Decision to stop doing business with Guptas is nothing but political posturing – COSATU

Federation wants to meet with family to discuss pending job losses due to decision by banks

The unprincipled and unaccountable banks have no moral authority to moralise on the Gupta issue

11 April 2016

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted with the concern and contempt the decision by some South African banks to hypocritically and recklessly ostracise the Gupta businesses, for narrow political ends. The decision by ABSA, FNB, NEDBANK, SASFIN and KPMG to stop doing business and associating with the Guptas is nothing but political posturing. This decision will not only negatively affect the gluttonous Guptas, but will badly affect the innocent workers, who have no dog in that hunt.

COSATU demands answers from these banks; they need to explain why they decided to took these decisions, when workers are facing such a bleak future. Even the discredited and politically toxic people like the Guptas deserve to only be found guilty after a proper due process has been followed and they have never been convicted in a court of law. The federation has demanded a meeting with the Guptas to discuss the pending job losses in their companies after this decision by the banks.

To prove that they lack any developmental consciousness, they did not think about the implications that their public relations stunt was going to have on the workers. The country is shedding jobs at an alarming rate and some of these banks are actually retrenching workers ,but they saw it necessary to ostracise the Gupta owned companies that employ thousands of innocent workers.

COSATU feels that when worker’s jobs are at stake, it was inane and thoughtless of these organisations to play politics with their livelihoods. OAKBAY, Sahara Holdings and TNA might belong to the unsavoury family like the Guptas, but they employ thousands of innocent workers. Thousands of families and their livelihoods are being sacrificed by unprincipled financial institutions to pursue their own narrow agenda. Workers are a primary stakeholders in any company and to ignore their interests exposes these financial institutions for what they are, unprincipled opportunists.

The federation holds no candle for the exploitative Guptas, who are terrible employers and have proven themselves to have no principles or self restraint. But the federation denounces the self serving and hypocritical stance of these banks and financial institutions. They acted without thinking about the fate of thousands of workers employed by the Guptas, and only treated this as a public relations issue. We challenge them to be transparent and prove that they and their shareholders are not doing business with any politically exposed individuals, corporations of regimes.

COSATU is angry that innocent workers find themselves as part of collateral damage in an unprincipled fight between two sections of corporate looters, who are fighting for a sit at the table. These banks do not represent anyone ,except their shareholders, some of whom are foreign financial institutions with a reputation of doing business with unsavoury characters and regimes around the world.

Banks like ABSA have a lot to answer for and they have no right to be preaching to anyone. These institutions are products of an evil apartheid system that was declared a crime against humanity by the United Nations. They have never explained or apologised for their role in propping up and doing business with that regime. They have no moral authority and no right to pontificate about political exposure, while recklessly putting at risk the livelihoods of so many innocent workers.

These are organisations, which call for the de-regulation of labour markets, and advocate for the de-regulation of financial markets in order that they can maximise their profits. This new disdain for blackmoney and patriotic fervour that has suddenly engulfed them is selective and self serving. They have colluded to fix prices and impose high charges on their customers, making it very difficult for the majority to save. They have ostracised the mostly black working class by denying them access to finance and ultimately stopping their participation in the economy.

When it suits them these banks and their rapacious shareholders never forget to tell the workers that money has no motherland; and that their loyalty is to their shareholders. They are daily taking decisions that do not serve the interest of the country and their sudden patriotic fervour can only fool the uninitiated.

While the insatiable Guptas need to be called out for trying to capture the state in order to continue their corrupt accumulation, this does not give monopoly capital the right to moralise.  The people of South Africa will fix what is wrong with their government and with their country and do not need unaccountable and guiltless banks and financial institutions to interfere in the political affairs of this country.

Issued by Sizwe Pamla, National Spokesperson, COSATU, 11 April 2016