Oakbay staff call for banks to reopen company accounts

A group of around 100 Oakbay employees have marched to Absa to hand over a memorandum.

A group of around 100 Oakbay employees marched to Absa on 26 April 2016. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Dozens of Oakbay Investment employees have taken to the streets of Johannesburg to convince banks to reopen their accounts.

The Reserve Bank has been asked to investigate whether the banks, which had business relationships with the Gupta family, complied with all the relevant provisions of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act when closing the accounts.

The banks have refused to do business with the Gupta linked company amid widespread allegations of state capture.

A group of around 100 Oakbay employees marched to Absa to hand over a memorandum.

The employees are holding up banners saying they can't survive if they don't get their salaries.

Earlier, they arrived outside Absa bank, calling on management to come and receive their memorandum of demands.

A man says the march is about fighting for every employee who is expecting a salary at the end of the month.

"They are not being paid so we stand together being in the same company. I have children to support, I must support my children."

The group also handed over memorandums at FNB and Standard bank.

They say today's march is important for their future.

"Some of us, where we come from, they didn't block our accounts, but we're here to support our brothers and sisters. And we're hoping that with this march we've put enough pressure to the banks so that they may reopen our accounts."

They will march to Standard Bank and FNB before dispersing.

BANKS REACT

Financial institutions that have closed their accounts of Oakbay Investments say they'll respond to employees in the next two weeks about whether they'll review the decision.

March organiser Aphiwe Bukani says they want the banks to reconsider because they need their jobs.

"They didn't indicate how much time they would need but I would assume it would take a week or so. We do also understand that there have been ministers who were deployed to mete with the banks. From our side we are giving them at least two weeks to get back to us."