Not wanting to go the way of Nedbank, First National Bank actively excludes whites from its bursary programme. We will see more of this corporate clamouring for attention from the ruling regime, each trying to outdo the others in actively promoting "affirmative" policies. This is what happens when a regime is willing to sacrifice the economy for its own version of political correctness.
Trade union Solidarity has launched a campaign to pressure First National Banking into scrapping what it says is a "racial" allocation of education bursaries for employees' children.
The union said on Thursday the bank had decided white employees would not qualify for the bursaries.
It was reacting to the November edition of FNB's employees newsletter TreeTalk, in which the bank offered the support to 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," union spokesman Dirk Hermann said in a statement.
"This is surely the most insensitive Christmas present an employer could give a certain portion of its employees. The white employees at FNB are getting a black Christmas stocking that they are not allowed to open, because they aren't black."
He said members of the public could complain to FNB through Solidarity's website at http://www.solidarity.co.za/ and join a Facebook protest.
He said Solidarity urged FNB clients and the public to continue the campaign until the racial criteria were removed from the bursary allocation.
He said the focus of FNB's employee support trust, which would administer the bursaries, was children at primary school level, who could not be said to be beneficiaries of apartheid.
The right approach would be to let anyone who earned less than R100 000 qualify for study aid. FNB spokespeople were not immediately available for comment.
A switchboard operator at the bank's Sandton head office said she believed they were in a meeting, and that they intended to issue a statement.
The November 9 to 13 issue of TreeTalk tells employees that if they are struggling to meet the demands of rising education costs, "then we may just have some good news for you".
"FNB is commit[t]ed to ensuring education for all, and as part of this initiative, offers financial assistance to black employees (as defined by the FirstRand staff BEE Scheme: African, Indian, Coloured and Chinese) earning R100 000 or less per annum." - Sapa