#VBSMutualBank: EFF calls for criminal prosecution and blacklisting
Johannesburg - The Economic Freedom Fighters on Wednesday called for the criminal prosecution and blacklisting of all those who illegally benefited from the defrauding at VBS Mutual Bank.
The party was responding after the release on Wednesday of a forensic report by investigators appointed by the South African Reserve Bank into the failure of VBS Mutual Bank, which found that some 50 people received R1.894 billion from the bank over a three-year period starting in March 2015.
Most of that money flowed to VBS executives and entities linked to them, notably Vele Investments, resulting in the "significant impoverishment" of the bank's depositors, says the report titled "The Great Bank Heist".
Advocate Terry Motau SC, who was appointed five months ago by the Reserve Bank to probe the collapse of VBS, implicated various known business people including Brian Shivambu relative of high profile politician EFF’s deputy president Floyd Shivambu in the alleged heist.
Floyd Shivambu could not be reached for comment but the EFF released a statement late on Wednesday saying that it "reiterates its position that all who are responsible and illegally benefited from the fraud must be criminally prosecuted immediately".
"As we have previously indicated, we also reiterate that they must be black listed. Above all, the law enforcement agency must do all they can to ensure that all the money that can be recovered must be paid back in full, including attaching properties of the individuals who benefited from the defrauding of VBS.
"The EFF is concerned by the findings that the bank cannot be saved. Shutting down the bank will not help to efforts to increase black participation in the financial sector. A recovery plan that can save the bank or support of other black owned prospective black license applicants to service the people in the rural area with PTOs must be devised," the party said.
"Finally, it is concerning that such looting has been allowed to happen since 2015 and all the much celebrated institutional mechanisms of reporting and monitoring banks by the SARB were not sufficient to prevent the defrauding of VBS. Only upon the bank giving Jacob Zuma a loan did concerns arise and decisions to closely look into its affairs happen.
"We call on the SARB to review its ability and mechanisms to monitor banks as the failure of VBS is inadvertently the failure of the SARB itself to protect ordinary citizens from being scammed by institutions masquerading as banks under its watch."
Meanwhile, the DA has challenged the EFF to "set the record straight" and publicly confirm whether or not it has ever received money from VBS to fund its operations.
"The EFF has not been shy in their repeated and public defence of VBS Mutual Bank. Reports today, which reveal the extent of the looting and corruption at the bank, show that the brother of EFF deputy president, Floyd Shivambu, Brian received a massive R16 million from VBS.
"For the EFF, which parades itself as quasi-revolutionaries championing the plight of poor communities, to be intimately linked to individuals who shamelessly stole from the poor, affirms that their political posturing towards VBS may be rooted in protecting the personal interests of their leaders.
"Confirming if they did receive funds or not should be a simple exercise that can be settled instantly," the DA said.
"Many hard-working South Africans almost lost their life savings and were forced to wait in long lines, often overnight, just to make sure they could get their money out. A total of 15 municipalities may never see the R1.5 billion they deposited with the bank and will not be able to deliver services to their residents.
"The DA will lay criminal charges against those who have been named in the South African Reserve Bank report including the likes of Brian Shivambu who need to be held accountable for theft.
"The EFF has an opportunity to simply confirm if they have or have not accepted money from VBS and should do so as soon as possible," the DA said.
The ANC on Wednesday welcomed the report and said that "heads must roll, and the law must take its cause without fear or favour".
"The report points towards grave abuse of authority and office as well as worrying instances of corruption. The ANC’s concern has always been about the thousands of pensioners and individuals who depend on this bank, as well as institutions of state who deposited funds from their budgets, earmarked for much-needed infrastructure and services," party spokesman Pule Mabe said.
"On 13 April 2018, and consequent upon the initial findings of the curator which revealed massive losses in VBS, the South African Reserve Bank Prudential Authority, established in terms of the newly promulgated Financial Sector Regulation; appointed legal entities for the purposes of conducting an investigation into the affairs of VBS.
"The ANC-led government championed and led the process towards the establishment of the Prudential Authority within the SARB, which is now expected to act decisively and with the necessary speed to process recommendations from this report.
"The ANC maintains that where there have been wrongdoing by individuals and institutions, heads must roll, and the law must take its cause without fear or favour. The manner in which authorities process this report, will be an important indication on our nation's commitment to renewal and ethical leadership," Mabe said.