The dangers of political interference in banks

Standard Bank group has asked the High Court to prevent President Jacob Zuma and his ministers from intervening in its decision to close bank accounts belonging to Gupta-linked companies.

The legal bid was filed in the Pretoria High Court on Wednesday.

The bank has reportedly argued that ministerial threats to review South Africa’s banking regulations and comments from Zuma that he is considering requests for a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the Gupta account closures have no legal basis.

Cas Coovadia, Managing Director of the Banking Association says any kind of political interference puts the client’s confidentiality at risk and undermines a bank's independence.

“We have banking system that is recognised for having processes and systems in place to ensure that we do our business in a way that does not detract from our ability to do business and to relate to banks in other parts of the world.”

Cas Coovadia, Managing Director Banking Association

“Any such interference from government or a political party would actually send out a message that we are not independent, that we are not protecting client confidentiality and that we are subject to political interference which could be disastrous to the industry.”

Cas Coovadia, Managing Director Banking Association

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