When are they going to share the wealth? – ANCYL KZN at Absa picket

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The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday repeated its call for Absa to pay back the money the bank received as a bailout from the apartheid government. The league also hit out at former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

This time the “young lions” gathered and picketed outside an Absa bank at the Ballito Junction shopping centre, north of Durban.

Last week the ANCYL stormed an Absa branch on Anton Lembede [formerly Smith] Street in the Durban CBD.

The demonstrations come after a leaked Public Protector draft report surfaced. It recommended that Absa pay back the R2.25bn it received as part of an alleged apartheid-era bail out.

Absa has denied any wrongdoing and said it has worked openly with the Public Protector’s office on the investigation.

The league’s provincial secretary, Thanduxolo Sabelo, told a small gathering of not more than 250 people that the youth league had more than 72 000 members in the province “who could bring Absa to its knees”.

Warning for Gordhan

“We can deploy people to each and every branch and this will harm the business. We are not asking for too much. We are asking that you pay back this money so that the government can use it for youth development.

“If you pay back this money the government will be able to provide free education for the young people of this country. We know that you have this money; it was looted over two decades ago. We know that Absa is a thriving business – R2.3bn is nothing to Absa.”

Speaking about Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan he said: “He is not a representative of white monopoly capital. He must be careful when he comments that he always comments on the side of the poor people of this country, that is our message to comrade PG.”

Sabelo continued to say that the current government should not allow “some to continue to loot while the poor continue to suffer”.

He said the youth league would make sure that the money Absa owed was paid back.

“We want to say to Barclays [of which Absa is a subsidiary], somewhere there in England, it will take them two minutes to say let’s give the South African government R2bn.”

Trevor Manuel ‘can sort this out at home’

He said ANC members who had shares at Absa could speak to their counterparts at Absa to pay back the money.

“More importantly, to Trevor Manuel, he can sort this out at home. Maria Ramos is his wife. This afternoon he can get home and tell his wife that South Africans are poor, we cannot be caught on the side of history.”

He urged the government of KwaZulu-Natal to close its Absa bank account and open an Ithala bank account instead.

Sabelo warned Absa that the ANCYL knew that Thursday was not the bank’s busiest day.

“This is still a picket, but it will intensify. We will come on the 15th, the 25th and the last day of the month, every month until you pay back the money.”

He called on Absa staff to join the league by embarking on a go-slow.

“Because there are greedy imperialists like Absa, there are no jobs. We want to meet with the Barclays board and [have them] come to KZN to speak with us so that we can ask them when are they paying.”

Attack on Madonsela

He threatened that the youth league would shut down all Absa bank branches.

“Some are saying we are an irritation. The youth league will never be caught on the wrong side of history. Your agent, Thuli Madonsela, is gone. That ugly woman is gone and she must accept that she is no longer the Public Protector.

“There is a new progressive Public Protector, Advocate [Busisiwe] Mkhwebane. Not the protector of white monopoly capital, gogo Madonsela. She must sleep and rest in peace and let Advocate Mkhwebane continue with her job.”

To president Jacob Zuma Sabelo said: “White corruption in this country has been hidden for decades, it is popping up one by one, they first stole the land and now they are stealing hard cash and it is being hidden in this country.”

He asked Zuma to establish a commission that will investigate South Africa’s banking sector.

“We heard that they refuse to give loans to small business… but fund 90% of white-owned companies,” he said.

He said the youth league should stand up and ask difficult questions.

“When are they going to share the wealth?”

Addressing the ANCYL, Absa bank Ballito’s Rajiv Singh said: “We have heard your concerns and we have to take them to the relevant management and leave it in their capable hands.”