How FNB robbed Black Bondholders of R3bn and ended in the Equality Court

By Pinky Khoabane


First National Bank (formerly Saambou) has for several years ripped-off Black bondholders in the low income housing market by manipulating interest rates. The financial institution is now facing legal action in Equality Courts in the Western Cape and Gauteng.

The complainants, thanks to the assistance of Emerald van Zyl, a financial investigating consultant, have lodged cases in the Equality Courts in the Western Cape and the Gauteng. The hearing in the Western Cape has been postponed to 1st March 2017 while the documents filed in the North Gauteng and South Gauteng High Courts have disappeared.

A total of 23000 complainants have filed cases in the Western Cape against FNB for discriminating against them by denying them the benefits of interest rate decreases and abusing the Usury Act. The Act was amended in 1990 to provide for the admittance of initiation fees and monthly administration fees on housing loans as a way of preventing the use of interest rate fluctuations as a means of discriminating against smaller loans in the black low cost housing sector.

Van Zyl has analysed internal documentation and decisions made by Saambou which clearly show a series of instructions denying his clients the benefits of interest rate cuts. “On 1 July 1996 the basic rate decreased with 1%. The complainants did not qualify for the decrease,” court papers read. Over a period of three years thereafter, there were instructions within the bank which clearly excluded the low cost bond holders from the benefits of rate cuts. With each cut, high cost housing clients would receive letters of the rate decrease and their latest interest rates. The low cost housing clients on the other hand would not receive the letter or the decrease or increase.

Van Zyl has calculated that over R3bn is owed to these poor people as a result of FNB’s discriminatory action. In a letter to then Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus, the investigator outlines how three of the complainants were discriminated against as an example of the bank’s modus operandi, the web of sabotage in bringing the cases to the Equality Court with respect to access to their bank statements and the unwillingness of the banking ombudsman to pro-actively intervene in the matter. The investigator pleads: “Mrs Marcus, I am making a serious appeal to you as Governor of the South African Reserve Bank to intervene with immediate effect, as this action by the prejudice(d) communities will not only effect (affect) FNB, but the entire South African banking industry.”

Racist classifications and discrimination

One of the complainants, Maria Magdalena Pietersen, bought her house in July 1995 for R61 000. The bank classified clients according to race and her loan had the internal code of PRO 86 which represented “black low cost housing,” her affidavit reads. By 30 June 2003, Pietersen was paying 4% higher than white bond holders due to the discriminatory practices of the bank.

By 31 January 2014, her debt was R96 173,02 instead of being in credit for R14 176,05 according to Van Zyl’s calculation. “The difference of R108 349.07 represents the total damages suffered by Complainant as a result of the unfair discrimination,” her declaration continues.

Despite having effectively paid-off her house and the bank owing her money, Van Zyl has had to stop the sale in execution of her house three times.

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  1. this issue is depressing.i cant imagine people enjoying to see other people suffering for ever through their evil deeds.

  2. Interesting articles indeed. PK, may you live forever to show the upcoming journalist what journalism is all about. Thank you once more!
    Will you be gunning for the Public Protector post in future?? just asking….

  3. PK,

    I would like to get clarity :

    Re ‘phrases’ like “.. white monopoly capitalists ..” and “Afrikaner Mafia gang” – they are not really the same, although they do ‘overlap’ to some degree. Right.

    My reference to “these people” as being an “Afrikaner Mafia gang” should really include the word “Nationinalist”. To me they were, they still are, “Afrikaner Nationalist Mafia Gang Members”.

    “Mafia” in known as being a word refering to ‘Gangsters’ (Tough CROOKS CHEATS THIEVES).

    “Nationalists” is known as being a word refering to ‘Racists’ (A group sticking together – like the BROEDERBONDERS under Apartheid. Right)

    Just wanted to clear that up. If the People know what is ‘going on’, then the Pepole can deal with it accordingly. Right.

    So, in this Case of Mr. Emerald van Zyl and Mrs. Maria Magdalena Pietersen coming up in the Equality Court in Cape Town I see both the “Mafia” element present; and I see the “Nationalist” element too. Do you agree ?

    Lord Bless, love Michael (heart).

  4. Yes PK; I apologise to Mr. John Duncan. I see (reading my own comment to John again) and reading your response back to me PK, that I did ‘come down hard’ on John. Sorry John.

    I think I ‘got carried away’. It is because of my Testimony, my Witness Re 31 Police Cases that I have opened over the years against this very same Mr. Rupert and his ‘friends’ “GT” “LL” “PK” and their Auditors PWCI and DTT and others – where I GOT NOWHERE.

    Also, being Assaulted and carried out before an AGM of FirstRand Limited had even started has left me very angry; I do admit. Mr. van Zyl was with me at the AGM. I took him to attend the AGM. I know Mr. van Zyl very well. I am SO PLEASED that he is about to take FNb and their racist overcharging against the poor so-called ‘black’, so-called ‘coloured’ and Indain into the Equality Court in Cape Town in March 2017. Hallelujah !

    Lord Bless, love Michael (heart).

