Momentum shows who has power

Momentum Investments will pay out the R2.4 million insurance claim.
Momentum Investments will pay out the R2.4 million insurance claim.
Image: File photo

Earlier this year this newspaper commented about a political slogan that is so over-used in our country that it has lost its true meaning for most: Amandla ngawethu/ matla ke a rona/ power to the people.

The key point made in that editorial comment was that most of what we complain about South Africans can be changed and that the possibility of that change is dependent on our actions.

This week we had a perfect example of the power we have as a people to change that which we deem wrong and unjust.

On Sunday we woke up to the news of a woman by the name of Denise Ganas who was fighting a David-and-Goliath battle against insurance giant Momentum, which was refusing to pay her R2.4m after her husband died in a car hijacking.

Momentum refused to settle her claim, arguing that her late husband had failed to disclose his high blood condition when he took up a life cover with the company.

This led to a national outcry, with South Africans criticising the company and the long-term insurance ombudsman for repudiating the policy even though the man had died of violence and not because of the condition he is said to have not disclosed.

For days Momentum held its ground, arguing that it was within its rights not to pay out.

However, following days of public protests - which included some of the company's clients reportedly cancelling their policies - Momentum finally buckled.

The company on Tuesday announced that it would now paying out the claim.

This positive outcome would not have been possible without the activism of citizens who put pressure on the company to do the right thing.

May it serve as a reminder to all of us that we do not have to accept whatever unjust conditions that are imposed on us, no matter hoow powerful those who impose them may appear to be.

As citizens, as well as customers, we have the power to reject any practice or conduct we consider unfair and as an infringement on our rights and privileges.

The public support for Ganas helped her defeat the Goliath. Imagine if we displayed that kind of solidarity- for instance - in fighting for an end to unsafe toilets in rural schools.

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