The ANC’s Peter Mokaba regional chairperson and Capricorn district municipality executive mayor John Mpe has revealed that his predecessor as mayor led the municipality to invest millions in VBS Mutual Bank.
Gilbert Kganyago, the former mayor and current South African Communist Party (SACP) provincial secretary, was Capricorn district municipality executive mayor until 2016. During his tenure, the district municipality invested about R60 million in the collapsing VBS Bank.
According to Mpe, the investment was made in December 2015 and January 2016.
Speaking yesterday in Polokwane, Mpe said Kganyago had told a team of staffers in a plenary session that it was important to invest with VBS as it was black-owned.
Mpe claimed the entire investment process was planned and completed while acting chief finance officer Mariette Venter was on leave.
The chief financial officer was allegedly suspended shortly thereafter without council approval.
“Her sin was that she was allegedly becoming a stumbling block.
“She was complaining about the investment and saying the whole process was flawed.
“This was so because on investigation, Venter found out that the bank did not have the necessary grading as required when investing public funds into an institution,” said Mpe.
“I have proof to back my argument. We have visited the books regarding the investment and found that our books could not lie.
“All I am asking is that Kganyago comes clean and tells the public the truth.”
Mpe’s revelation comes just days after SACP second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila defended Kganyago, describing him as a transparent leader.
Mapaila said the SACP had learned about his alleged involvement in the VBS saga and had questioned him. He said Kganyago had also made presentations to the party which suggested that he was innocent.
Mapaila’s statements contrasted with claims made by former VBS chairperson Tshifhiwa Matodzi, who has claimed that the SACP was among several political parties that benefitted from VBS Bank.
Mapaila disputed this, saying that according to Kganyago’s presentations, the only time he had heard about VBS was when the bank had made a complaint against his municipality.
Mapaila also disputed that Kganyago was the mayor at the time of the municipality’s investment in VBS.
Mpe’s revelations about Kganyago’s involvement reignited calls for action against those implicated in the looting.
The ANC Youth League called for Kganyago’s immediate resignation from the SACP.
“It is time for the SACP to walk the walk. The party has been very oustspoken about corruption in the province,” said ANC Youth League acting provincial secretary Matome Moremi yesterday.
“Kganyago banged the table and walked out of a meeting when the ANC advised him to come clean. Now he must face the music because he turned a deaf ear to advice.”
Kganyago was not available for comment at the time of going to print.