Picture: ANTONIO mUCHAVE
Picture: ANTONIO mUCHAVE

The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) has rejected a report in the City Press newspaper that it has a mortgage loan with the controversial VBS Mutual Bank.

On Sunday‚ City Press reported that VBS Mutual Bank lent out large sums of money to its own directors‚ municipal officials and Samwu to finance a building the union already owned.

At least five of VBS’s senior executives received mortgage loans running into millions of rand between 2015 and 2017‚ the paper reported. It added that the mortgage deal worth R11.8m was entered into between Samwu and VBS in October 2017. But the union rejected the allegations.

"Despite the union’s general secretary [Simon Mathe] having confirmed with the journalist when queried about the alleged mortgage loan that the union has not financed its head offices‚ the publication went ahead and printed the story which is now causing [reputational] damage to the union.

"We can confirm that the union’s head offices are fully paid up since 2007. The only credit facility which Samwu has entered into with VBS is for the provision of photocopy machines for the head office‚ [and] provincial and regional offices. This loan is currently being religiously serviced through a debit order on a monthly basis‚" Samwu said in an official statement.

Samwu said following the lapse of a previous contract with a service provider‚ "the union entered into an agreement with VBS Mutual Bank to finance the current contract‚ "an agreement which was concluded following proper due diligence from both parties".