By BO Staff Writer
In a press statement released this morning, from a press conference held yesterday, the Black First land First (BLF) movement announced that it would picket 50 ABSA branches on Saturday, following the leaked preliminary report of the public protector finding that ABSA should pay back money it stole from state coffers towards the dawn of democracy.
“BLF wishes to call on society to assist in making sure we defeat the massive coverup which is being hatched by the media, by ABSA (through lies) and through the opposition political parties (through diverting attention away from ABSA) by invoking diversionary tactics like the Guptas,” the statement reads.
“BLF is calling on the nation, progressive organisations, the church, revolutionary people’s movements, the revolutionary students and individuals to join the call for ABSA to pay back the money!”
The statement also intricately covers BLF’s High Court application against Pravin Gordhan to declare him “conflicted, compromised and captured by white capital”, their criminal case, now with the HAWKS, against those who stole R26 billion from the Reserve Bank, and their support for Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, amongst other pressing issues.
Read the full press statement below:
This conference serves to clarify two important matters. Firstly, it is to announce the Black First Land First (BLF) position on the leaked report of the Public Protector relating to Absa and to this end the rolling protest actions our movement is going to conduct so as to ensure that ABSA pays back the money. Secondly, it is called to give an update on the BLF High Court application to have Pravin Gordhan declared, “compromised, conflicted and captured” and therefore unable to carry out his duties as Minister of Finance.
Update on BLF High Court application against Pravin Gordhan
We will start with clarifying this matter of the conference first. On 26 October 2016, BLF lodged a Notice of Motion supported by a founding affidavit setting out the grounds of its application with the High Court in Pretoria against Minister Pravin Gordhan and some of the banks. BLF seeks an order, amongst other things, in the following terms:
1. That Pravin Gordhan be declared conflicted, compromised and captured by white capital.
2. That Pravin Gordhan be compelled by the Court to comply with the recommendations of the CIEX report which shows that R26 billion was stolen from the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) by amongst others, the Stellenbosch businessman Johann Rupert and ABSA bank.
3. That Pravin Gordhan provides the information requested by BLF on the R68.6 billion declared by companies as illegally taken out of South Africa in 2003 and the terms and condition that justified the payment of only R26.9 billion in fines by the companies concerned. Gordhan must also indicate what happened to those who didn’t disclose monies illegally taken out of the country?
The founding affidavit submitted to the Court shows how Minister Gordhan has been unable to carry out his duties impartially because he is beholden to the big banks. The evidence shows that not only did these banks insist that he be employed as Minister of Finance, but he has shares in the same organisations. The evidence is very strong against Pravin Gordhan.
His compromised position has seen him failing to carry out his duties as one of the ministers mandated by cabinet to deal with the Oakbay banking saga. We submitted evidence that shows that Gordhan didn’t attend a single meeting of the Inter-ministerial Committee chaired by Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. The reason for this is simple. Gordhan works for and defends white banks who are also his business partners. Gordhan benefits directly from the shares he holds in those banks and he is doing their bidding.
Further evidence that Gordhan is biased in favour of the banks is provided by the illogical High Court application lodged by him for a declaratory order that he is “not by law empowered or obliged to intervene in the relationship” between the banks and Oakbay regarding the closing of the bank accounts held by Oakbay. As evidence would show in time – Gordhan did all that to defend the big banks and to peddle rumors and lies to tarnish the imagine of Oakbay which is seen as being in competition with the banks.
The lawyers of Pravin Gordhan have now for the third time asked to be given more time to respond to the papers submitted by BLF. Today is the last day of the third request. BLF has on each occasion been courteous enough to grant the requests without asking for reasons. We have no ill intension against Gordhan. We want fair play and our matter is very strong. We wait for Gordhan’s papers with great anticipation. BLF shall certainly see this matter to the end and Pravin Gordhan shall ultimately be declared, “compromised, conflicted and captured”.
Criminal case against those who stole the R26 billion
BLF has also opened a criminal case against those who stole the R26 billion. The case is currently being investigated by the HAWKS. BLF alleges that ABSA and others (including Johann Rupert) unlawfully gained from the so called “life boats”. Furthermore, we point out that ABSA was amongst the entities that represent white monopoly capital which have once more unlawfully interfered with the powers of the President to appoint Ministers. ABSA stands accused of demanding that the President of the country must appoint Pravin Gordhan as Minister of Finance. This begs the question, did ABSA want Gordhan as Minister of Finance so that he can continue to protect it? What makes this scenario even worse is the fact that the Minister of Finance derives direct benefit from ABSA through his shareholding.
BLF is calling on the President to remove Pravin Gordhan as Minister of Finance because he is conflicted, compromised and captured. We cannot have a Minister of Finance implicated in cover-ups, in the possible criminal prosecution of those who wanted him appointed as Minister of Finance and in having done nothing about the massive theft from the Ministery he is responsible for.
