Crusader takes on big banks

2012-05-07 00:00

FOR one-and-a-half years, a colourful yet determined South African has put his life on hold to fight the cause of scores of people who have had their fingers burnt by banks.

Author, scientist and researcher Michael Tellinger will someday soon have his day in the Constitutional Court.

He is out to settle a score with Standard Bank after the bank allegedly failed to provide him with key documents relating to his home loan when he fell behind on his payments.

A major thrust of his case centres on getting transparency in the banking industry, particularly when it comes to how banks use consumers’ money.

“I’m doing it on behalf of the many people who have lost their homes and cars — it’s a matter of principle. Once you know the truth, it’s difficult to keep your mouth shut.

“Often people are just scared. Banks are fraudulent, deceitful and conniving,” Tellinger told The Witness.

Tellinger, who was a key figure and presenter at a UFO science and consciousness conference in Johannesburg recently, is already a fairly well-known for his unorthodox views on the origins of humans.

He is the author of three books, Slave Species of God; Adam’s Calendar; and Temples of the African Gods.

Much of his work and research focuses on ancient, vanished civilisations of southern Africa and African indigenous knowledge.

“African indigenous knowledge has been suppressed by colonialists,” he added.

Tellinger said he also wrote and recorded an anti-apartheid song We come from Johannesburg in the mid-1980s.

He has thus far represented himself in court, but now plans to enlist the help of an experienced lawyer, Raymond Dicks, who has agreed to represent him for free.

Scott Cundill, the co-founder of a non-profit organisation called the New Economic Rights Alliance (Nera), told The Witness that they support Tellinger’s case. Nera supports victims of “corporations that put profit ahead of human rights”.

More than 10 000 people have signed their petition.

While Standard Bank confirmed that it would be fighting the case, it told The Witness it would not comment further as the matter was sub judice.

Tellinger is a man of many professions, having worked in everything from the arts to scientific research.

He was born in 1960 in the former Czechoslovakia. His parents left that country “as refugees from the communists” and settled in South Africa when he was still a child.

Tellinger enrolled at Wits University Medical School and obtained a Bachelor of Pharmaceutics.

He spent a great deal of time writing and playing music and performing and producing theatre, TV and film productions.

He moved to Los Angeles and worked as a sound engineer and editor for Cannon Films.

Tellinger returned to South Africa, playing music in Johannesburg and later working in the advertising industry in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

A man with a passion for helping people, he wrote educational TV programmes for children and created a literacy programme based on fun games.

“When I realised that the government was not really committed to getting people to read and write, my work ended there.”

It was at this point that Tellinger began writing books on “ground-breaking discoveries about ancient vanished civilisations” in southern Africa, which he argues have “produced stunning new evidence that will force us to rethink our origins and rewrite our history books”.

For now, however, this and other interests have been put on the back-burner as he gears up for a fight with the banks. It’s nothing new for a man who has spent most of his life standing up to authority and questioning beliefs that appear to be regarded as unassailable fact.

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