Nedbank to reopen Sekunjalo accounts on interdict - for now

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  • Nedbank says it will abide by an interim interdict ordering it to retain companies in the Sekunjalo Group as clients.
  • While Nedbank argued the companies were harming its reputation, Sekunjalo said the bank discriminated against it.  
  • Nedbank says it stands by its position that it was within its rights to stop offering banking services to Sekunjalo. 

Nedbank has said it will continue to offer banking services to businessman Iqbal Survé's Sekunjalo Group following an Equality Court ruling. 

Last week the court granted Survé, Sekunjalo and its subsidiaries an interim interdict ordering Nedbank to reopen the bank accounts it had shut, and to refrain from closing others. 

"Nedbank will abide by this decision but will continue its rigorous defence of all matters, based on the legal merits and facts and stands by its position," it said on Tuesday.

"Temporary interdicts are a common procedural remedy pending a full examination of the parties' rights and all relevant facts in due course. No permanent finding has been made at this stage."

Nedbank started to shut the accounts of companies in the Sekunjalo stable in April 2021, citing reputational harm following the publication of the Mpati Commission of Inquiry report.

The report found that the "close relationship" between the Public Investment Corporation's former CEO, Dr Dan Matjila, and Survé created "top-down pressures" on staff members. It also found that the asset manager's investments in companies in the Sekunjalo stable showed a "marked disregard" for standard operating procedures.

While Nedbank viewed the findings as "damning", Sekunjalo attempted to downplay them by arguing that the report made no adverse findings against the company. 

In December last year, some Sekunjalo entities brought urgent applications to the Competition Tribunal and Equality Courts to prevent Nedbank from closing their accounts. The bank was, at the time, one of the few to still offer Sekunjalo some measure of banking services after many other banks cut ties with the group. 

Last week the Equality Court ruled that Nedbank had to keep offering Sekunjalo banking services pending a full hearing into Sekunjalo's claims of discrimination.  

Survé described the interim interdict as a "resounding victory for not only Sekunjalo and its Group of Companies, but for all South Africans who have faced any form of discrimination by the banking fraternity".

A date has not yet been set for the full hearing. 

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