Three latest VBS Bank suspects granted bail

Three individuals linked to the VBS Mutual Bank scandal granted bail; local reactions highlight community grievances over misused funds.

Three people arrested by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) in connection with the VBS Mutual Bank investment saga on Tuesday were yesterday granted bail by the Giyani Magistrate’s Court.

According to the Hawks, Risimati Hitler Maluleke was granted bail of R25 000, while Nditshedzeni Mashau and Zwivhuya Goodness Thishonge are out on R20 000 bail each.

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Spokesperson for the Hawks, Colonel Katlego Mogale said the trio were granted bail with strict conditions and their case was remanded to the Polokwane Specialised Commercial Crime Court on 13 May for docket disclosure.

Greater Giyani municipality spokesperson Steven Mabunda yesterday confirmed Maluleke and Mashau were attached to the Giyani local municipality, one is still on the payroll while the other is a former employee.

He declined to comment further, saying: “Although the council hates corruption with a passion, we still subscribe to the notion that one is innocent until proven guilty by the court of law.

“From where we are standing, we will allow the Hawks to do their job in peace without any interference, and act accordingly, pending the outcome of their court appearances.”

However, the arrest of the trio has raised eyebrows among the business fraternity and political parties. Chair for the Giyani Business Forum Patrick Ritshuri said the money lost in the VBS scandal could have connected more than 1 000 boreholes in far-flung villages hard hit by drought.

“Now we don’t have roads in this township and villages in and around Giyani,” he said.

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“Our town is now a ghost town because of huge potholes and unpaved streets. Some of us still buy water from the welloffs who have boreholes in their yards, while the have-nots depended on infested dirty water from rivers and wells to do their laundry.”

Ritshuri said the money invested in the defunct VBS could have changed lives for the better.

“But, instead, they flushed it down the drain, while others built mansions and drive luxurious German cars bought by kickbacks from the collapsed VBS Mutual Bank directors.

“To me, the Hawks are doing a good job. Those arrested must just rot in jail,” he said.

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