‘THIS is the third high-profile money-laundering scandal to involve major British banks this year,’ John McDonnell, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said yesterday, responding to reports allegedly linking British banks to money-laundering and a serious corruption scandal in South Africa.
London has become notorious as a global centre for money-laundering … It’s time the Chancellor considered a wide-ranging independent inquiry that leaves no stone unturned in rooting out unlawful and damaging activity. The government cannot continue to drag its feet on this matter as it will be the British banking industry as a whole that risks long-term damage to the reputation on which it depends,’ he said.
HSBC and Standard Chartered are the UK banks which have been linked to the South Africa scandal, with the Serious Fraud Office looking to investigate how deeply they are involved.
It comes after Labour Lord Peter Hain let the cat out of the bag in the House of Lords. He said the banks may ‘inadvertently have been conduits’ for laundered money, and that up to £400m of illicit funds ‘may have been moved by the banks’.
This relates to the deepening corruption scandal in which links have been made between South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma and a wealthy business family, the Guptas.
Hain, in a letter written to Chancellor Philip Hammond said a whistleblower has named 27 people, in addition to companies, adding that any person or firm linked to alleged corruption in South Africa is ‘going to be badly contaminated’.
The Treasury has referred Hain’s letter to regulators, including the Financial Conduct Authority and the Serious Fraud Office, who will investigate. With the overthrow of the apartheid regime in 1994, the ANC, supported by the trade union movement COSATU and the Stalinist South African Communist Party (SACP), emerged as a bourgeois party dedicated to keeping capitalism thriving and keeping the working class firmly in its place.
All the wealth of South Africa, in particular the diamond, gold and platinum mines remained firmly in the hands of the big capitalists. For their role in keeping the capitalists intact, the leaders of the ANC were handsomely rewarded, with Ramaphosa, who is President Zuma’s favourite successor, taking a big stake in the Lonmin mine.
The British-based Lonmin mining company treats its workers as dispensable and has them on slave wages. At Lonmin’s Marikana mine, five years ago a horrific massacre took place where 37 striking miners were gunned down by the police. This was a turning point in the revolutionary struggles of the South African working class.
Both the heavily corrupted President Zuma and his Deputy, Ramaphosa, are hated by South African workers. And the South African socialist revolution is well underway. The urgent task is the building of the revolutionary party in South Africa, to lead the working class in the taking of power, seizing ownership and control of the mines and the wealth and nationalising the lot under workers’ management, sweeping away the Zumas and Ramaphosas of this world and the ANC with them.
The big revelation, that Zuma’s connections to the mine-owning Gupta family, the richest family in South Africa, which has in itself direct links to UK banks, shows the international nature of the crisis of capitalism.
That the fall of Zuma can trigger a banking crash in Britain, shows the fragility of world capitalism and the total bankruptcy of the global banking system and in particular in the UK.
However, the British rulers are as ruthless as the system is fragile. This is why the outlook of reformism, articulated so clearly by Labour leader Corbyn, who in his speech to the Labour Party Conference, suggested that capitalism can be restructured to benefit the many rather than the few, is also completely bankrupt.
Capitalism is a system where the rulers do no work and own everything and the working class own nothing and do all the work. This is the essence of capitalism; by its very nature it is exploitation of labour power for profit. It cannot be restructured to serve the interests of the working class, it must be overthrown by the working class, the only revolutionary class in society.
This is why we have a lot to learn from the Russian Revolution where, for the first time in history, the working class with a revolutionary leadership rose up to overthrow the system and take the power.
It is the international nature of socialist revolution which we celebrate on November 12 at the Camden Centre – Make sure you get your ticket and come! What was started in Russia in 1917 must be completed today!