Finally; a people-worthy bank – looking out for the greater socialist good

CAPE TOWN — There’s definitely sufficient impetus in South Africa to support the idea of a State Bank which will do away with the capitalist notion of open competition to wholly and solely support the previous disadvantaged. As is our historical wont, placing the right people in the right positions to make things work is crucial and the author puts forward some deserving names with track records that make them ideal for the job. In fact, so obvious is their candidature that President Cyril Ramaphosa should appoint them immediately, thus creating much-needed unity in the ruling party and his cabinet. Those who’ve survived storms the longest should get the more senior positions to ensure resilience in the turbulent global financial markets – and that the best channels are used to disperse annual profits. Even if it takes several more months for candidates currently otherwise occupied in prestigious and influential positions to be rendered available, it will be worth the wait. After all, they know how to work with other key State institutions and at getting the Economic Freedom fighters onside via a few well-timed sweeteners. Everybody who is anybody in the New South Africa wins. Chuck Stephens satirical analysis of the State Bank. Read on… – Chris Bateman

By Chuck Stephens*

A State bank? What a delicious idea.

The State has done such a great job of running the national airline, and the power utility – that running a bank is a no-brainer.

We could get SITA (State Information Technology Agency) to set up its on-line banking.

We could send out four “lions” to mobilize depositors. How about Tom Moyane? He’s not busy. Or Brian Molefe? He’s used to golfing in the big leagues. And Sanjiv Gupta will be available soon, when Bank of Baroda finally closes. These guys know how to attract big capital. And keep space number four open for Supra, he will be available soon.

File Image: South Africa’s coffers are running dry. More magic available at

Couldn’t these four “lions” attract foreign investors? Preferably black Americans or Asians, because we want to change the colour of banking, don’t forget.

Maybe Minister Gordhan could convince his SOEs to switch their accounts over to a State Bank?

He could get Prasa to be a locomotive for change – now instead of the Big Four we will have the “Big Five”. It sound positively natural for a country led by the Buffalo man.

Ace Magashule could teach the bank tellers a few tricks. How to convince the customers that they are getting great service while no longer supporting “white majority capital”. Just don’t tell them how it will help our “black minority capital”. Make it sound more like it’s a Credit Union and don’t let on that it’s just another cash-cow for the governing elite. In banking terminology – a pay-later plan.

How about Mduduzi Manana for HR Manager? He will soon be looking for a new challenge.

And Patricia de Lille as the Bank manager? They say that she’s very adept with figures.

We can get KPMG to be our auditors. That should attract lots of Savers right here close to home. Nothing instills confidence in a bank more that pin-stripe suits.

It’s about time that the Post Office rose above selling Zama Zama tickets. The line-ups move so slowly you have to concentrate to tell if they are really inching forward. Between ramping up Postbank and paying out all the Social Benefits, this well-oiled institution can really strut it stuff. Stamps? No one uses them anymore anyway, everyone uses Social Media. Post boxes are going the way of Telex machines. Who needs them?

Stokvels will go extinct. People will think that “stokvel” is a word from the dying language of the Ba Boroa. Man, this State Bank idea really has some great angles to it.

Oh, and will someone tell ABSA to go back to Barclay’s Blue, please? We want red to be reserved for this new State Bank, so that no one will forget whose great idea it was. The bank tellers should all wear red berets, too, just to make sure no one misses this subliminal message.

Oh and forget Automatic Telling Machines altogether. They don’t work when there’s load-shedding anyway. Let’s deploy as many of the unemployed as possible in a labour-intensive approach. Sort of like Capitec, where the staff usually outnumbers the customers. That will give it “the look and feel” of authentic grassroots Community Banking. Even though it’s just another top-down State institution.

Mohammed Yunus of the real Grameen Banks once said: “Banks ask, are the people Credit-worthy? We ask, are the Banks People-worthy?” How can another State-run institution possibly better the record of banking in the Rainbow Nation?

  • Chuck Stephens is from the Desmond Desmond Tutu Centre for Leadership and writing in his own capacity.
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