SOUTH AFRICA: Justice and Peace Commission Calls for Improved Regulation of Banks

JOHANNESBURG FEBRUARY 21, 2017(CISA)- Bishop Abel Gabuza, chairman of the Southern Africa Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC), Justice and Peace Commission has called on Parliament to consider further regulations of banks if found guilty of collusion by the competition tribunal.

“If the tribunal confirms commission’s findings, we urge the treasury and the standing committee on finance to institute more effective regulation of banks, in furtherance of the common good, to prevent further market abuse,” said Bishop Gabuza in a statement dated February 20.

According to Bishop Gabuza, this should include efforts to speed up the finalization of the Financial Regulation Bill.

“We particularly insist on the establishment of the market conduct regulator,” he said.

Bishop Gabuza commended the standing committee on finance for its efforts to appraise the concentration levels in the banking sector.

“In any sector, when too much power is concentrated in too few hands, the biggest losers are often the poor and low income earners,”he said.

“So far as it is undertaken in a manner which is consistent with international benchmarks and the interests of the poor, we support government efforts to break the dominance of South Africa’s largest banks and increase access to the economy,”added the prelate.

Bishop Gabuza further called for stronger culture of ethics in the banking sector.

“The bank collusion is a reminder that we need to strengthen ethical infrastructure in the financial sector. We are often worried that, since the banking sector is important for increased investment and faster economic growth, it is often treated as if it is a sector that should be above ethics and the law.  Just like other sectors, the banking sector should be subjected to ethical imperatives and regulatory frameworks… ,” added Bishop Gabuza.

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