Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, says UK’s Standard Chartered has agreed to testify as a witness in the prosecution of banks that colluded in the manipulation of the rand over the years.
The bank is one of the five financial institutions that have admitted to taking part in the alleged foreign exchange manipulation scheme, 16 years ago.
It is understood that they and 27 other local and international banks generated about a trillion rand a day between 2007 and 2013, due to price-fixing and market allocation.
Addressing the media in a post cabinet briefing on Monday, Ntshavheni said people can’t be left untouched for trying to collapse South Africa.
The Minister says there will be consequences.
“We have maintained that over the period that the performance of the rand and sometimes the performance of the economy has been manipulated by the private sector, who has no interest in the development of this country.”
The Competition Commission has reached a settlement agreement with the British bank, Standard Chartered, to pay a R43 million fine.
The commission’s spokesperson, Siyabulela Makhunga, says it is in the interest of South Africans that the banks implicated answer for their actions in the courts.
Labour federation, Saftu, has called for the commission to impose hefty fines on local banks implicated in the scandal.
The federation says such behaviour has the potential to sabotage the country’s balance of payment and growth prospects.
Saftu’s spokesperson, Trevor Shaku, says these incidents, among others, shows that we are living under a planned economy.
“This litigation has taken eight years, with these banks playing hide-and-seek and evading being held accountable in South Africa. It is especially outrageous for these banks to evade the law in our country when they have already accepted guilt and paid fines in the United States of America and the United Kingdom.”
The ANC has commended the Competition Commission for their investigation, but demands that all the banks involved in this illegal conduct face criminal charges.
The governing party’s Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri says it is time for law enforcement agencies to act and pursue a criminal case against the individuals involved.
“During this period, the ANC-led government was wrongly blamed for the depreciation of the rand. Our economy was under attack through messaging platforms like Bloomberg and Reuters.”
Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza