SAFTU SUPPORTS COMPETITION COMMISSION’S APPEAL AGAINST LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL BANKS

Source: Competition Commission

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) supports the Competition Commission’s appeal to the Constitutional Court to hold the local and international banks accountable for the Rand/Dollar manipulation that happened between 2007 and 2013

In their appeal, the Commission focuses on 13 banks, including well-known local institutions such as Standard Bank, Nedbank, FirstRand Bank, and ten international banks. The request follows the Competition Appeal Court’s dismissal of the Commission’s case against 23 local and international banks.

The Competition Appeal Court rejected the Commission’s case citing insufficient evidence to prove a single coordinated conspiracy. In November 2023, the Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) admitted guilt and settled with the competition commission. The Commission should not rest until all banks that are part of the manipulating scheme are held accountable. Particularly for local banks, no impression should be created that the commercial banks, which are mere appendages of the central bank, are more powerful than the state. 

The Commission’s appeal aims to clarify whether South African competition authorities have jurisdiction to prosecute firms outside the country whose conduct affects the South African economy. SAFTU opines that the Commission has a jurisdiction, as the manipulation involves the state’s property, the South African Rand (ZAR). 

Though the damages the manipulation would have had in that period have not been quantified, it is arguable, based on other experiences of currency devaluation, to conclude that the manipulation resulted in currency devaluation which in turn affected the working class adversely. That is another reason we strongly argue that the Competition Commission has jurisdiction to adjudicate the matter.

SAFTU appeals to the Commission and its legal representatives to avoid messing up the case so that no bank escapes unscathed.Β 

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