By Mia Slabbert
A citizen must pay tax, even if he or she is angry with government. However, this is not the case with clients. When a client is only a little dissatisfied with a service, he or she can immediately withdraw their money. Discovery runs this very risk because they aren’t listening to their clients’ concerns.
Dr Dirk Hermann, Chief Executive of Solidarity, addressed media and members of the public about this, yesterday at Discovery’s head office in Sandton. The trade union, Solidarity, handed over a memorandum and votes of approximately 200 000 people that are against the implementation of Discovery Bank’s proposed share scheme, which excludes white people, to Discovery Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Barry Hore.
This handover follows after Solidarity launched a massive campaign to collect NO-votes against the implementing of Discovery Bank, where 10% of shares in the bank will be given to black clients. These NO-votes were displayed in the form of 200 bags, each representing a thousand NO-votes from the public, placed on the steps of Discovery’s massive building.
According to Hermann South Africa cannot move forward if people’s race and background withholds them from opportunities. Therefore, these 200 bags are a symbol of the extreme dissatisfaction members are experiencing with Discovery’s bank that launches this month.
Thousands of people, which includes supporters, members and online petitions among others, has undersigned Solidarity’s petition against the implementing of the bank in its current format.
“The dismay that is currently experienced in terms of this bank, is about the fact that faithful Discovery clients are excluded from a share scheme merely based on the colour of their skin. Discovery must know, that if he continues to implement the governments absolute race ideology which excludes people based on their race, there will be necessary consequences,” said Hermann.
This bank is seen as a new generation bank, the first bank where people will gain benefits based on the behaviour. Clients will receive better or worse benefits, depending on their financial behaviour. Dynamic interest rates are also a function of this behavioural bank, where your interest rate is directly linked to your financial behaviour. If the client shows good financial behaviour, he or she will qualify for better interest rates.
However, black clients receive 10% shares in the bank, because they are black. “Discovery Bank will indeed be a new generation bank, a bank where everyone will be equal, but where black clients will be more equal than white clients,” said Hermann.
According to Morné Malan, senior researcher at the Solidarity Research Institute, it is important to emphasise that there is no legal obligation on Discovery to follow through with this strategy. “The Banking Act, general regulations, provisions from the South African Reserve Bank, even the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Act, does not one make any mention of such an obligation. They – Discovery Bank – are most likely basing their decision on the so-called Financial Sector Charter.”
“The campaign against Discovery can more accurately be described as a campaign against corporate South Africa,” said Malan.
“One of the more intrusive misbeliefs is that big corporations are often in opposition with government; that the private sector is constantly protecting itself against the influence of the public sector,” said Malan.
According to Hermann it cannot be justified that some clients are considered more important and equal than others. “These clients stay in the same neighbourhoods, drive the same cars, their children attend the same schools, but when it comes to Discovery, they do not receive the same benefits. Discovery awards benefits based on race,” said Hermann.
Hermann believes the trade union’s message to Discovery is merely that he – Discovery – should note that if he proceeds to roll out the bank in its current format, there will be thousands of people who will not support it.
Hore receive the memorandum but chose not to comment on the Bank or the public’s comments.
“The mere fact that Hore did not say anything, serves as more reason for Solidarity to take this campaign to the next level,” Hermann concluded with seriousness.