Johannesburg – Political parties have endorsed a High Court in Pretoria decision for the immediate prosecution of all those who allegedly looted almost R2billion from VBS over more than 18 months.
On Tuesday, Judge JW Louw made the ruling following the urgent application of the Reserve Bank’s Prudential Authority and the Mahikeng Local Municipality.
Prudential Authority had initially lodged its application on October 29 and the municipality had to abandoned its application lodged in Polokwane and joined Prudential Authority’s application in Pretoria.
Their applications were not opposed and the court granted the orders for the immediate recovery of funds and assets of VBS.
The Reserve Bank’s Prudential Authority chief executive, Kuben Naidoo, welcomed the ruling, saying they would work hard with the liquidator to ensure “as much money as possible can be recovered on behalf the depositors”.
The same sentiments were expressed by advocate Marthinus van der Merwe, legal counsel for Mahikeng Local Municipality.
“The municipality is pleased with the outcome of the ruling especially the appointment of the liquidator who will be responsible to ensure that VBS creditors are paid and those owed money, like the municipality, are duly compensated,” Van der Merwe said.
He said the appointment of the liquidator was also to ensure no party was preferred for payment over others.
Judge Louw has listed VBS chairperson Tshifhiwa Matodzi and his senior managers, including auditing firm KPMG, be prioritised for prosecution.
Reacting to the order, ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said his party noted the order to finally liquidate VBS Mutual Bank. Mabe, however, said it was “rather unfortunate that the establishment of the VBS bank, a laudable initiative based on noble ideas, was undermined by individuals whose preoccupation was to line their own pockets at the expense of the poor”.
“We remain hopeful that despite the liquidation of the bank, depositors, who include pensioners and other citizens, will find some relief in the form of recovering their hard-earned money deposited with the bank,” Mabe said.
He said the ANC reiterated that those found to have broken the law must face its full might, which should include the recovery of the money found to have been stolen.
Judge Louw, in his order, instructed that the liquidator use the services for former VBS staff members, for the purpose of collection of debts of VBS, and that their remuneration should be treated as cost of administration of the estate.
The DA in Limpopo expressed the same sentiments to the national ANC.
Jacques Smalle, DA leader in Limpopo, said his party hoped that all law enforcement agencies, including Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, would act against those implicated in the fraud and corruption at VBS.
The DA lodged criminal cases with the Hawks and Special Investigating Unit and recently lodged an official complaint with the Public Protector after Limpopo municipalities had invested more than R1.3bn with VBS.
The ANC in Limpopo and the EFF, both of which have been pushing for VBS to be saved, were not available for comment on Tuesday.