By BO Staff Writer
On 19 June 2017 the Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, found amongst others that the South African Government and the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) had failed to recover an amount of R3.2 billion from ABSA that was stolen by it from SARB as indicated in the CIEX report. Furthermore, the Public Protector said that ABSA must pay back an amount of R1.125 billion.
BLF says that following the Public Protector’s findings, it wrote to ABSA demanding that it pays back the money without any further delay – ABSA refused! This it seems prompted the movement to conduct protest actions against the bank.
Subsequently on 28 June 2017 BLF conducted a series of picket actions at over 20 ABSA outlets in Gauteng to get it to pay back the money. Seven of these ABSA branches were shut down. An ultimatum was reportedly given to ABSA to pay back the money within 5 days or else BLF will mobilize society into action towards the national shutdown of ABSA.
This, it is said, has led to ABSA sending a lawyer’s letter to BLF asking them to effectively desist from protesting against ABSA. BLF’s response was, “ABSA voetsek!” In a statement issued yesterday it said, “[w]e want to send a clear message to Maria Ramos and to ABSA, that their threats are empty and we have no regard, nor do we take note of them”. Moreover, “BLF has done nothing against the law and we shall continue to exercise our right to protest, to ensure that ABSA pays back the money”, the movement said.
BLF is evidently undeterred by ABSA’s threats to take legal action against it. To this end it called ABSA and its CEO, Ramos, “a criminal organisation that has broken the law” and “with no moral right to talk about ‘protecting’ (themselves) against a peaceful organisation like BLF”.