ABSA BLF victory
The leaked report of the Public Protector on the investigations of the “lifeboats” has vindicated BLF. We have said that there was wrongdoing in how the R26 billion was taken from the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). BLF won’t gloat and say, “we told you so!”
BLF has tasted partial victory in its long difficult battle to recover the R26 billion stolen by white capital from SARB. We have undertaken a consistent struggle to let white capital pay back the money.
To this end 26 members of our movement have spent 8 nights in jail last July for protesting the lack of action by the former Public Protector on the investigation which was lodged with her in 2011 and which has until her departure from her office been gathering dust. The 26 BLF members are out on bail and will be appearing on 2 February 2017 in the Tshwane Regional Court. Our struggle is not in vain. BLF is going to continue to monitor the process towards investigating the stolen R26 billon and where necessary, take both protest and legal action to get progress.
BLF supports Advocate Mkhwebane
BLF notes the attacks on the Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane by agents of the London agenda and by servants of Johann Rupert. The Public Protector’s sin was that she did her job without fear, favour or prejudice – unlike the previous Public Protector who served and defended white capital. Advocate Madonsela refused to complete the investigation and had practically abandoned it for four years. She only started working on it again after BLF intervened but did nothing meaningful in this respect.
Advocate Mkhwebane is attacked by the agents of whites because she has touched their handlers. The agents of London are worried that once ABSA pays back the money, Johann Rupert will also have to do the same because he benefited from the same process. Advocate Mkhwebane is being attacked so that attention is shifted from the fact that white capital has stolen from the people!
BLF can confirm that it’s a lie that the TV channels at the Public Protector’s Office are only showing one channel. When we visited the Office of Public Protector, we saw that ENCA (known as Rupert TV) was also on the screens.
BLF calls on all the people of South Africa to come out and defend the Office of Public Protector. We ask the people of South Africa to be wary of the agents of London who have given political power to whites and are now also defending the economic power of these whites.
BLF notes that there is still a long way to go before recovery of the stolen funds including those stolen by Daimler Chrysler, Johann Rupert and ARMSCOR which together amounts to a total of R26billion. These are public funds and must be recovered without any further delays.
BLF has already briefed its lawyers to advice on the possibility of instituting civil claims against the relevant perpetrators to recover the money. We are awaiting a legal opinion on this.
Maria Ramos lies to ABSA shareholders and the public
BLF is shocked by the lies told by the CEO of ABSA, Maria Ramos, in her response to the leaked Public Protector’s report into ABSA. BLF is a stakeholder in the ongoing investigation by the Public Protector on the R26 billion stolen from SARB by white monopoly capital including ABSA.
Ramos chose to mislead the shareholders of ABSA and the public by inventing lies created out of a selective application of facts. Ramos has chosen delaying tactics and distortions instead of being ethical and truthful.
Ramos has chosen to hid behind Judge Dennis Davis’ recommendations, which are themselves open to questioning , but says nothing about his finding that unlawful acts were committed which implicates ABSA. Judge Davis is wrong to absolve ABSA of the liability to repay the funds it has unlawfully benefited from. How can a stolen property ever be exchanged on “fair value”? This is unethical.
If Ramos is going to rely on prior investigations she can’t pick and choose what she likes and be silent on the damning findings of other investigations. For instance, Judge Heath like Davis found that unlawful activities were committed implicating ABSA. Heath went further and found that ABSA was liable to pay back the money. However; like Davis, Heath balked unethically from recommending that ABSA pay back the money. His reasoning that such a recommendation would affect the banking sector adversely is tantamount to institutionalising crime and corruption and this can’t be sustained.
Ramos is furthermore strategically silent on the findings of Ciex which have been corroborated by the preliminary findings of the Public Protector. Ciex logically and factually found ABSA liable to pay back the money. Ramos must not worry about Sanlam – it’s going to pay for its own sins.
We call on the shareholders of ABSA specifically, Barclays, which has benefited from the proceeds of a crime to show moral rectitude and distance itself from Ramos and her dirty tactics, and to demand that she pay back the money stolen by ABSA by virtue of having acquired benefit from a criminal activity.
BLF furthermore wishes to inform both the ABSA shareholders and the public that a criminal case has been opened against ABSA and it is currently being investigated by the HAWKS. Ramos is wasting both the financial resources of ABSA in defending the indefensible and also wasting the time of the people of South Africa.
BLF ask Ramos to stop with the delaying tactics and ensure that ABSA pays back the money. This money will be used towards creating employment for the black youth and also contribute towards the Fees Must Fall process.
We note that Johann Rupert has also come out in panic and try to shield himself with a lot of lies. Our advice to Johann Rupert is that he must not panic. He must do the right thing and pay back the money. Rupert seems to be misled by his agents that they can protect him. This is not true. He must pay back the money and also face criminal charges.
