FeatureNewsPoliticsState Capture

What happened to the extra Billion identified by CIEX in ABSA Apartheid Looting Matter?

By Pinky Khoabane

Maria RamosMaria Ramos

The Mail and Guardian on Friday published a leaked preliminary report into the public protector’s investigation into large-scale apartheid economic theft ahead of the ANC’s take-over of democratic South Africa.

It said the public protector had identified R2.25 billion which ABSA got through an illegal lifeboat it received during apartheid. ABSA is Africa’s biggest commercial bank today.

The R2.25 billion is approximately R1bn short of the R3.2 billion identified by Ciex Ltd which first brought the ABSA matter and others, to the attention of former President Thabo Mbeki who later commissioned the London-based intelligence agency to investigate large-scale apartheid-era economic theft.

Former Governor of the Reserve Bank, Chris Stals – a broderbond member – helped his fellow broedebond members when Bankorp, which later became ABSA, was in financial trouble.

He used money from the Reserve Bank as a gift or a loan to BAnkorp – a private bank – which the former wasn’t allowed to do legally.

It has been largely reported in previous media reports that in 1985, Stals gave Bankorp a “lifeboat” of R300m to prevent it from capsising.

In mid 1990, the SARB further gave Bankorp another R1.5 billion which former ABSA banker, Bob Aldworth, in his book, the Infernal Tower, says R1.1 billion was invested in government stock and R400 million was invested in the Sarb. The Sarb “loan” to Bankorp was charged at interest rate of 1% per annum but it earned an interest of 16% per annum from government stock and the Sarb for the same money.

CIEX Ltd, Heath Commission and many commentators said the shareholders of Bankorp had benefited through this illegal conduct. A panel of experts appointed by former Governor Tito Mbowenni and headed by Judge Dennis Davis found that, from 1985 to 1992, had provided assistance to Bankorp and, for the period 1992to 1995, to its new owner, ABSA.

It is therefore disingenuous of ABSA to say it didn’t benefit from Bankorp’s lifeboat as it did in its response to the M&Gs publication.

But back to the money and the discrepancy in the R3.2billion and the R2.25 billion now being asked for in the draft by the public protector’s report. Where is the rest? Even if we were to take the amount widely reported in media reports, R1,5billion + R400 million, it does not come to the R2.25 billion.

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  1. The 1% interest rate should also be scrutinized and eventually penalties must be imposed on ABSA for the duration of the money into its business and for the high interest they charged on government. What one could prefer was for the state nationalise ABSA for this.

    1. Dear Matlhomola

      The idea of the state nationalising ABSA is interesting but we know that is highly unlikely.



  2. Even the R26 billion mentioned in the report is far too short, to me this is another blunder. I strongly believe that these banks & companies, and Apartheid government owe the people of South Africa more (trillions of US dollars).

    As a citizen of this country (SA) and a victim of White Capital robbery, theft, and looting, that I would suggest that the thieves pay this R26 billion, thereafter another investigation launched, I bet trillions would be recovered in the form of minerals, assets (e.g. SAA jets, etc.), land, money, damages (i.e. apartheid murder victims, etc.), etc… #ThievesMustFall

    1. Hi K.M.

      There are trillions of money looted. The R26bn was the tip of the iceberg. Treasury and Sarb are reluctant to open up about the amount of money siphoned out of the country.

      But look at just the example of the Surtie claim that Jeff Koorbanally is representing. It represents almost a trillion in today’s value.



  3. The lifeboat of Absa Bank is not the only bank who the Reserve Bank prevent from collapsing.In 1985 Nedbank also received a lifeboat from the South African Reserve Bank after Louis Luyt’s business in the beer and compost market collapsed.

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