DA leader Mmusi Maimane

PARLIAMENT - President Cyril Ramaphosa will be questioned by the opposition about his knowledge of the fraud at VBS Mutual Bank in Parliament next month, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Friday.

Maimane said he had received confirmation from Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli that the president would answer the question from the official opposition on November 6.

The DA has called on Ramaphosa to explain publicly when he first became aware of large-scale wrongdoing at the bank which, according to a damning report released by the South African Reserve Bank last week, collapsed after its directors paid bribes to solicit large deposits from state entities and then pocketed millions.

Allegations pointing to President Cyril Ramaphosa's prior knowledge of the large-scale theft and looting at VBS bank – as far back as early 2017 while still Deputy President of South Africa – cannot remain untested, Maimane said. 

"Almost R2 billion was stolen from the accounts of hundreds of poor, vulnerable and elderly people who bank with VBS. This act of corruption was committed by rich politicians, politically connected businesspersons, and their associates – many of whom are either elected ANC officials, or have strong links to the ruling party."

Maimane said Ramaphosa owed South Africans an honest answer as to when he became aware of problems at the bank and what he did to address it.

"It is absolutely vital to ascertain this, as the president has a legal duty to report corrupt transactions in terms of section 34(1) of Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004 (PACCA). If he failed to do so, he may well be criminally liable."

Ramaphosa's office has dismissed as "baseless" a media report that a shareholder in the bank told him about the ongoing corruption as early as 2016.

- African News Agency (ANA)