Complainants dying while FNB delays case

By Pinky Khoabane


I spent last week thursday at Block FF in Soshanguve. I was there to interview a group of residents representing the 1230 (One thousand two-hundred-and-thirty) residents who took out bonds with Saambou on the dawn of democracy. By 2002, this bank had gone belly-up and its mortgage book was bought by First National Book (FNB).

Saambou is accused of transgressing the rules of the Usury Act by having denied its low cost housing clients benefits of interest rate cuts and even charging them beyond the maximum rate permissible by law. When FNB took over, the complainants claim it continued with the discriminatory practices.

Thomas Maluleke is one of them. He stood outside the fence of the house from which he was evicted in 2005. He, like many of the residents who had taken-out bonds with Saambou claim that they were charged more in interest rates in violation of the law.  The amounts run into tens of thousands of rands in overcharges. He had been working for Telkom as an assistant technician for 18 years when he was retrenched in the year 2000. Within three months of his retrenchment, an agent came to his door and told him he had to vacate the house because he (the agent) had bought it on auction. Maluleke refused and it was to be a battle of five years before he lost in a court of law in 2005. He now lives on an informal settlement nearby.

With democracy in the horizon so too came an era of hope. Blacks who had for centuries been denied proper housing through the legacy of apartheid – which didn’t build many houses for Blacks – suddenly had optimism. Statistics show that for every one brick house, there were 43 Blacks in comparison to one house to every 3.5 whites.

The backlog in the urban areas was estimated at 1.3 million in 1994.

Apartheid’s legacy of discrimination permeated every aspect of life and the financial system was not immune. Access to finance for Blacks was a major problem but even more so for low cost housing. The 1994 White Paper estimated that 70% Blacks didn’t qualify for finance but even those who did were denied finance on the basis of their skin.

Many of the residents of Block FF had had a long service history as civil servants, teachers and policemen and yet the banks had always viewed them as high risk. With the advent of democracy, some of the banks relaxed their terms albeit that it has now emerged this decision may have been for ulterior motives.

Saambou in particular targeted this community which comprised of people with a steady and sustainable income. For a bond of around R40 000, they could get a two-bedroomed house, a kitchen, dining room and an empty room which they could turn into a bathroom/toilet.

UnCensored has written extensively on this case. Read here http://uncensoredopinion.co.za/blacks-robbed-fnb-running-patience/

Equality Court Case

The Equality Court case against FNB was to sit at the beginning of this month but was postponed. The group at Soshanguve was angry at what they viewed as yet another delaying tactic by FNB. In 75% of the 1230 cases, the clients were charged over the maximum interest rate permitted by law. Most of them said they were charged 16% at the time when the maximum rate fluctuated around 14%. Many claimants have also died while waiting for the law to to take its course.


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  1. The roots of the apartheid run so deeply in almost all facets of our existence. It will take a concerted effort by all movements to make a difference post 1994.But who am I fooling?..people have resorted to looting gov coffers in everyway possible. Its really a sad situation. Even more so when I think about all those who died for our liberation… Closed friends,relatives… Some just simply disappeared without trace to this day. Sometimes I look and those Popper’s graves and wonder if some were dumped there like dogs in the middle of the night. Maybe the real fight for our true emancipation is still to come… Maybe the real fight should begin in ernest… not with AK’s and bombs. I believe there is truly strength in unity. I see concrete strategies of the old devide and rule permeating in every effort we make to liberate our people. Let’s re-unite and fight this monster… greed;selfishness and so on. Keep digging Pinky!!! dig without fear or favour. We need to start somewhere…

    1. Dear Tols

      Another new reader. Thanks so much for joining our family of UnCensored. There’s no doubt that our country is infested with corruption – both public and private. Sadly, we are so divided that we cannot see criminality for what it is – we view it from one sector, even one race – the public sector and black. Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng once made a profound speech about the relationship between the corruptor and the corruptee. He was basically this is a relationship between two or more people.

