AYO Technology Solutions chief executive Howard Plaatjes has said they have been left disappointed by the court decision after their urgent application.
Johannesburg – AYO Technology Solutions is disappointed in the high court’s decision to dismiss its urgent application, chief executive Howard Plaatjes says.
“Today’s (Thurday’s) ruling was a disappointing setback in that the court did not hold with our apparent urgency and has been misinformed about certain material relationships on which he also based his decision.
“Nevertheless, we remain determined to source alternative transactional banking facilities and continue our operations regardless,” Plaatjes said on Thursday night.
“AYO is a solid company with many well-established and respected underlying subsidiaries. That faith and belief in what we have done as a group for more than 20 years is borne out in the support we have received from staff, partners, colleagues and customers alike during this extraordinary time, and I would like to thank each and every one of them.”
Thousands of people had taken to the streets in Johannesburg on Thursday to protest against the conduct of the banks against black-owned businesses.
TransformSA president Adil Nchabeleng said their members wanted to put an end to the corruption in the banks.
“Black people have had enough, you are not going to target us anymore. Banks are quick to liquidate or repossess property belonging to black people.”
Nchabeleng said the latest example of some banks targeting black-owned companies could be seen in the threat to close the bank account of AYO Technology Solutions.
Video: African News Agency (ANA)
Tahir Maepa, of the Public Service and Commercial Union of South Africa, said they blamed the banks for the state of the economy.
“We welcome the bold steps taken by other NGOs to stand up to the banks who are discriminating against black people, the informal sector and black businesses in our country,” said Maepa.
Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association spokesperson Carl Niehaus said he was taking part because some banks in the country were allegedly racist and had exploited black people.
“We continue to see how these banks continue to racially profile black clients. Many of them lose their houses and cars and other properties, and black entrepreneurs are not funded because of racial profiling. Banks have to be fundamentally transformed,” Niehaus said.
“It’s also one of the resolutions that the ANC took on its 54th NEC in 2017, that financial institutions and banks have to be transformed in order to address affordable capital to our people.”
More than 1 200 jobs at AYO Technology Solutions have been put on the line after the high court in Johannesburg ruled that the company’s application to stop FNB from closing its accounts was not urgent.
This happened less than four days before the May 3 deadline of FNB closing the JSE-listed company’s banking facilities.
AYO has been banking with FNB since November 2020, but the bank served the company with notice to terminate the banking relationship on May 3.
In court papers, Plaatjes said they sought urgent relief, pending determination of final relief where they sought setting aside FNB’s decision to close their accounts, among others.
Plaatjes said the consequence of AYO not having transactional banking arrangements in place and without any facilities being provided puts significant limitations on AYO and would lead to the company not being able to operate.
He said that without them AYO could not conduct its business.
Plaatjes detailed in his court papers that it had attempted to seek an audience with FNB in order to request that it reconsider its decision. The bank had refused the request for a meeting.
“It’s necessary to state unequivocally that AYO has not been found guilty of any criminal activities, including money laundering and terrorist financing,” Plaatjes added.
He said the two months’ notice was unreasonable and the risks of closing the accounts were not explained.
Plaatjes said AYO had attempted to open banking facilities with several banks, to no avail.
“In the circumstances, AYO’s business will certainly become unbanked for a period. All of the harm that AYO, its employees and other creditors stand to suffer will be irreversible and permanent,” he said.
“In the end the harm caused by the FNB decision will result in the liquidation of a company which has been historically a profitable business, at a time when jobs are in short supply.”
I his responding affidavit, FNB’s Frederik Basson said AYO were given four days to respond to the application.