Sekunjalo Investment Holdings (SIH) chairperson, Iqbal Survé, has called on South Africans who have fallen victim to exorbitant interest rates, and who are suffering because of banks repossessing their properties, to join his class-action suit instead of suffering in silence.
Survé voiced this call to action during an interview with online discussion platform, Insight Factor, which broadcasts to the world through its Twitter account.
He said those who had lost their homes and cars through repossession as a result of unaffordable interest rates on bonds and credit loans, should join the class-action suit led by Gardee Godrich Attorneys.
By February, more than 6 000 people had joined the legal proceedings instituted by Survé and 42 others at the Western Cape Equality Court.
A human rights lobby group, Lungelo Lethu Human Rights Foundation, revealed in 2018 that it had dealt with cases where houses belonging to the poor were sold at auction for as little as R10.
The sale in execution (SIE) had, in the main, been because of defaulting on a mortgage repayment after which a default judgement had been taken out against them, leaving them none the wiser in the process.
Activist King Sibiya of the foundation said: “Our courts are not on our side. They are on the banks’ side.
“There have been properties sold, even after the banks issued letters that they were paid up.
“The banks often justify the situation by saying that it was caused by an error within the banking system. How do you address it?”
Meanwhile, Survé said the banks’ alleged racist practices have resulted in South Africa being ranked as the most unequal country in the world.
This as the country’s financial institutions appeared unwilling to support black people, poor people, black professionals or black entrepreneurs.
Survé has gone to the Competition Tribunal and Equality Court to force a group of major banks to overturn their decision to close Sekunjalo and related entities’ bank accounts, which has been done without providing proof that he or companies in the Sekunjalo Group, had committed any wrongdoing.
The Daily Voice is a newspaper in the stable of Independent Media, which is owned by Sekunjalo.
Survé said the banks’ decision was based on systematic racism and that their oligopoly is based on their belief that they are powerful and untouchable.
He slammed the fact that the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), which is supposed to be regulating the banks, is still one of the very few in the world that is not owned by the state, but by private shareholders.
He said while the SARB was supposed to be supervising the banks, there was a conflict of interest, as the banks are shareholders in the central bank.
“We have a crazy situation here, whereby the SARB, which is supposed to be owned by our government, is owned by ABSA, Investec, FNB (among others).
“How can you be a player and referee at the same time?” he asked.