The South African Finance Minister, Enoch Godongwana, has vehemently denied the claims made in a recent Jerusalem Post article that major South African banks are involved in funding Hamas.
Speaking at an event hosted by Absa in Sandton, Godongwana addressed the allegations and sought to debunk the myth.
Godongwana stated, “I want to debunk a myth that appeared in the Jerusalem Post, which tried to describe South African banks as being involved in funding terror organisations. I want to debunk that myth.”
He further emphasised that there are normal channels of communication between governments in cases such as these, and any instances of suspicious activity would be flagged by the relevant authorities.
Referring to the relationship between South Africa and the United States, Godongwana clarified that despite what the newspapers may say, the government-level relationship is fine. He highlighted that disagreements and quarrels are a normal part of any relationship.
South Africa’s relations with Israel have been strained further since the country lodged a genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) related to its war in Palestine’s Gaza Strip.
The ICJ, while stopping short of demanding a ceasefire, ordered Israel to prevent acts of genocide against the Palestinians and do more to help civilians. This ruling has had repercussions, with Israel’s national airline, El Al, announcing the cancellation of its Tel Aviv-Johannesburg route due to a decline in demand.
Shifting focus to Absa’s expansion into China, Godongwana welcomed the bank’s decision to open an office in Beijing.
He acknowledged the importance of the Chinese economy and emphasised the need for businesses to establish a presence in that market. He also highlighted the significance of the China-Africa relationship within the context of the BRICS economic bloc.
Absa Group CEO, Arrie Rautenbach, expressed the bank’s ambition to grow its international strategy, particularly in China, which has emerged as Africa’s key trading partner. The opening of the Beijing office aligns with Absa’s commitment to expanding its operations in strategic markets and providing expertise in African markets to its overseas clients.