Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says banks have no regard for black people and their business endeavours.
Mkhwebane made this comment immediately after an interview with Galaxy Universal Network, which was co-hosted by Independent Media’s politics editor, Sifiso Mahlangu.
Mkhwebane’s first dig at the country’s banks and their lending system was first made when she cited the Absa-Bankorp report while she was probing the Absa bail out during the apartheid years.
For that, she was eventually slapped with a personal cost order for producing a shoddy report which was set aside by the courts.
She said the court ruling was proof that if you want to remain in good books of the media, opinion makers and other politically influential leaders in the country, you must stay away from the banks and their constitutional mandated regulator, the Reserve Bank.
“You don’t touch the banks, or especially the Reserve Bank which is a constitutional institution by the way, which is there also to change the livelihood of South Africans,” Mkhwebane said.
She then went for the bank’s proverbial throat by saying the institutions had not been supportive of black people and their business ventures post-1994.
“The banks are untouchables in South Africa and have not been supportive to black-owned companies or black people. In many of the instances, women are the worst hit.
“You remember how I was dealt with when I investigated the banks. Even now I have many complaints about the banks from the public but it doesn’t lie within my jurisdiction.
“Ultimately what defines my office and my work is the bread and butter issues that people are going through. The banks have not attempted to assist those issues,” Mkhwebane said later after the televised interview.
The Banking Association of South Africa, the umbrella body of major commercial banks in the country has previously denied the allegations.
In one response to Independent Media, the association said the statements which were critical of banks contained no evidence-based facts.