The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) stormed an Absa branch in Durban on Thursday asking that the bank pays back all it allegedly owes the country from the apartheid era.
More than a hundred ANCYL members matched into Absa’s branch on Anton Lembede (formerly Smith) Street in the Durban CBD on Thursday, giving the bank an ultimatum of three weeks to start paying back the R2.25-billion bailout it received from the apartheid government.
This protest was initiated after a leaked draft report from the Public Protector stated that the bank owes the country millions of bailout fund it received from the apartheid government.
P ublic Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s leaked draft report found that billions of payments made to the Bankorp group of banks – which was later acquired by Absa – were irregular, and ordered that the money be paid back into the fiscus.
The report has been argued to be wrongly understood, many South Africans alongside opposition parties have taken on Absa ordering it to begin paying back the money.
“We are here today to ask for the money that was stolen by Absa. Our plan is to disrupt Absa and occupy [it] until such time as the public coffers they have stolen are returned to government‚” said Thinta Cibane‚ ANCYL eThekwini regional secretary.
“The picket is part of a national call for action against Absa in order to force it to pay back the money it looted from our people,” he added as the youths chanted struggle songs which spilled into the street and partially obstructed traffic.
Several SAPS members kept a close eye on the protesters. The situation later calmed down and the group dispersed, leaving strong “pay back” message with the firm even as similar actions are expected in economic hubs across the country.