THE Democratic Alliance is calling for the removal of 15 mayors who illegally banked with the now curated VBS banks as the aftermath of the grant looting that occurred unravels.
The party said it has tabled motions of no confidence against the mayors of the 15 municipalities who illegally deposited funds with VBS. They include Vhembe Mayor Florence Radzilani, who is Limpopo ANC deputy chairperson, Collins Chabane mayor Joyce Bila and Greater Tubatse/Fetakgomo mayor Maudu Phokane.
Some senior politicians in the province allegedly received commissions from VBS for encouraging the municipalities to bank with the mutual bank in contravention of the law.
In total, the 15 local municipalities deposited R1.6bn with VBS in contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) and after being instructed not to do so by National Treasury.
The Reserve Bank believes it is unlikely that these municipalities will recover much if any, of their money from the bankrupt institution, which was allegedly looted by its top executives.
“It is unacceptable that these municipalities could potentially face collapse as their funds are unlikely to be recovered”, the party said in a statement.
The DA further said that while President Cyril Ramaphosa had expressed his “embarrassment” over the presiding African National Congress (ANC) being a beneficiary of this outright corruption and fraud, neither him nor cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister Zweli Mkhize had held anyone accountable.
The party said the VBS scandal had left unsuspecting clients across Limpopo stranded and having to stand in long queues in a desperate bid to draw their money for days on end.
“The removal of mayors who essentially sold their municipalities to the highest bidders is the first real step in ensuring accountability and justice for the citizens they have robbed,” the DA added.
In July the DA said that it had laid charges of corruption against the ANC, citing concerns that by allegedly accepting donations from the embattled Limpopo bank, the ANC might have used dirty money from the proceeds of crime and corruption to fund its election campaigns in the past.
Meanwhile, the ANC’s top six officials met with the party’s provincial leadership last week in a bid to find an alleged political solution to rescue the VBS Mutual Bank from liquidation.
The meeting, held at Luthuli House, was described by sources as tense after the top six allegedly told the provincial leadership that they were all implicated in the scandal except Provincial Secretary Soviet Lekganyane.
“The top six asked them why they wanted a political solution when all of them were implicated in the VBS scandal except the provincial secretary. They then agreed to appoint a task team to investigate the modalities of saving the bank while punishing those who looted it,” said a source familiar with what transpired at the meeting.
Sources said the party was considering political intervention to save VBS from liquidation by making it a provincial bank‚ to be run by the Limpopo Development Agency.
However, the DA criticised the ANC for considering a “political intervention” in the chaos that has consumed VBS, calling such an intervention “an attempt to continue looting and a backhanded attempt”.
DA shadow minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs said the DA questioned the possibility of the Limpopo provincial government being granted a banking licence at all.
“The fact remains that the forensic investigation into the VBS scandal must be completed as a matter of urgency and should be done independently as this is the only way to ensure accountability. This is the same government that was once under national administration but now wants a failed bank to be converted into a provincial government bank so that comrades can continue looting,” said Mileham.
ANC provincial spokesperson Donald Selamolela dismissed the DA’s claims as a ploy to use a “sensitive matter” for political gains.
“We want to condemn the DA for using a sensitive matter for cheap political scoring because the DA knows as an organisation that they forever pride themselves with lies. They undermine the current democratic processes because the authorities are currently investigating the matter so as to why the DA would want to jump the gun and pass motions of no confidence without have waited for the outcomes of the investigation just borders on cheap political scoring,” said Selamolela.
“From the organisational point of view we respect the investigations that are there, we will await the outcomes of those investigations and then we will be able to express our own opinion.”
Selamolela reiterated that the ANC had established a fact finding task team headed by provincial executive committee Thabo Mokone, who is in the party’s legislature and governance sub-committee and Dickson Masemola, who heads the transformation economic sub-committee of the ANC.
He said their responsibility was to study the facts surrounding the VBS matter so that they could have a factual position to avoid malicious gossiping that had been taking place around the VBS saga.
Selamolela added that the financial sector of the country was dominated by the previously advantaged individuals and VBS was a symbol of the previously marginalised and a national impact of the financial sector.
“We would not want to lose that when it comes to economic transformation and that is the reason behind our stance to sustain VBS and those who are found to be in the wrong after the investigations must be taken to book, even those who are members of the ANC will be processed through our internal processes,” concluded Selamolela.