By Devine Hadebe
In the immediate aftermath of the announcement that seventeen banks had been rigging the rand as far back as 2007, commercial media have gone out to spin the story but the key is where Treasury and South African Reserve Bank (SARB) have been in the ten years of absolute looting.
From the onset it is clear that banks have been manipulating currency elsewhere, only a fool would think it wasn’t happening here but our media have focused their energies on exposing government corruption that they simply pulled a wool over our eyes. And to be clear to avoid being misunderstood, I and many others have no problem in exposing government corruption. We want it exposed. What we challenge are the double standards by media. We have been so inundated with news of government corruption that the media have put a lid on the currency scandal.
IN May 2015, global media told us banks were colluding on currency. (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-21/us-britain-fine-top-banks-nearly-6-bn-for-forex-libor-abuses/6485510).
It was clear then that banks like Barclays couldn’t just manipulate currency in the US and Britain and not in others countries like South Africa. The media effectively spun the story by claiming “no found evidence of malpractice or “serious misconduct” in domestic rand trading” (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-10-19/south-african-probe-finds-currency-traders-shared-client-details), but now we know better. This is the investigative mainstream media which can dig so deep into a story that distant relatives of public workers can be exposed and their deeds can dominate headlines. It is the same media that can tell you about the cousin-of-a-cousin of a municipal manager who got a tender from a deep rural town somewhere in SA (http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/outgoing-durban-mayors-cousin-wins-inchanga-ward-20160805).
When news of what we already knew and had occurred right under the noses of our self-acclaimed ‘corruption busters, they had already lined up economists/ “experts” to explain the saga. It’s by no coincidence that each mainstream paper had an “expert” doing damage control over the corruption. Any outrage equivalent to what we saw against the Nkandla scandal vanished. The mission was to provide a soft-landing for widespread corruption by White Monopoly Capital companies, which we’ve been suspecting all along.
Media spin in overdrive
First their role was to remind whoever cares to take them seriously that this is not corruption but ‘colluding’. Corruption is a description reserved for Blacks. Some were sanitising it by reminding us that this is an ‘international’ problem, as if somehow it makes it better (http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/d29b7580401704659855fb75889f6f7e/%E2%80%98Bank-collusion-a-global-phenomenon%E2%80%99-20171602).
The Citizen reminded us not to “scare foreign investors” (http://www.business-index.co.za/Citizen_The-84455-business-website.htm), the kind that invest only in corruptible countries I guess.
The usual SCARECROW of the Rand falling, foreign investment and Rating Agencies with their downgrade was now the roll.
Where do they get these people honestly? Im talking of the kind to tell the victims that “you had it better, it could have been worse” don’t complain. The ones who reserve accountability and justice only for black corruption.
I bet they already have “experts” lined up for soft-landing of Rating Agencies’ looting and their ‘colluding’. Come on now, we would be gullible to think that Rating Agencies are ‘colluding’ only in other countries but not in SA (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jan/14/moodys-864m-penalty-for-ratings-in-run-up-to-2008-financial-crisis). It’s only a question of time before their corruption is exposed here as well. It cant be the stretch of the imagination that S&P Rating Agency’s Konrad Reuss’s advice to the ANC to do the “right thing in electing ANC leaders” is more of a threat than anything else. We can expect the ANC’s choice of leadership will determine a downgrade or not. We also expect that these are not isolated views by an individual at the helm of a rating agency but rather that they are held by all rating agencies. (https://businesstech.co.za/news/government/140053/sp-warns-whats-happening-in-sa-more-than-just-political-noise/).
Where’s the Reserve Bank & Treasury in all of this?
In the midst of all this the question that must be asked is this: where was/is our South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and National Treasury in all of this? Surely they can’t rely on the media’s narrative that all was or is rosy in our private banking systems, like we are expected to? I mean these are institutions whose sole mandate is to manage our finances and at which the Rand is at the centre!
How can it be comprehensible that SARB and Treasury had no idea of this looting for a full ten years (2007-2014)? How could they have had no idea and had not foreseen such misconduct given that currency manipulation had happened in this country under the Mbeki era prompting him to appoint a commission, which upon its establishment, stopped the decline of the rand?
Is it a case of negligence, incapacity or ‘colluding’ that for ten years, the same “Finance minister (who) has appointed certain banks as Authorised Dealers in foreign exchange that gives such banks the right to buy and sell foreign exchange”, conveniently forgot to “subject (them) to conditions within limits prescribed by the Financial Surveillance Department?” Could it be that for over ten years our Minister forgot to authorise Surveillance to “gather, analyse and disseminate information on cross-border flows”, in accordance to SARB? (https://www.resbank.co.za/RegulationAndSupervision/FinancialSurveillanceAndExchangeControl/ExconAdmin/Pages/default.aspx)