TimesLive reports that a year-and-a-half after applying for its banking licence, the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) has successfully launched a co-operative financial institution with 217 members and R141,000 in deposits at the time of its registration. The Sadtu Savings and Credit Co-operative Ltd was registered with the Reserve Bank’s Prudential Authority on May 27 this year. The authority is responsible for regulating banks, insurers, co-operative financial institutions, financial conglomerates and certain market infrastructures. Announcing this after its national executive committee meeting earlier this month, the union said the granting of the licence came after months of hard work, having submitted the application for registration on November 17 2017.
The co-operative bank will have as its members only Sadtu members, who number 250,000, and the union’s employees. Unlike other financial institutions such as private banks and micro-lenders, the bank will not issue shares to outside shareholders. Instead, it says earnings will be returned to members in the form of “lower” interest loans and “high” interest on the members’ deposits. The union said the granting of this licence meant members of Sadtu had achieved what was envisaged by the champion of the Black Consciousness Movement, Steven Bantu Biko, when he said: “Black people shall be free when they own their financial institutions.” The union’s spokesperson, Nomusa Cembu, told Sowetan that Sadtu members would be able to join the co-operative by buying a membership share of R200 and paying a once-off fee of R100.
by Ernest Mabuza