President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The DA wants to know when President Cyril Ramaphosa was alerted to the looting that took place at the Venda Building Society (VBS). 

The party plans to pose this question to Ramaphosa when he makes his appearance in Parliament for his last question and answer session of the year. 

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said questions about Ramaphosa's possible prior knowledge about the VBS saga were too important to be left unchecked.

"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.

"When he appears in Parliament to answer oral questions on 6 November, he will need to provide South Africa with a clear answer to the following question: On what date did he first become aware of the involvement of executives in corruption and looting at VBS Bank, and on what date did he subsequently act in this regard?"

The City Press newspaper reported that Ramaphosa was informed last year by a major shareholder at VBS about the "looting" at the bank. The shareholder said Ramaphosa had promised to do something about it. 

The SA Reserve Bank released the extensive VBS report titled "The Great Bank Heist" last week and it detailed how R2 billion was illegally paid out to 53 individuals between 2015 and 2018.

Ramaphosa has denied reports that he was forewarned about the implosion of VBS months before it was placed under curatorship by the SARB. 

The presidency said in a statement issued on Monday that the claims linking the president to the promise were "baseless and unsubstantiated". 

Ramaphosa found out about the illegal dealings at the bank through official channels including the National Treasury, the presidency said.

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