New financial sector summit needed - SACP

2015-07-11 18:07
Jeremy Cronin. (GCIS)

Jeremy Cronin. (GCIS)

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Soweto - The SA Communist Party (SACP) has called for another financial sector summit calling the repossession of homes through debt a new form of apartheid forced removals.

''This massive modern wave of dispossession affects hundreds of thousands of families each year in our country. It is a new, financialised version of apartheid-era forced removals,'' it said on Saturday in a declaration after its Special National Congress.

''The struggle against monopoly capital is also a struggle against the siphoning of billions of rands out of social grant payments by financial institutions, retail creditors, and unscrupulous loan sharks.''

It claimed there were "cartels linking property developers, banking staff and corrupt officials in magistrate's courts'' to take people's property away from them.

Some court orders were not issued in the province the property was situated, but at a faraway court indicating possible abuse of the system.

The party also lamented illegal garnishee orders, which its deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin said was eating up to 90% of affected people's salaries with interest rates as high as 70%.

A previous campaign to bring parts of the financial sector into compliance, particularly for the poor, led to a number of achievements with help of about 50 organisations, including people in the financial sector.

This resulted in a financial sector charter, the development of the Mzanzi low cost bank account to increase accessibility to financial services, and credit regulations.

But after these achievements, people tended to ''lose focus'' so a new campaign was needed.

''We need to assess what has been achieved, what hasn't been achieved. Is there compliance with the financial sector charter? We need to regalvanise.''

Cronin said they had been told that many homes were being dispossessed illegally. Somebody may have defaulted on payment for a month or two, but there are still requirements that processes are followed, instead of simply taking their house away.

This could be raised with judges as some of the dispossessions are being facilitated by clerks of the court.
Cronin said repossessed houses were being resold for extremely low amounts.

He commended Western Cape High Court judge Siraj Desai who this week ruled that the debt collecting procedure used by micro-lenders is "unconstitutional" and "an assault on human dignity".

The University of Stellenbosch and the Legal Aid Clinic wanted the Emoluments Attachment Orders (EAOs), commonly known as garnishee orders, granted against the salaries of 15 applicants to be declared invalid. 

Cronin said government also needed to grow black industrialists in South Africa and shift from the Black Economic Empowerment model which was just creating ''capitalists without the capital''.

''The theory is that the black person would change the boardroom, but our theory is that the boardroom changed those black individuals,'' he said.

He called for a move to serious entrepreneurship and job creation.

Cronin said that although the SACP lauded the launch of the Brics bank with a fund of $10bn, it must not be seen as a ''new bank in town and a new ATM''.

''But our economy is massively peripheralised and under-developed by being locked into imperialist systems.''
South Africa had to act like ''performing monkeys'' for the rating agencies so the Brics bank creates more space for developing countries.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa formed an economic alliance Brics, and have also started a Brics bank.

Read more on:    sacp  |  jeremy cronin  |  politics

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