SA’s biggest bank heist took place without a single shot being fired. Thieves armed with explosives and assault rifles attacked dozens of armoured vehicles delivering cash to the country’s lenders last year, stealing hundreds of millions of rand. But they’ve allegedly been outdone by five bankers accused of siphoning off at least R1.5bn from VBS Mutual Bank. The collapse of the seventh-smallest of SA’s 21 banks has left a trail of destruction, with customers queuing up outside branches before dawn in the hope of accessing their funds. Like Mulalo Ramano, a 72-year-old widow who has suffered anxiety attacks fretting about the R20,000 in life savings she deposited at the bank. "My heart beats so so fast, it feels like it’s going to pop out," a frail Ramano said on July 14 as she waited outside a branch of VBS in Thohoyandou in Limpopo. She was among dozens of people lined up to trying to get their money back from the lender that collapsed in March. The scandal has claimed the jobs of ...

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