Minister, Zweli Mkhize said on Wednesday that he rejects any and all insinuations of impropriety over the VBS Mutual Bank funds. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi
CAPE TOWN - Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs  Minister, Zweli Mkhize, said on Wednesday that he rejects any and all insinuations of impropriety over the VBS Mutual Bank funds. 

Mkhize said that he has  noted the article by the Sunday Times of 28 October 2018 and other subsequent media coverage as well as enquiries sent to his office on the VBS matter.

"As previously placed on record, I wish to emphasise once again that I, in my capacity as Treasurer-General (TG) of the ANC, have never assisted VBS in securing any funding from municipalities or any other state institution.  I have confirmed before that I met with VBS management and directors. This was a formally-arranged meeting with the TG’s office. This meeting was meant to introduce the bank to the organisation and to make one understand its business model. This was nothing uncommon as I constantly met and interacted with representatives of various institutions, including other financial institutions."  

"This meeting was never about favours for them but rather to engage and share the ANC transformation vision", Mkhize added  

"As a leader, it was incumbent on me to listen to any concerns or challenges that business, both big and small, had or wished to share with the organisation. I have always done this in any capacity or position given to me by the ANC as part of our constant stakeholder engagements and to ensure that the ANC is seen to be attending to and working closely with the private sector."

Mkhize went on to add that he has  never exchanged any SMS correspondence requesting a donation for the ANC with any VBS director or representative. 

Any assertion to the contrary is false, according to the Minister and he also stated that he did not request any form of a donation in exchange for doing a favour for them, such as securing funding from state institutions or municipalities. 

"If any financial contribution was made to the ANC by VBS or any other company, this would have been without any influence or commitment from the ANC to do favours", he adds.

"I have no direct knowledge or personal recollection of the R2 million donation by VBS during my tenure as TG as reported.  As stated before, donors who may wish to get clarity regarding any donation they may have made, may raise the issue with details with the Office of the ANC TG for investigation."

"At the stated time of the meeting I held with VBS bank, I was unaware of their relationship with municipalities. I only became aware of this relationship with municipalities and suspected fraud involving the VBS bank when this matter featured in the media earlier this year."

"It needs to be made explicitly clear that the SMS messages exchanged by VBS directors as reported in the media article were not a conversation with me", he said.

Mkhize said that he has  noted the media report that the same people who were instrumental in the demise of VBS bitterly acknowledged in their SMS communication amongst themselves that he was of no help to them. 

He said that this is true, but it is also important to clarify that there was never, at any time, any expectation created by him that he would assist them in securing state funding including that of municipalities.

"Not only is this suggestion untrue and laughable, it’s also a clear illustration of the arrogance, bad faith and destructive intentions that the implicated VBS representatives had about the bank."

There has never been a promise by the minister for any political ‘cover’ or protection of any sort made to directors of VBS, according to a statement.

RESERVE BANK

The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) said on Tuesday that the Prudential Authority has issued an application out of the High Court of South Africa, Pretoria for the final winding‑up (liquidation) of VBS Mutual Bank (VBS).  

Whilst VBS is currently under curatorship pursuant to a decision taken by the Minister of Finance on 10 March 2018, the Prudential Authority (PA) is of the view that curatorship must now be terminated and VBS must be placed in final winding-up, the Sarb said.

Treasury believes that this is as a result of the fact that VBS is hopelessly insolvent and massive frauds have been perpetrated against it.  

As a result, there is no prospect of entering into any resolution plan in respect of VBS

The PA believes that the final winding-up of VBS is in the best interests of all parties. 

This will then allow a liquidator to utilise the machinery provided for in insolvency legislation and the Companies Act to effect recoveries, and to follow the recommendations of the investigator who investigated the affairs of VBS and who has prepared a report into VBS.

The PA expects the application for the final winding-up of VBS to be set down for hearing, by the Pretoria High Court, on Tuesday, 13 November 2018.

Although the Mahikeng Local Municipality has launched an application of its own, in the Polokwane High Court, for the final winding-up of VBS, the PA is of the view that the Mahikeng Local Municipality's application is defective for a number of reasons including, that it is the PA who should terminate curatorship by liquidation, the PA has not been joined in the Polokwane High Court application and it is the Pretoria High Court which exercises jurisdiction in this matter.

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