Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said the private sector has no interest in developing the country and wants to collapse the government.
Ntshavheni made these comments in light of Standard Chartered Bank being fined R43 million for manipulating the value of the rand against the US dollar.
Standard Chartered Bank previously pleaded guilty to manipulating the rand between 2007 and 2013, where its traders used illegal tactics to maximise profits.
The Competition Commission announced on Wednesday, 15 November 2023, that it had reached a settlement agreement with the UK-based multinational bank.
In terms of the settlement agreement, Standard Chartered Bank admitted liability for the manipulation of the USD/ZAR currency pair. It also agreed to pay an administrative penalty of R42.7 million.
The Competition Commission explained that Standard Chartered participated in the manipulation of the USD/ZAR currency pair using illegal tactics.
These tactics included fixing bids, offers, bid-offer spreads, the spot exchange rate, and the exchange rate at the FIX.
The bank also divided markets by allocating customers where one trader withholds or pulls his existing bid or offer from the market to allow the other trader to execute his trade.
This conduct contravenes South Africa’s Competition Act, which is why the Competition Commission stepped in.
Standard Chartered is one of 28 banks the Commission is prosecuting for manipulating the USD/ZAR currency pair.
Ntshavheni said at a recent media briefing that the government has maintained “that the performance of the rand and sometimes the performance of the economy has been manipulated by the private sector who has no interest in the development of this country”.
“They continue to engineer and do machinations to make sure that the government collapses.”
“That’s why they also self-feed in the narrative that there’s a collapsing state and a collapsing economy because that’s what they wish for, and their actions do that.”
However, she said the South African economy remains resilient despite the private sector’s efforts.
She also emphasised the importance of consequences for the companies involved in manipulating the rand.
“They cannot be left untouched because they wanted to collapse this country. There must be consequences, and there will be consequences.”