Minister who criticised VBS looting now accused of enabling ANC to benefit
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) calls on Minister Zweli Mkhize to resign.
Dr Makhosi Khoza, OUTA’s Deputy CEO: Local Government, says the Minister should show moral leadership and resign.
“We are a society that is battling with moral and ethical leadership,” says Khoza.
“His credibility is in tatters,” says Michael Holenstein, OUTA’s manager for Local Government.
“The money that was deposited into VBS bank came from poor communities. It also included service delivery funds stolen from municipalities. Minister Mkhize shamelessly enabled the ANC to benefit from money stolen from the poorest communities. He is not fit to be a minister.
“This is also the Minister who stands by while municipalities around the country are collapsing, instead of intervening.”
The Minister who told municipalities which had illegally invested in VBS bank that they wouldn’t be bailed out now emerges as one of those who arranged receipt of looted funds.
At the weekend the Sunday Times reported that the ANC received R2m from the looted VBS bank; the ANC said it had no record of this payment but confirmed receiving a lesser amount. The newspaper alleged that Mkhize, who was then ANC treasurer-general, had asked for a R2m donation from Vele Investments, majority shareholder at VBS, during the ANC’s 2016 local government election campaign.
Mkhize was among those who condemned the VBS looting and called for those involved to be prosecuted. As Minister, he said there would be no bailouts for municipalities who lost money in VBS and that they should take legal action to recoup their funds.
The Great Bank Heist report, published by the SA Reserve Bank on 10 October, detailed the looting of R1.89bn from VBS Mutual Bank by 53 people between March 2015 and June 2018.
Much of the bank’s funds were sourced from illegal “investments” by municipalities, encouraged with bribes to municipal officials.
Mkhize was appointed as Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in February 2018 by President Cyril Ramaphosa. He was the ANC’s treasurer-general from December 2012 to December 2017 and thus responsible for overseeing the party’s funds.