JOHANNESBURG – The National Treasury has called for the Competition Tribunal's prosecution of 17 banks accused of colluding and manipulating trading on the currency markets to be allowed to continue without fear, prejudice and undue influence.
Absa, Investec and Standard Bank are the local institutions implicated, and will now have to explain themselves before the panel.
If found guilty, the banks could face a 10% fine of annual turnover dating back to 2007.
Treasury says it's important to note that the South African Reserve Bank is a banking supervisor and does not regulate the behaviour of traders on the market.
Treasury’s Ismail Momoniat says that some people have "jumped the gun" by making various calls on what action should be taken against the guilty banks because there is not enough information yet.
“I think that it’s important that we respect the process because, for example, while there’s three South African banks, most of the banks are foreign banks. There’s over 30 registered South African banks and they have not [all] been charged for this, so let’s not condemn the entire sector.”
This comes after the Economic Freedom Fighters called for the nationalisation of banks and their licenses to be revoked, while the African National Congress said that the allegations showed the ethical crisis within the financial sector.
The Treasury says efforts to introduce a market conduct regulator are underway.
LISTEN: Do we need a state-owned bank