Natasha Marrian Political editor: Business Day
A branch of VBS Mutual Bank in Thohoyandou, Limpopo. Picture: Antonio Muchave
A branch of VBS Mutual Bank in Thohoyandou, Limpopo. Picture: Antonio Muchave

The ANC integrity commission’s call for members implicated in the VBS Mutual Bank “heist” report to step aside from all party positions and activities is likely to be discussed at a special national executive committee (NEC) meeting on Saturday.

The party’s highest decision-making body in between congresses has to decide on disciplinary measures against those implicated in the hard-hitting report by advocate Terry Motau.

More than R2bn was looted from the bank, the report said.

Business Day understands a special NEC meeting is set to take place on Saturday, where the integrity commission recommendation is likely to be discussed, as the ANC continues its push to clean up its image ahead of the key 2019 national election.  

After a weekend meeting held by the integrity commission, a statement by commission chair George Mashamba announced its decision to call on the ANC to act against those implicated and for them to step aside from their posts.

Senior Limpopo ANC officials have been implicated in the report, including its deputy chair, Florence Radzilani, and its treasurer in the province, Danny Msiza.

The damning report by Motau and Werksmans Attorneys detailed looting at the VBS bank of nearly R2bn and identified the role of political players from the ANC and the EFF.

“Having considered the matter, the national integrity commission is of the view that the reputation and credibility of the ANC has been seriously damaged.

“To protect the integrity and reputation of the ANC, the [integrity commission] recommends to the national executive committee that these members should be directed to step aside from all leadership positions and all activities of the ANC,” Mashamba said.

The VBS matter was referred to the integrity commission by the ANC’s national officials following a meeting they held with the Limpopo officials earlier this month.

In the statement, Mashamba said the commission was told that the ANC members implicated in the report were advised by the secretary-general’s office to approach the integrity commission in line with the party’s Nasrec resolution indicating that those implicated in wrongdoing should account to the integrity commission immediately or face disciplinary action.

He said the members involved in the VBS matter have not done so thus far.

He could not immediately be reached for comment on a report in the Sunday Times that the ANC itself had received a R2m donation from VBS.

The ANC Youth League in Limpopo welcomed the report, saying the ANC should also speedily act against mayors of municipalities who unlawfully deposited money into the VBS bank.

By the time the bank was placed under curatorship in March 2018, municipalities still deposited R1.2bn in municipal funds, in contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act. It is unclear if and when municipalities will receive their deposits back.

ANC Youth League acting provincial secretary Matome Moremi said lower-level officials in municipalities were being “thrown under the bus”, while mayors should be held accountable.

Responding to the announcement by the integrity commission, the DA said if the ANC was serious about accountability, co-operative governance minister Zweli Mkhize should resign immediately if the weekend reports that the ANC received a R2m donation from VBS proved true. The party also said the 15 ANC mayors who invested in VBS against legislation should also leave their posts.