    1. Michael, the difference between me and Katie and Kyle Findlay is that I dont go out and besmirch the names of those I disagree with. Katie and Kyle are defenders of white monopoly capitalists, what you call Afrikaner Mafia gang.
      The article exposes their anti-Zuma stance to which they are entitled. And obviously the anti-Zuma campaign has grown legs in the fact that the Guptas happen to be co-shareholders with his son.
      Katie and Kyle Findlay have links to companies sponsored by Rupert. That also is their democratic right.
      But to use “science” to manufacture findings which seek to vilify our work here at UnCensored is unacceptable.
      We shall defend our integrity with everything except lies.



  5. PK; I really can not get the point being made by Mr. John Duncan.

    He seems to be saying that to him all that matters is that the the ‘poor’ are being ROBBED by this bank (FNb) ? (and probably by ALL the banks). Is that correct PK ?

    The FACT is that the-whole-wide-World KNOWS that the so-called ‘black’; the so-called ‘coloured’ and the Indians in South Africa are poor ! Come on John. Mr. Rupert and his “Afrikaner Mafia gang” are 100% aware EXACTLY who they were STEALING from (and they still are STEALING from them !!!!)- they are knowingly STEALING from the the so-called ‘blacks’; the so-called ‘colourds’; the Indians. Simple. That is pure Evil racism hey John.

    If that is NOT RACIST tell me what is John ! I would go so far as to say this :

    I believe that the THEFT that Mr. Van Zyl has so Bravely, Courageously brought to Court will be found by the Honourable Judge to be Intentionally Racially Motivated by “Rupert and his Afrikaner Mafia gang” which include top “gang members” like MULTI-BILLIONAIRES “GT” Ferreira; “LL” Dipenaar; “PK” Harris (please .. NO RELATION of mine hey!) and of course then there is the ‘king-pin’ Mr. Johann Rupert – the Richest man in South Africa last year, or the year before. So now we know where these FAT CATS racists have made their money – STEALING from the poor so-called ‘blacks’; ‘coloureds’ and Indians. Right.

    Now, John, this Mr. Rupert is the same Mr. Rupert who has recently had Criminal Charges laid against him – together with some other very Important South Africans – running to BILLIONS of RAND STOLEN form the People of South Africa. Right. I think he STOLE R 29 BILLION Rand (alleged – yet to come in to Court – can’t wait …. !). Then, John, Mr. Rupert is accused of owing a very small Municipality MILLIONS of RAND that he refuses to pay to the Municipality. And he a MULTI BILLIONAIRE hey John. There seems to be no end to this man Johann Rupert’s Glutenous love of money and power hey John. Surely you will agree with me. Right.

    Can’t wait for your Case/s to come to Court Mr. Van Zyl. Can’t wait for you to be led in Expert Evidence in front of the Honourable Judge in the Equality Court in Cape Town.

    Please PK, invite Mr. Julius Malema (EEF) and Mr. Tshidiso Tsimong (Black First Land First) to also attend at the Hearing in the Equality Court, TO LEND THEIR SUPPORT to Mr. Van Zyl’s Valiant Efforts – he Truthfully deserves your SUPPORT hey – i. e be there when Mr. Van Zyl’s Clients’ Case/s come in to Court, first in Cape Town; then in Johannesburg and in Tshwane.

    Thank you PK for an excellent EXPOSE of this THEFT from the ‘poor’ who are so-called ‘blacks’; so-called ‘coloureds’ and Indians. Congratulations; WELL DONE.

    Lord Bless, love Michael (heart)

    1. Dear Michael

      Thank you for taking the time to read our stories. I think we must give John Duncan the right to question our stories. That is what a healthy democracy should do- the right to interrogate the veracity of stories is why I dont think the way most who consume commercial media do.

      The bravery of Emerald van Zyl is to be cherished. I have written a follow up story and indeed I shall watch this story and give it the I can.

      Thank you for your support.



  6. I enjoy reading your posts. And thank you for your response.

    I, too, would be surprised if other banks voice support for FNB. I remain, without evidence that would stand the test of a court of law, unconvinced that Saambou’s low cost clients were all black. Does Mr/Ms Emerald van Zyl have such evidence?

    Please also define a “low cost client”.

    I remain delighted with the action taken by Mr./Ms. van Zyl. I think that the usury act needs careful review as it applies to what I would call high risk clients. (Probably the banks themselves assess the poor and low earners “high risk”)

    Again thank you for your publication – I recommend it to all who have a willingness to have open minds and love our Nation.



  7. A pity race comes into this article. You will find that “high risk” bondholders of all races are discriminated against in exactly the same way. The equality court may well find that it is not black bond holders who are discriminated against. All are equally discriminated against. Bringing race into the argument, could well make the struggle a whole lot more difficult. This is, in my opinion, a class action if you will excuse the pun.
    That being said I am delighted that action is being taken. I think an investigation into car financing, cash loans and so forth will reveal the exact same unfairness.

    1. Dear John

      It will be interesting how the Equality Court interprets this particular group of clients. Saambou’s low cost clients were all black – Africans, Indians and Coloureds. The issue is that they were discriminated against which is against the Usury Act.
      If it is found that other banks practiced this discrimination across the board (which they probably do) it will be interesting to see if they would be willing to come forth in support of FNB.

      Thanks for reading.



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