ROB ROSE: The mercy killing of VBS
Banking is a game of confidence, so heated calls for VBS to be kept alive, despite a crippling R2bn fraud, were never going to find real support
The Reserve Bank has faced up to the inevitable, approaching the high court to perform a mercy killing on the rotten VBS Mutual Bank. It’ll probably irk those who have been lobbying to keep the flailing carcass on life support. But if you’d pored through advocate Terry Motau’s devastating report on the country’s most audacious bank heist yet, of the small matter of a R2bn swindle, you’d have to conclude there were few other options. During last week’s medium-term budget speech, some felt that finance minister Tito Mboweni was suggesting there was still something salvageable amid the ashes of VBS Mutual Bank, when he said that we must not "throw the baby out with the bathwater". "The model of VBS … before the great heist, was correct," said Mboweni. But a closer reading of what Mboweni said shows that he wasn’t calling for VBS to be saved. In this analogy, VBS is the bathwater, and it is the mutual banking model that is the baby that could yet be rescued from the soggy mess. Mboweni’...
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