Daily Archives: April 11, 2016

South Africa: The Unprincipled and Unaccountable Banks Have No Moral Authority to Moralise On the Gupta Issue

press release

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted with the concern and contempt the decision by some South African banks to hypocritically and recklessly ostracise the Gupta businesses, for narrow political ends. The decision by ABSA, FNB, NEDBANK, SASFIN and KPMG to stop doing business and associating with the Guptas is nothing but political posturing. This decision will not only negatively affect the gluttonous Guptas, but will badly affect the innocent workers, who have no dog in that hunt.

COSATU demands answers from these banks; they need to explain why they decided to took these decisions, when workers are facing such a bleak future. Even the discredited and politically toxic people like the Guptas deserve to only be found guilty after a proper due process has been followed and they have never been convicted in a court of law. The federation has acceded to a request by the Guptas for a meeting to discuss the pending job losses in their companies after this decision by the banks.

To prove that they lack any developmental consciousness, they did not think about the implications that their public relations stunt was going to have on the workers. The country is shedding jobs at an alarming rate and some of these banks are actually retrenching workers ,but they saw it necessary to ostracise the Gupta owned companies that employ thousands of innocent workers.

The federation holds no candle for the exploitative Guptas, who are terrible employers and have proven themselves to have no principles or self restraint. But the federation denounces the self serving and hypocritical stance of these banks and financial institutions. They acted without thinking about the fate of thousands of workers employed by the Guptas, and only treated this as a public relations issue. We challenge them to be transparent and prove that they and their shareholders are not doing business with any politically exposed individuals, corporations of regimes.

COSATU is angry that innocent workers find themselves as part of collateral damage in an unprincipled fight between two sections of corporate looters, who are fighting for a sit at the table. These banks do not represent anyone ,except their shareholders, some of whom are foreign financial institutions with a reputation of doing business with unsavoury characters and regimes around the world.

Banks like ABSA have a lot to answer for and they have no right to be preaching to anyone. These institutions are products of an evil apartheid system that was declared a crime against humanity by the United Nations. They have never explained or apologised for their role in propping up and doing business with that regime. They have no moral authority and no right to pontificate about political exposure, while recklessly putting at risk the livelihoods of so many innocent workers.

These are organisations, which call for the de-regulation of labour markets, and advocate for the de-regulation of financial markets in order that they can maximise their profits. This new disdain for blackmoney and patriotic fervour that has suddenly engulfed them is selective and self serving. They have colluded to fix prices and impose high charges on their customers, making it very difficult for the majority to save. They have ostracised the mostly black working class by denying them access to finance and ultimately stopping their participation in the economy.

When it suits them these banks and their rapacious shareholders never forget to tell the workers that money has no motherland; and that their loyalty is to their shareholders. They are daily taking decisions that do not serve the interest of the country and their sudden patriotic fervour can only fool the uninitiated.

While the insatiable Guptas need to be called out for trying to capture the state in order to continue their corrupt accumulation, this does not give monopoly capital the right to moralise. The people of South Africa will fix what is wrong with their government and with their country and do not need unaccountable and guiltless banks and financial institutions to interfere in the political affairs of this country.



Pretoria, April 11, 2016 – A team from the Department of Social Development will tomorrow, April 12, travel to Mozambique to repatriate a child aged 3 years and 6 months who was born to a South African woman imprisoned in that country for drug related crimes.

The mother wrote to the Department of Social Development requesting that the child be repatriated to South Africa for placement in foster care with her extended family – a couple in their fifties – in the Free State Province.

The Mozambican government does not allow children born to imprisoned mothers to stay in prison and requires them to be released immediately after birth, making this repatriation an urgent matter.

The Free State couple is already providing care to the imprisoned woman’s 15 year old brother, for whom they receive government support through the child support grant. Because of their inability to fund the trip to Mozambique, the Department of Social Development will finance the repatriation of the child.

South Africa is obligated by the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 to repatriate children living distress in foreign countries. As such, the Department renders international social services to individuals, children and families confronted with social problems in foreign countries as a consequence of international migration or displacement, as is the case with this child.

Between 2008 and 2015, 18 South African children in distress have been repatriated from foreign countries.



By Veronica Fourie

JOHANNESBURG, April 11 (NNN-SABC) — The effects of drought in South Africa will soon have an impact on milk production which will not only see prices rising dramatically, but a shortage of milk might be experienced as well.

High input costs for farmers, the price of fodder and a shortage of water are all contributing to the looming crisis. Milk production, especially in the northern parts of the country, is under tremendous pressure because of the drought.

KwaZulu-Natal and the North West province are experiencing it the worst and the national chairman of the Milk Producers Organization, Nigel Lok, says a number of factors are at play.

With the drought, there is shortage of maize, along with high prices and many smaller producers going out of business, he notes.

“The main challenge is not just the price of maize, but the price of foliage, of purchasing lucerne (grass), which has gone right through the ceiling. There is a shortage of lucerne because a lot of it is exported to Saudi Arabia,” says Lok.

Lok adds that farmers are paying more for lucerne, also called alfalfa, than what they are getting for milk.

Last year was a good year with an over production of milk. Prices dropped in August. However, this year production is down by 4.0 per cent compared with last year.

Production in Eastern Cape Province is still favourable and the Eastern Cape chairperson of the Milk Producers Organisation, Lourens Gildenhuys, says the provincial industry is healthy.

“It is probably the only province with a growing milk industry and the main reason is that we milk mainly from pastures. But we still have to feed concentrate and that cost has risen dramatically,” adds Gildenhuys.

Milk farmers in the Eastern Cape produce a third of the country’s milk.

A farmer from Cradock, Freddy van Zyl, farms with a thousand cows. He says conditions in the Fish River Valley (FRV) are good. “We have had enough rain, and our only concern is about the Gariep dam where the farmers get their water,” says Van Zyl.

He says the whole irrigation system gets its water the Gariep Dam and it is at a very low level. “Last year this time it was 75 per cent and now it is just over 50 per cent. One of the main reasons is that (national power utility) Eskom is letting water out of this dam at a very high level to generate electricity. It is of concern to the farmers in the FRV.”

Meanwhile, Lok says the price consumers pay is not linked to price farmers are paid for their milk.

“If the supermarkets would come to the party, and reduce their margin, then it is not necessary that there would be much of an increase to the consumer at all. But the fact is that there is going to be a shortage of milk, unless the farm gate price moves up significantly,” says Lok.