      We here at UnCensored are dedicating our few resources on the other party that is hardly ever mentioned in the cycle of corruption. Let’s take this Grindrod Bank for example. Until UnCensored opened Pravin Gordhan’s portfolio – the only parties involved in the SASSA “crisis” was CPS and INet. And suddenly we discover that Grindrod Bank is part-owned by Rupert. Until we spoke about the millions in interest it must be making, this issue was not an issue at all. And we live in such a polluted environment that we suddenly hear that these banks don’t keep the interest – is it true is it another one of those media spins to protect the white monopoly capitalists?

      There are bigger questions not least, the Minister’s conduct.

      I must confess unity seems elusive at the moment – it probably requires a cleansing and appeasing the ancestors – the good ones of cause that didn’t sell out.

      Thanks very much.



      1. Yes FNB, just don’t about rectifying or reimbursing their clients on fraudulent transactions.
        My Boss was robbed of close to 3m by this unstoppable bank and guess what; he was only repaid R774 000!!
        While we are busy persueing them about the balance, they quickly send summons of intention to sue for bridge of payment we don’t know about, and mind you, we the victims did not take them to court on their matter, which we have full damning evidence if we so choose to!!

        P.S: We are stuck (And yes of course again, we are black…)

  2. The biggest legal flaws in the legal system dealing with “FORE SEIZURES” is:

    Banks are easily given Judgments strictly based on default of payment, irrespective of whatever circumstances.

    Then the next Prejudice is that you as the defaulted client become liable for all legal cost incurred by the bank, hence defending the matter in court with little chance of success just remember that the legal counsel standing in high court nailing you! Its you who’s paying him in addition to your own legal counsel.

    In the end it constitute to a already lost battle that further destroys you financially for the rest of your life, with Garnish Orders and black listing.

    Its a curse deliberately imposed on us the by Oppressors, so that we can never be liberated from slavery, not on earth, but as “God fearing Nation” we can only console ourselves by the scriptures“Suffer little children to come unto me”

  3. The biggest problem in this country in “Banks fore seizure” processes, whether its on movable or immovable is the following:

    All the 5 Major banks in this country which are correctly classified as WMC, also hold the Monopoly on our legal system (Law Practitioners, Legal Counsels).

    Over 90% of legal firms in this country are on the Banks panel of supply( meaning banks are they clients, hence an innocent client victimised & prejudiced by any one the banks will not get fair legal representation on the matter, most of them do disclose this conflict of interest to clients seeking help against banks & sadly some just take the case as formality to get the process completed.

    I have sat in high courts as part of my two year research listening to these cases, and it became very clear that there was a gap to be filled in the legal system, to address these issues. That was my motivation to have started a company to fight against these prejudices against humanity. I stopped every auction!

    Then a group of disgruntled senior advocates lodged a complaint to the high court judges against me, stating the fact that I was not a registered legal practitioner, hence I could not represent these clients in the high court!

    My last case was a lady diagnosed with level 4 cancer who had defaulted with her bond due to this health condition,but had a life cover on the outstanding bond which was surrendered to the bank (Std Bank) No Law firm was willing to assist her.

    When I represented her in the high court with very strong legal ground that put the bank on the spot, the defense SC brought it to the Judge attention that I was not a registered legal Practitioner, I was then ask to leave the court. Judgment was granted to the bank,“ house was Auctioned”…….

  4. Its really a sad situation,and sadly the best & least that these clients will ever get, if they lucky is the diffrent(over charged) in comparison to prime rate at the time. There will be no compensation for the loss of their properties, the urguement will always be that they defaulted on their bonds, however reading the story there was a way to stop those forced sale at the time. This used to be my speciality 2005-2008.
    I stopped every single forced sale of non whites properties in the northern surb of Cape town.

  5. I am just surprised that these abuses are so downplayed.Is there another way of informing people? It looks as if the banks owe the citizens. When some heard it the first time, they thought they going to be paid out. I also dont understand why the Competition Commission does not compel Banks to pay their clients as well.

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