Fire Chris Hart or face boycott, ANCYL warns Standard Bank

Members of ANCYL Gauteng singing at the entrance of the Standard Bank head offices in Johannesburg CBD. (Mpho Raborife, News24)
Members of ANCYL Gauteng singing at the entrance of the Standard Bank head offices in Johannesburg CBD. (Mpho Raborife, News24)

Johannesburg - The ANC Youth League said on Thursday that it would call for a national boycott of Standard Bank if the company did not fire economist Chris Hart.

"Within its corporate corridors racism and apartheid is still alive," ANCYL Gauteng chairperson Matome Chiloane said during a march to the bank's headquarters in the Johannesburg CBD on Thursday.

He called on Standard Bank to make an example of Hart because South Africans were no longer willing to tolerate racism.

"We want him to get fired, because if they don't fire him, we are going to advice on an economic boycott. We are going to advise all Africans, in particular black people, that they must close their accounts with that bank because it is harbouring racists," Chiloane said.

Standard Bank suspended Hart on Monday after he tweeted on January 3: "More than 25 years after apartheid ended, the victims are increasing along with a sense of entitlement and hatred towards minorities."

The youth league said they would call for government and black businesses to also close their accounts.

"We are going to shut down Standard Bank," Chiloane said.

The ANCYL handed a memorandum to Standard Bank's executive head in Gauteng, Joshua Zwane, just after midday.

The group of about 120 youth league members had been marching and singing in the 31° degree heat since 11:00. Zwane thanked them for braving the heat and exercising their constitutional right to march.

He told the crowd the bank had distanced itself from Hart's utterance on Twitter "as a good corporate citizen of this country" and immediately suspended him.

Zwane said the company had to comply with the Labour Relations Act, which required that due process be followed when an employee was suspended.

Zwane said the bank's group CEO Sim Tshabalala and Chiloane had met to discuss the matter, and would meet again next week.

Photos by Mpho Raborife, News24.

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