By Mbangwa Xaba

The ANC is sinking deeper into a political abyss of its own making. At sixes and sevens, in a desperate clatch onto straws, it is now throwing the party’s loyal black majority voting cows under the bus.
This is, if media reports about the ANC’s draft discussion document on economic policy to be finalised at its policy conference later this year are to be believed.
They intimated that the party is placing privatisation central on its transformation agenda, or reform, as its lexicon goes these days.
If this is true, it means the private sector, the same people who maintained apartheid and later benefitted from its inheritance for the past 28 years, are now official heirs of the democracy project – a ‘freedom” that was meant for the oppressed black majority.
A promise of future inclusion in the economy and society as equals to the former oppressors has kept these South Africans devoted to the ANC in every election since 1994.
They have endured apartheid’s extraordinarily high remnants of inequality for a further three decades under the democratic government.
That expectation has now been shattered; vaporised into drops of despair and hopelessness!
This is betrayal on a grand scale. It awakens South Africa’s bitter history of land dispossession by a state serving the interests of white settlers. It cuts too deep.
If you can swallow it, take it with experiences of forced removals, mass murders, detention without trial and all that apartheid was.
Land dispossession alone, altered South Africa’s economy radically in favour of the white minority. Besides dehumanisation, it condemned black people to servitude.
Having managed to transfer a mere 9% of farmland to black people through a combination of land restitution and redistribution after 28 years, the democratic government is now asking “kind whites” to “donate” land to blacks.
Don’t cringe yet, because it is in financing and access to finance where the duplicity of the 1994 freedom is at its most wicked. Here, the ANC’s knife on the backs of the people who trusted it with their lives is turned and twisted as it cuts and goes deeper. Racism is entrenched in almost every financial institution. Never mind the Financial Sector Charter, nothing there is worth the paper it is written on. The banking sector is the vilest blight on the democratic transition from apartheid. Combined, South Africa’s banks carry a total asset value of about R6.5 trillion. As of March 2021, the five major banks accounted for over 90% of total banking assets in the country valued at approximately R5.8 trillion!
Most poor black people are kicked out of the banking systems. They simply have no means to have and maintain bank accounts due to unaffordable banking charges. Those who scrape in are milked dry and kept as paupers with adverse credit ratings and blacklisting by the banks if they default on payment.
The banking sector is not only untransformed and unrepresentative of the South African demography, it is racist. Racial employment in banks, specifically black employment in top management, is forbidden.
Statistics indicate that 49% of the top six banks in South Africa are owned by foreign investors, 34% by institutions such as pension fund investors and 17% by other categories of investors.
The Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development (CCRED) stated that transformative finance is inclusive and rules of the game should be changed, not to favour insiders only.
The CCRED has showed that entry and rivalry bring benefits to consumers and that barriers to entry remain unjustifiably high.
It says entry brings benefits in lower fees, more dynamic products, and competition for low-income customers. These barriers include limited transparency and comparability of bank offerings.
However, obtaining a banking licence is as difficult as extracting the truth from a politician. The infrastructure is costly and there are limits to using alternative technologies.
These requirements affect small banks disproportionately. Failure to encourage and support entry through a flexible, adaptive, risk-taking, permissive regulation has the same effect as high barriers to entry.
Let me not spoil the party by stating the importance of introducing better monitoring and publishing of commercial lending to SMMEs and black-owned businesses.
It is common course that South Africa requires a long-term, risk-taking, patient funding for new investments. We all know that provision of services to SMMEs and black-owned entrants should be incentivised and that licensing should be opened up to promote the diversity of offering.
But white supremacy won’t let this happen, better still, now they are to become champions of economic development.
These institutions are cruel to the poor. The lending and collection methods, especially property repossession by banks, are not only illegal, racist and unconstitutional, they are the staunchest economic development stumbling block.
It is nauseating to watch how millions of homeless South Africans, the grandchildren of victims of forced removals being unable to afford housing due to structural poverty in a democratic society.
Banks are law unto themselves, thanks to an absent government. No attention is paid to the ability of people to retain houses that have been purchased through mortgages or used as collateral in securing loans. Banks rake in huge profits from consumers loan services repayment models to insure these loans. Even with appropriate legislative regimes to be followed in executing recovery and repossession, banks simply do as they please ignoring every law.
It is alleged that banks don’t give homeowners the opportunity to buy their properties back through auctions as the law requires. More insidiously, law enforcement and local government officials have been buying these houses for themselves.
An additional complexity is when other low-income households purchase the properties and then face the dilemma of having to evict the occupants themselves.
More than 225 applicants, mostly from Gauteng townships, have launched a suit in the Constitutional Court, claiming damages from the big banks for home repossession abuse. Black people are on their own. No government backing them despite the colossal and growing housing backlog.
They are claiming R60 billion from the banks for unlawful repossession of homes since the Constitution came into effect in 1996.
I truly wish them success. But what are the odds my wish being realised? Not too bright I may venture.
Nkosana Makate is still at it after more than a decade of fighting Vodacom, the country’s biggest cellular company, for his invention of “Please Call Me”.
Good luck black brother and sister. You have been sold for a dime at the table of greed and deceit; you are, in all honesty, on your own.

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