NEWS

Paid Twitter Goes For The Reserve Bank Jugular

This week it was Deputy Reserve Bank Governor Kuben Naidoo's turn.

23/06/2017 06:23 SAST | Updated 23/06/2017 06:23 SAST
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Bank officials have been accused of being puppets of so-called white monopoly capital.

In the same week that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane recommended significant constitutional changes to the mandate of the SA Reserve Bank, the propaganda campaign linked to an influential crony network upped the ante on the bank.

Bank officials have been accused of being puppets of so-called white monopoly capital (WMC) which is often symbolised in the person of businessman Johann Rupert. Images of bank governors have been photoshopped to depict them sitting next to Rupert to indicate a close relationship.

The website wmcleaks.com is the latest incarnation of a massive contra information campaign meant to counter growing allegations of state capture and the leak of a trove of emails linked to the Gupta family.

Daily Maverick revealed the site is linked to a former employee of the family.

Over the past month, a cache of an estimated 200 000 emails has revealed the inner workings of the family's efforts to capture South Africa. Part of the revelations has included anatomical detail of how the British public relations company called Bell Pottinger helped construct a black op and a public campaign to launder the family's reputation.

Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago has been featured in the various blogs and sites linked to this campaign. This week, it was the turn of Deputy Reserve Bank Governor Kuben Naidoo.

As the registrar of banks, he oversees the granting of bank licenses. The Gupta family associates, Salim Essa and Hamza Farooqi, this year failed in their efforts to buy the Habib Overseas Bank through their company Vardospan. The Gupta family have lost their banking facilities from most major local banks because of suspicious transactions.

Two Reserve Bank officials said it was not possible to link the Gupta campaign to the Public Protector's report. One official said the campaign is "part of the sustained attack on economic institutions [like the Treasury and SA Revenue Services]." He said the Reserve Bank came under pressure because it granted banking licenses, granted money printing contracts and governed exchange control transactions. These areas of governance and control made the Bank few friends.