks and Loan Sharks contribute directly to many social and political problems that finally land on Government’s door. As you may be aware, amongst many problems that led to violent protests in the Rustenburg Platinum Belt and Marikina was the pressure exerted on workers by this unregulated and uncontrolled Loan Sharks.

We hope to hear from you outlining a programme and strategy for the fundamental and strategic, efficient and effective transformation of the financial and banking sector.

We give you 21 working days to respond to this demands, including a process of consultation on how you intend resolving issues contained in this memorandum.

Delivered and signed on behalf the SACP Gauteng Province


Received and Signed on Behalf of the Banking Council by

Memorandum submitted to Standard Bank of South Africa

SACP Gauteng, takes the opportunity of the 2013 Annual Red October Campaign to protest against a set of serious allegations levelled against Standard Bank’s sheer profiteering and massive accumulation of financial benefits from its perceived collusion with its client, Johannesburg Housing Company, a right-wing capitalist housing monopoly in the inner city of Johannesburg.

JHC stand accused of forcefully evicting working class and poor families in the middle of an icy cold winter, with severe damage inflicted on households of vulnerable groups such as women, children, people with disability and the elderly from a social housing scheme known as Newtown Housing Village.

The Newtown Housing Village is a housing scheme that was initiated by the democratic government just few years after the 1994 first democratic elections as a pilot to test the viability of using cooperatives to provide low cost and social housing to the working class and poor.

The pilot was funded by certain progressive Scandinavian governments with our democratic government providing funding through the housing subsidy and provision of massive track of land to the Cooperative known as the Newtown Housing Cooperative.

This progressive and highly revolutionary social intervention was allegedly looted through a series of highly controversial and suspicious activities that finally led to the liquidation, auction and acquisition of this valuable property of the working class by the JHC, with massive financial benefits accruing to JHC’s hosting Bank, allegedly Standard Bank.

It is in this context that SACP Gauteng presents the following set of alleged activities that translate into financial benefits for Standard Bank from its perceived or real relationship with JHC:

JHC received financial backing and support to acquire government sponsored land meant for the working class and poor and constructed a massive housing scheme in 1998/99 known as Car Gardens. According to JHC’s 1998 Annual Report Carr Gardens was conceptualised and approved in 1998.

Although at this point it is not clear how did JHC acquire the piece of government land on which Carr Gardens was built known only as Erf No 4507, and also based on information contained in the only existing Deed of Transfer of 2001 of the said ERF, it is clear that the said Deed of Transfer does not mention JHC.

We however believe that whatever the allegations on the land acquisition process, the credit granting Bank that allegedly supported JHC to acquire the land reaped massive profits from monthly interest.

JHC occupants pay huge monthly rentals to Standard Bank, and this include the occupants of Carr Gardens. Carr Gardens is a property of JHC that was approved as stated in its 1998 Annual Report by its Board, then chaired by a well-known political figure linked to the 1996 Class Project, and constructed at the same time and on the same piece of government land with the now liquidated Newtown Housing Village recently bought through controversial public auction by JHC.

In other words, JHC finally bought with the financial support of the Bank and following controversial liquidation and public auction of its neighbouring property on same government land, the Newtown Housing Village.

It is our view that the Bank that allegedly financed the auction transaction of R28 Million, the highly ridiculous price of a property apparently estimated at R250 million has financially benefited through interest on a credit facility provided to JHC.

That by mere collusion with JHC, the Bank is allegedly having a hand and is party to the destruction of family lives in a desperate pursuit of profits resulting in the destruction of family life affecting more than 2000 families and misplacing more than 39 school children.

It is in this context that we demand the following:

That you respond and clarify the Banks role in each of the above allegations, and including the profits the Bank made from the controversial transactions of JHC.

Immediately reverse and cancel all contractual arrangements with JHC on the financial and or any support you provided in support of the “eviction transaction” that saw JHC buy and or acquire Newtown Housing Village at a ridiculous price of R28 Million.

That following your immoral collusion with JHC, you publicly apologise to the families and households that were destroyed by your support of the “ eviction transaction ” and that you proactively engage with the evicted residents of Newtown Housing Village on the process that may restore and stabilise their most valued family life.

That moving forward, you carefully and strictly evaluate the negative impact and consequences of your financial backing to activities and transactions of controversial clients such as JHC whilst the Banking Council is considering regulations and policies for housing evictions, repossessions and resale.

You are given 14 days to respond to this demands, and kindly take note that the SACP will be staging more pickets and protests actions depending on the nature of your response to this memorandum.
Handed over and signed on behalf of the SACP by:

Received and signed on behalf of Standard Bank by:

Issued on behalf of the SACP Gauteng Province


Mamabolo Jacob, Provincial Secretary: 082 884 1868

Lucian Segami, Provincial Spokesperson: 079 522 0098

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