VBS Mutual bank customers at long queues outside the bank, demanding their money in Thohoyandou, Limpopo. Picture: ANTONIO MUCHAVE/SOWETAN
VBS Mutual bank customers at long queues outside the bank, demanding their money in Thohoyandou, Limpopo. Picture: ANTONIO MUCHAVE/SOWETAN

The ANC has confirmed that it has decided to reinstate two Limpopo party officials who stepped down after they were implicated in allegations relating to the looting and collapse of VBS Mutual Bank.    

Limpopo ANC treasurer Danny Msiza and the party’s deputy chair in the province, Florence Radzilani, stepped down from their positions in 2018 after a decision that they do so until their names are cleared. 

VBS Mutual Bank collapsed amid allegations that its executives looted almost R2bn that they were supposed to be looking after on behalf of municipalities, stokvels and elderly people in Limpopo.

The alleged role of political players in the collapse of the bank, which was set up in 1982 in the former Venda homeland, was laid bare in a forensic report compiled on behalf of the SA Reserve Bank by advocate Terry Motau and Werksmans Attorneys.

The report placed Msiza as a commission agent in Limpopo, which ensured that municipalities illegally deposited funds into VBS.

Radzilani, who was also mayor of the Vhembe district municipality, was said to have asked for a “Christmas” present — colloquial speak for a bribe — for keeping the municipality’s deposit with VBS. She previously denied any knowledge of the local authority’s dealings with the bank.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule on Wednesday said the national executive committee (NEC) had now decided, after almost two years, to reinstate Msiza and Radzilani.

“We are going to ensure they resume their responsibilities. We are going to engage our structures, engage society, and we are going to ensure we explain the rationale behind the decision the NEC has taken,” he said.

Magashule said this was not disrespectful to those who had been affected by the collapse of VBS Mutual Bank but it was “how we deal with issues of justice”.

The ANC has always stood by the principle that people were innocent until proven otherwise, he said. 

In June, the Hawks made the first arrests in the VBS Mutual Bank saga.

Seven suspects, including the bank’s top executives, were arrested after a search-and-seizure operation. They appeared in court and were granted R100,000 bail each. 

Those arrested were the bank’s former chair Tshifhiwa Matodzi; CEO Andile Ramavhunga; treasurer Phophi Mukhodobwane; Sipho Malaba, a former KPMG audit partner who signed off on the bank’s allegedly falsified financial statements; Paul Magula and Ernest Nesane, two former representatives of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) on the bank’s board; and Phalaphala Avhashoni Ramikosi, a board member and former CFO of the SA Police Service.

Philip Truter, the bank’s CFO, was not in court at the time as he was in Covid-19 quarantine. He will be added to the indictment later. 

The Hawks at the time said the arrests were the first leg of the investigation into the VBS Mutual Bank matter and that the probe had not been concluded. More arrests are expected. 

Last week, a former manager at the Merafong municipality was arrested in connection with R50m invested with VBS Mutual Bank.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za

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