The fight for equality despite of race and color has been an issue since a long time and unfortunately it is still a reality. Let’s take the First National Bank or FNB that has been curbing the rights of black bank holders by cunningly manipulating the interest rates. As a result of this white monopoly, the bank is now facing legal consequences in the Equality courts situated in Western Cape and Gauteng.
Let’s get a clearer and simpler picture of this – the bank knowingly charged high rates of interest from the black people. This is a grave cause of inequality on the basis of color and race. This came into light when more than 20000 complainants where lodged against the bank by the black people for discriminating against them and denying them the advantages of low interest rates.
This case was registered in the Equality Courts in the Western Cape and the Gauteng with the help of Emerald van Zyl who is a financial investigating consultant. This denial of basic rights of the black people means the bank has straight away violated the Usury Act which was amended in 1990 that made it compulsory for banks to give benefits of low interest rates on loans taken by black people for low-cost housing sector.
Van Zyl has been taking care of the case and he has made a thorough study of the case by properly analyzing the internal documentation, and based on that the company reviews the decisions taken by Saambou. It evidently shows the series of instructions from the bank that denies the clients of any benefits that he should have received due to lowered interest rates.
According to Van Zyl when the rate of interest on loan decreased by 1% in 1996, the complainants of the case did not get the benefits from this reduced interest rates. After that over the period of next three years, there are numerous changes in the interest rates however the black bond holders did not receive any of these benefits.
Only the white and high cost housing clients received letters informing them about the rate decrease and informing them about the changed interest rates. On the other hand the low cost housing clients did not receive any letter nor did they receive any reduction in the interest rates. This is clearly an example of white monopoly.
Let’s take for example the case of Maria Magdalena Pietersen who bought her house in 1995 and it cost her R61 000. The bank unjustly classified the clients on the basis of their race, and her loan has a unique code PRO 86 which classifies her case under the black low cost housing category. In 2003, Pietersen was paying an interest rate 4% higher than the other white Pietersen, mainly due to the unjust discriminatory practices followed by the FNB bank.
According to the calculations by Van Zyl, FNB owes more than R3bn to the poor black people who have been a victim of FNB’s discriminatory policies. We sincerely hope that justice is done to these people.
This article first appeared on Uncensored Opinion: How FNB robbed Black Bondholders of R3bn and ended in the Equality Court