By BO Staff Writer
The black consciousness movement, Black First Land First (BLF), says it will meet with four young black men who were dismissed by the bank, FNB, for expressing their political views and calling out racism at the company.
The bank monitored business e-mails and WhatsApp group conversations of Siphesihle Jele, Simon Masimula, Sipho Coke and Xolani Nkosi, who were employed as premium bankers at FNB in Sandton.
According to Sunday Independent, the four are charged with making “racially-based and motivated statement which is generalised, which constitutes discriminatory sloganism and which is racist and bigoted in nature”.
In one WhatsApp message, Jele says, “Leaders, as we wake up even on a Saturday and going to slavery, let us also not forget that a black employee cannot afford to buy a house, cannot afford to buy a car and also cannot afford to provide basic commodities for his/her family. Leaders, it is upon us to fight for equality and to transform that untransformed FNB. Leaders, it is also true that the time is now.”
BLF says it will take action against the racist bank.
“Black people in this country are brutalised without any consequences. This high handed behaviour by FNB is calculated to inflict fear in black people so as to paralyze them from raising any questions when racism is experienced,” the movement said in a statement.
“BLF will meet with the victims of racism and shall take direct action this week against FNB. BLF does not tolerate racism and will not allow FNB to get away with murder,” the movement said.
The victims of FNB’s racism say they are being targeted and if they had said negative things about President Jacob Zuma, then they would not have been dismissed.
“I doubt we would have been dismissed if we had heaped praise on Mmusi Maimane and the DA,” Jele told Sunday Independent.
The dismissal of the four is a clear case of racism as the bank’s CEO Jacques Cilliers has made multiple political statements in public plaforms (including attending the anti-Zuma marches in April), but has not been subjected to the same treatment.