Mbeki, Manuel and Mboweni must apologize for ABSA billions
BLF calls on former President Thabo Mbeki, former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and former Governor of SARB Tito Mboweni to apologize to the nation for failing to protect the national assets.
The three were entrusted by the nation by virtue of their positions at the time to be guardians of the wealth of the nation and to safeguard the same. The leaked report of the Public Protector on the investigation on the “life boats” confirms that the three had unethically and possibly illegally protected white capital from paying back the R26billion stolen from the SARB.
BLF is aware that the three had all along been aware of the contents of the CIEX report which implicates numerous banking entities and other businesses in unlawful activities. BLF is also aware that amongst the individuals that benefited from these unlawful activities is Johann Rupert. This raises serious questions given the close relationship the businessman has with some of the three.
BLF says to Mbeki, Manuel and Mboweni – Now is the time. Come forward and admit your gross error of judgment that borders on dereliction of your duties. Confess and ask for forgiveness.
More importantly the three are called upon to encourage all those implicated in the R26billion theft from SARB to forthwith pay back the money and thereby save State resources. Otherwise the matter is likely to go into lengthy and costly court processes and possible judicial commissions of inquiry.
BLF wishes to warn Mbeki, Manuel and Mboweni that as things stand those facing criminal charges regarding the theft of the R26 billion are listed as potential state witnesses. But if they persist with withholding information and protecting white capital they may themselves be persecuted for criminal activity.
SA law is clear that officials in government are compelled by law to act on any wrong doing that come to their attention. They didn’t!
Protest Action against ABSA
BLF notes the attitude of senior government officials, the media and some opposition parties to shield ABSA from paying back the money. ABSA itself has resorted to lying and arrogance instead of the truth and cooperation. They are rehashing lies told before which have no basis at all.
BLF believes ABSA is lying even when it says it paid part of the illegal gift from SARB. Evidence which we shall put before the Public Protector shows that in fact there was no paying back at all that has happened. Instead there were only “simulated” transactions (these are fake computer generated transactions which do not involve any payment of actual money).
BLF wishes to call on society to assist in making sure we defeat the massive coverup which is being hatched by the media, by ABSA (through lies) and through the opposition political parties (through diverting attention away from ABSA) by invoking diversionary tactics like the Guptas. The Guptas didn’t ask ABSA to benefit illegally from theft.
Only public protest actions and agitation shall make sure that the truth does not die. Only if we take collective action can we ensure that ABSA pays back the money.
BLF has planned a series of public actions to ensure that ABSA pays back the money!
We wish to further note that those who in 2015 said they will occupy ABSA in 2016 ”next year”, have not done so. This is because they have been instructed by London not to act against ABSA. The plan seems to be to wait until the London based Barclays Bank sells its major stake in ABSA. The failure to act on ABSA by people who said they would is a clear indication that the interests of London are paramount in how they act.
We must recall how these very people are quick to disrupt parliament and shout that the President pays back the money but are quite on ABSA even after evidence of how it unlawfully benefitted is clear. President Zuma has paid back the money. Now ABSA must pay back the money!
BLF is calling on the nation, progressive organisations, the church, revolutionary people’s movements, the revolutionary students and individuals to join the call for ABSA to pay back the money!
1. Present proposals to the Public Protector before 28 February, which will include the call for the recovered money to be allocated for specific uses, namely: Free education and for the empowerment of the unemployed black youth.
2. Conduct picket actions this coming Saturday at 50 ABSA outlets nationwide, from 8am to 13:00.
3. March to SARB on 17 February in Tshwane. SARB has not done anything to protect the national assets stolen by white capital and successive governors of SARB have defended white capital. The current leadership of SARB is beholded to the white owned banks and capital and therefore there is little reason to think that they will cooperate with the Public Protector in a manner that would help to return our stolen billions!
4. On the evening of Saturday 28 January, a public dialogue shall be held on “why must ABSA pay back the money”.
WHAT IS A PICKET?
We wish to explain the difference between a march and a picket because there is confusion in this regards:
1. A picket is a demonstration of no more than 15 protesters. If protesters are 15 or less they can picket without any permission from the police.
2. Protesters must be peaceful and not obstruct the entrances to buildings.
3. Protesters can shout slogans etc.
4. Protesters may carry banners and posters.
5. Protesters may distribute pamphlets etc.
To numberists, we wish to make it clear that the pickets shall be held within the stipulated requirements of 15 people per outlet of ABSA and 50 of these pickets are planned nationwide – the number may increase by the weekend.
The response has been great from members and sympathizers. The picket is a first in a series of actions to be undertaken against ABSA. BLF shall use both protest action and legal means to recover the money. We wish to assure the nation that the money shall be paid back!
BLF National Convener