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Equality Court to test allegations that FNB discriminates against black clients

Emerald Van Zyl is a private financial consultant who has been waging a legal fight against South African banks for more than a decade.

FILE: An FNB bank. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)’s Special Assignment recently did a story looking into claims by some black homeowners who believe they were discriminated against by First National Bank compared to white homeowners.

Emerald Van Zyl, a private financial consultant who has been waging a legal fight against South African banks for more than a decade, says that more than 4,000 bank customers were charged 30% or more on their home loans and these are primarily black customers who have mortgages with banks.

These allegations will now be making their way to the Equality Court in a matter of weeks.

Van Zyl has described these revelations as the biggest interest and coverup scandal in the history of African banking because he claims that the South African Reserve Bank, Banking Ombudsman's Office, the Standing Committee on Finance in Parliament and the Human Rights Commission are aware of this but fail to act.

“The Ombud of the Banking Ombudsman's Office denied any sort of discrimination against these accounts when I informed him two years ago.”

He says, while the Equality Court has been looking into the matter, FNB tried all means to delay the matter.

Lee Mhlongo, the CEO of FNB Home Finance, said the bank’s view on the allegations are that they are "reckless, baseless and extremely hurtful to the 46,000 odd people" working for the institution.

Listen to the audio below for more

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