The Zondo commission heard testimony this week from banking executives on the interaction in 2016 between themselves and both the ANC and the government on their decision to close the accounts of the Gupta family. Despite some expectations that the commission would not reveal anything new, their testimony was frankly shocking. At the time, both sides presented the issue as a more or less civil discussion on the process of closing accounts generally. In fact, it turns out that the discussions were much angrier. They focused not on the issue in general but almost exclusively on the Gupta family’s accounts and they were informed by the "white monopoly capital" narrative.

The bullying and cajoling went so far as an implicit threat to pull the licence of the banks if they would not reverse their decision. A threat was also made to change the law to make banks unable to close accounts and, most outrageously, a suggestion was made that banks should break the law in order to make sure...

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