Banks get bashed in battle over SA financial system

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Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan. (Netwerk24)
Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan. (Netwerk24)

Johannesburg - New allegations by President Jacob Zuma’s supporters that South Africa’s biggest banks are frustrating efforts to address racial inequality signal an escalation of a battle for control of the nation’s financial system, including the Treasury.

Protestors from the ruling African National Congress’s youth wing invaded a Barclays Africa branch on January 26. Then on Monday, the ANC’s top leaders said the four biggest lenders can’t be allowed to continue dominating the industry. These banks have refused to do business with companies linked to the Gupta family, who are in business with Zuma’s son.

The same day, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan accused the Guptas of trying to undermine his ministry. He commented in court papers filed to rebut the family’s call for him to force banks to re-open accounts of businesses they control that the lenders closed last year because of allegedly suspicious transactions. The Guptas say there’s no evidence to justify the closure.

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