Citizen Reporter
3 minute read
1 Oct 2019
5:01 pm

DA alleges Limpopo official paid R1m to keep mum about VBS

Citizen Reporter

If true, this would also not be the first time Reuben Rambado has been linked to a pricy 'golden handshake' in return for his 'silence'.

Picture: Supplied

In a statement on Tuesday, the DA in Limpopo alleged that an official had effectively been paid R1 million in what they describe as a hush payment over the hundreds of millions improperly invested in the now liquidated VBS Mutual Bank.

DA councillor Mashudu Mariba from the Vhembe District Municipality has said his party will write to MEC for Co-operative Governance Bioskop Makamu to consider disciplinary action against all Vhembe District Municipality officials who allegedly authorised a R1 million payment as a “golden handshake” to Reuben Rambado, the municipality’s former municipal manager.

It is unclear if the money has already been paid to Rambado, though the DA wants it reversed.

Rambado has been accused of authorising a R300 million illegal investment into VBS, along with other officials.

“The DA can confirm that the municipality opted to pay Rambado as he was threatening to expose senior officials and politicians who immensely benefited from this illegal investment.”

Mariba alleged the R1 million payment was made to him, or was at the very least authorised, despite a letter that the Limpopo department of co-operative governance, human settlements and traditional affairs (COGHSTA) sent to the municipality stating that they should not consider any settlements for officials implicated in the VBS debacle, “but rather reach a logical conclusion”.

“It is clear that the ANC-led municipality has opted to disregard COGHSTA’s advice and utilised taxpayer’s money to shut Rambado’s mouth before exposing their friends and comrades who benefited from the VBS saga.”

The DA said they only became aware of the alleged settlement agreement during a special council meeting on Monday, “and the DA vehemently rejected that this settlement agreement be enforced”.

The Vhembe municipality last year suspended Rambado and chief financial officer Nyiko Machava over the VBS scandal after the municipality invested the R300 million in the bank.

Municipal workers were demonstrating at the time to demand the recall of executive mayor Florence Radzilani, and the suspension of the member of the mayoral committee on finance, Rudzani Ludere, among others.

At the time, it was reported that Rambado was “threatening to spill the beans” and that he would name others involved in the VBS scandal.

That, however, apparently did not happen, which the DA has linked to the R1 million payment.

If true, this is not the first time that Rambado has been linked to a controversial golden handshake. In 2004, it was reported that politicians in Limpopo’s then bankrupt Makhado municipality signed a secret R830,000 golden-handshake deal with him.

It was reported that leaked documents indicated that all mismanagement charges against Rambado were to be dropped “in return for his silence” and to resign and leave the town, where he had been on suspension for gross misconduct and mismanagement in a bonus scandal.

On Tuesday, the DA said it was “deeply concerned that the [Vhembe] municipality continues to profligate the taxpayer’s coffers by enriching their cadres due to lack of political leadership and consequence management whilst the residents are struggling to get basic services from the municipality”.

“The DA urges MEC Makamu to take this matter very seriously and hold officials accountable for undermining his department. He also needs to ensure that the proposed settlement with the CFO is reversed with immediate effect.

“MEC Makamu must further to take action to ensure that Rambado pays back the golden handshake money as he does not deserve this money and should be criminally charged and prosecuted along with all other individuals implicated in the VBS scandal.”

The Citizen is reaching out to Rambado for comment and will update this article with his comment once received.

(Compiled by Charles Cilliers)

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