The country's Competition Commission said it had been investigating a case of price-fixing and market allocation in the trading of foreign currency pairs involving the rand since April 2015. The SA Competition Commission today said it concluded an investigation into whether banks took part in a cartel to rig currency quotes to customers who were buying or selling its local currency.
Sign up to our daily newsletter for your chance to win. The profit-driven assault on the South African rand through such collusion and corruption by the banks flies in the face of efforts by the South African nation to prosperity for all. The banks were also accused of using trading chat rooms to coordinate times for the sale of rands or to stop selling for a time in order to manipulate prices from 2007.
"Their credibility is now questioned on the issue of currency manipulation, when indeed their credibility is also being questioned in terms of their stranglehold over the South African economy, in the words of President Jacob Zuma", said Daniel Silke, director of the Political Futures Consultancy in Cape Town.
Cape Town - The Competition Commission on Wednesday referred a collusion case to the tribunal for prosecution against 17 banks, including three of South Africa's big banks.
The South African rand has almost halved in value against the United States dollar over the past five years, as the country goes through an economic crisis.
The SARB said at the time of the launch of the Competition Commission's investigation, a joint SARB and Financial Services Board (FSB) process was already underway to review foreign exchange operations of authorised foreign exchange dealers in the domestic market. Upon sentencing, banks affected can appeal to South Africa's Competition Appeal Court.
The opposition Economic Freedom Fighters is calling for the banks to have their operating licences immediately revoked.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance said the timing of the price-fixing case seems suspicious."The DA takes note of the Competition Commission's referral of the matter to the Tribunal and will wait for the law to take its course", said DA MP and shadow Minister of Economic Development Michael Cardo.
Some South Africans on Twitter have been using the hashtag #BanksCollusion to urge national media to intensify their reporting. After holding hearings on anti-trust claims, Tribunal would make a finding.
The Commission added that the cases will be brought under anti-trust rules, which effectively limit the class action to South African claimants.