The failure of small black-owned VBS Mutual Bank has been turned into a platform for groups such as the EFF and Progressive Professionals Forum to launch yet another attack on the Reserve Bank’s supposed "white monopoly capital" bias, with the Black Business Council joining the fray to complain, rather bizarrely, that it was not consulted on the decision to put VBS Mutual into curatorship. These are difficult and delicate times in the court of public opinion, and the curatorship comes while nationalising the Reserve Bank is still a live issue politically speaking and when there is still discomfort about the dominant position of SA’s big banks. It suggests that the racial dynamics around VBS merit careful handling. And the best way to handle these is simply to make the facts of the matter clear — and keep making them clear. For the facts are quite simply that VBS got into trouble, as other small (sometimes white-owned) South African banks have done before it, because it was too greed...

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