Alex Japho Matlala
3 minute read
24 Oct 2018
6:00 am

VBS Bank mess splits Limpopo ANC as leagues demand action

Alex Japho Matlala

Several provincial office bearers have been implicated and 'any perception of a cover-up will further alienate the ANC from the masses,' the women's league says.

VBS Bank branding. Picture: Moneyweb

The continuing VBS Mutual Bank saga is now driving a wedge between the ANC in Limpopo and its youth and women’s leagues, who are adamant that all those responsible for investing municipal funds with the bank should face the chop immediately, while their mother body seems content with a more patient approach.

The ANC Youth League in the province yesterday called for the immediate dismissal of mayors from municipalities that invested millions in the collapsing Venda Business Society Mutual Bank (VBS).

The league said yesterday there was no doubt that mayors were responsible for the investment of the municipal millions into VBS and that action against those mayors was supposed to be treated as a matter of urgency.

“Mayors are political heads in municipalities. In most cases, their words are law. We are aware that they ordered chief finance officers and municipal managers to invest with the bank.

“They are therefore responsible for the investments and they must be recalled, not tomorrow, not next week, but now,” the league’s acting provincial secretary, Matome Moremi, said yesterday. “As the youth league, we have taken a decision that all mayors whose municipalities are implicated must resign now or be recalled.”

The league’s call for the dismissal of the mayors was also echoed by the party’s women’s league.

“We think it is time to move beyond statements. Any perception of a cover-up, delays and politicisation of the matter will further alienate the ANC from the masses on the ground,” ANC Women’s League provincial spokesperson, Christina Mohale, said yesterday.

“The name of the ANC must never be used to pursue corrupt activities.”

Last Tuesday, party provincial secretary, Soviet Lekganyane, gave Limpopo Premier and party provincial chairperson, Stan Mathabatha, until the end of October for action to be taken against those who facilitated the investments.

Shortly thereafter, the Mopani region became the first to crack the whip during a Friday special council meeting, where CFO, Hitler Maluleke, was fired for contravening the Municipal Finance Management Act.

All this, however, stands in stark contrast with the ANC mother body’s approach to political office holders.

ANC provincial spokesperson, Donald Selamolela, said the party was resolute about its decision on VBS and the implicated municipalities.

“We are not chameleons and we don’t change our colours. We will wait for all processes, such as the integrity commission, and for the October deadline before we show our hand,” Selamolela said.

Limpopo ANC deputy provincial chairperson, Florence Radzilani, who is also executive mayor for the Vhembe District Municipality that invested R300 million into the bank; ANC provincial treasurer, Danny Msiza, and former Capricorn district municipality’s executive mayor and now South African Communist Party (SACP) provincial secretary, Gilbert Kganyago, are among those implicated.

Meanwhile, the city of Polokwane, which is the province’s capital and Limpopo’s economic hub, came to a total standstill yesterday after hundreds of Democratic Alliance members and members of parliament called for the dismissal of the mayors.

The disgruntled marchers started from the wee hours of the morning at SABC Park and handed over the memorandum of grievances at the office of the premier.

The DA’s Jacques Smalle said the party was also using the same voice as the ANC’s leagues to have all mayors and officials implicated recalled.

alexm@citizen.co.za

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.