Political tempers are flaring about banks. You may think this is because of the alleged conspiracy by banks to manipulate the value of the rand, but you would be wrong. The facts of that case are wafer thin, and the wrongdoing by certain bankers served only to push their earnings higher, not undermine the state or even weaken the rand. Rather, what we are seeing is a cynical manipulation of the facts as politicians move into election mode.

There is a clear pattern of political blows against banks in the run-up to elections. Shortly before the 2019 elections, parliament rushed through an amendment to the National Credit Act colloquially called the Debt Relief Bill, empowering the National Credit Regulator and the minister of the department of trade, industry and competition to write off unsecured debts of under R50,000 for those earning less than R7,500 almost at their discretion...

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