The Limpopo ANC has warned against any plans to wind down embattled VBS Mutual bank, saying the only option is “to ensure that the bank is rescued back to its viability”.
Provincial ANC secretary Soviet Lekganyane said VBS was “the pride of the Africans” and “the commercial treasure of black entrepreneurs”.
“There should never be a temptation to wind up the bank as part of the intervention strategy as that is tantamount to undermining initiatives by the previously marginalised in order to propitiate monopolies that continue to accumulate and enjoy privileges of the past,” said Lekganyane in a statement following an ANC provincial working committee meeting on Monday.
He said that “notwithstanding the current challenges facing the bank, initiatives by previously marginalised people of our country must be supported”.
“Any attempt to find a solution outside resuscitating the bank will go a long way in reversing and derailing the agenda for socio-economic inclusivity,” he added.
VBS was put under curatorship in March following a series of unlawful deposits of municipal funds into the bank, leading to corruption allegations against senior politicians in Limpopo.
The party said it supported investigations into the running down of VBS and urged state agencies involved to speed up the matter and bring to book those responsible for the disastrous situation.
Officials who have facilitated unlawful municipal transactions in VBS should face consequences, said Lekganyane.
He said the ANC in Limpopo “will not allow the imposition of monopoly institutions under the pretext that it is in the interest of the beneficiaries”.
“We have not forgotten that some of these institutions rejected our people when they needed them most. A case in point is the rejection of Caster Semenya by one of these institutions when her career was still nascent and blossoming,” he said.
In 2009 Nedbank pulled out of the sponsorship of Athletics SA on the back of the clumsy handling of Semenya’s gender controversy, which provoked a backlash from politicians including then ANC youth league president Julius Malema.
On Monday the Reserve Bank and the curator of VBS said they had reached an arrangement with Nedbank to facilitate the payout of funds to VBS Mutual Bank clients who have been desperate to get access to their funds since the bank was put under curatorship.
Lekganyane said the ANC sympathised with the VBS clients and would take part in efforts to find a working solution, including meeting with the relevant stakeholders to find ways in which the bank can be resuscitated.
He also warned against “nefarious intentions to besmirch the personalities” of the King of the VhaVenda Khosikhulu Toni Mphephu Ramabulana, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize and the ANC provincial treasurer Danny Msiza by linking them to alleged corruption at VBS.
“We wish to iterate our confidence in his Majesty and all leaders of the ANC,” he said, adding that media reports should not be used to undermine investigations.