Racial bursary agreement

Published on iAfrica.com, by Sapa, 29 December 2009.

An agreement has been reached between trade union Solidarity and First National Bank regarding the bank’s “racial” allocation of education bursaries for employees’ children. The union said on Monday that during talks between Dirk Hermann, deputy general secretary of Solidarity, and FNB CEO Michael Jordaan, it was agreed that the bank would include whites in the transaction if the law allowed for such a step …

… Excluded on basis of race:

In the November edition of FNB’s newsletter, Treetalk, the bank offered financial support to children of African, Indian, Coloured and Chinese employees earning less than R100 000 a year.

“White employees who struggle and earn less than R100 000 are simply excluded, purely on the basis of their race,” Hermann said.

Jordaan explained that the bursaries were in fact awarded by FirstRand through a BEE transaction. In terms of the transaction, a trust was established in 2004 with the aim of supporting the education of black children.

According to legal advice obtained by FNB at the time regarding the transaction, those who benefit from black empowerment must exclusively be black.

“In terms of the foundation charter, the trustees of the trust therefore only have the discretion of giving the bursaries to black children.”

“The decision to award bursaries rests with the trustees of the trust, and not with FNB,” said Jordaan.

He said FNB did have a variety of other bursary schemes as well as educational support programmes in which all staff members received support according to merit.

“An inclusive agreement at FNB could be a big step forward for everyone in South Africa”, said Jordaan. (full text).

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