21 April 2017

Malawi: Staff Complain Over Racist Boss At First Merchant Bank

Photo: Nyasa Times
Kobus Louw accused of being racist.

First Merchant Bank (FMB) staff members are bitterly complaining over racist attacks on fellow members of staff especially from credit department by one of the top managers at the bank, Kobus Louw.

Nyasa Times can reveal that Louw, an expatriate from South Africa has been abusing staff members from the credit department by calling them unpalatable names and shouting at them as if they are kids.

"Enough is enough and if we are going to let this man continue racially abusing us, then nothing will stop him and that is why we are mobilizing ourselves to stage a strike until he is removed from the bank," said one of the bankers .

Louw, Group General Manager for Credit at FMB is said to have been using abusive words like 'stupid', 'bul', 'bullshit' and 'monkey' almost every day on staff members.

Nobody has reported this to responsible authorities for fear of reprisals as he is very senior and is in good books with the owner of the bank Hitesh Anadikat.

"A number of managers in the department have left the Bank not in search of greener pastures but running away from this evil man.

"In 2015 when he had just joined the Bank, a very senior member of the department resigned because of the abusive language of this South African," said another source from the bank that collaborated the story.

"In 2016 three Credit Managers also resigned because they had enough of his abusive language from him. In January and April 2017, two Credit Managers have also left the Bank because of the mistreatment of the same boss. Some of these managers are still jobless as they left the Bank because of abuse and not for other jobs. He undermines the knowledge and skills of black managers," wrote one Julius Zimwanda Mithi on his Facebook wall a few days ago confirming what our source had confided in us.

"The remaining four Credit Managers in the department are still there not by choice but they have nowhere to go. They are suffering in silence. They can also not report the kind of abuse they are subjected to for fear of the obvious."

"Managers are normally treated like they are working at his residence in South Africa as domestic workers not as professionals. Some of them have got Bachelors and Masters degrees in various fields. Nobody wants to work under his department," added Mithi.

President Peter Mutharika has since warned and threatened to deport any foreign employer who failed to respect Malawian employees at their work places in the country.

He said this during a meeting with the delegation of the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.

Mutharika underscored that employers should learn to respect their employees.

"Any foreign employer who mistreats Malawians in any way, will be sent out of this country, as long as I am President of the country," cautioned Mutharika.

Racism is an evil which destroys harmony in multi-racial societies

The FMB workers, who have been fighting for better working conditions including 'ludicrously' low salaries have vowed to go on with their strike until the bank addresses their concerns including the issue of low salaries.

A few months ago, salaries for employees were leaked which showed how the bank exploits its workers by paying them peanuts.

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