/ 29 October 2018

ANC integrity commission calls for VBS implicated to step down

Chairperson of the ANC's integrity commission says those implicated in the VBS saga should be directed to “step aside” from all party activities.
ANC integrity committee chairperson George Mashamba says it must be more than a disciplinary body. (Oupa Nkosi/M&G)

The ANC’s national integrity commission has recommended that party members implicated in the explosive VBS report step down from all leadership positions in the party.

In a statement released on Monday, chairperson of the commission George Mashamba said that – in an effort to avoid more reputational damage emanating from the report – those implicated should be directed by the national executive committee to “step aside” from all activities of the ANC.

The recommendation comes after the commission met over the weekend to consider the implications of the VBS saga. The report, titled The Great Bank Heist, reveals that R1 894 923 674 was “gratuitously” paid to 53 people over a period of just over three years.

The report, authored by Terry Motau SC, recommends those identified as having benefited from fraudulent conduct at the VBS be criminally charged and held liable in civil proceedings.

VBS was placed under curatorship in March this year against the backdrop of a serious liquidity crisis.

READ MORE: Vhembe mayor seeking legal advice on municipality’s dealings with VBS

The initial findings of the curator revealed significant financial losses in VBS, which prompted the decision to institute the forensic investigation. VBS is at the centre of a massive and ongoing fraud saga.

The primary objectives of Motau’s investigation were to establish whether VBS’s business was conducted with the intent to defraud the bank’s depositors and creditors, whether VBS’s conduct involved any questionable business practices and whether there had been any irregular conduct by VBS shareholders, directors, executive management, staff and stakeholders.

The South African Reserve Bank stipulates that the evidence contained in the report “is not a reflection of either the guilt or innocence of any party as not all parties have been given an opportunity to respond to the evidence” and that it may assist law enforcement authorities in its investigation into VBS.

In the report, Motau found that those who “captured” the bank — enabling them “to embark upon wide-scale looting and pillaging of the monies placed on deposit at VBS” — did so through large payments to “the various perpetrators of the scheme of looting as a reward for their participation”.

Among those implicated in the report are ANC leaders, like Danny Msiza, who is the Limpopo treasurer general and Florence Radzilani, who is the deputy provincial chairperson and executive mayor of Vhembe.

The two were advised by secretary general Ace Magashule’s office to approach the commission, but according to the statement they have not done so.

READ MORE: Limpopo duo in hot water

Following the release of the report, Radzilani claimed she was not aware that her municipality had conducted any business with VBS.

The Vhembe municipality, where Radzilani is the mayor, is said to have injected the biggest amount — R300‑million — into VBS.

Radzilani has said she will seek a legal opinion on the findings made against her, and Msiza has demanded a retraction of the report’s findings against him.