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SA banks on offensive to parry political attacks

cas-cavoodiaCas Coovadia of the Banking Association of South Africa

Via Business Report

Cape Town – South Africa’s banks are going on the offensive after being criticised by some politicians over their lending practices and records in addressing racial inequality.

Attacks on the lenders have been led by President Jacob Zuma, who’s accused them of monopolizing the financial services industry, and questioned whether they colluded when closing accounts belonging to members of the wealthy Gupta family, who are his friends and are in business with his son. Lawmakers are due to interrogate the banks on their racial transformation records in Cape Town on Tuesday.

“We are not going there cap in hand, despite all the noise around the industry,” Cas Coovadia, managing director of the Banking Association of South Africa, told reporters on Monday. “We have been remiss in not introducing a narrative into the public space that actually begins to talk to real data and not to false data. You have got to ask whether there are certain interests that feel threatened by a well-regulated system.”

The country’s financial system is becoming a battleground for Zuma’s drive for “radical economic transformation” to transfer wealth to the majority black population in an economy still dominated by whites almost 23 years after apartheid ended. Banks have exceeded targets agreed with the government and labour unions to be 25 percent black-owned, 15 percent of which is directly held by black investors, the association said in a presentation.


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