Screengrab of the www.vbsmutualbank.co.za website

Cape Town - The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) has slammed the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) over its silence on the VBS Mutual Bank scandal.

"The EFF is showing VBS Mutual Bank investors and the public the middle finger with its deafening silence to allegations that its President, Julius Malema and Deputy President Floyd Shivambu were among prime beneficiaries of the bank's R2 billion fraud scandal," Sanco said in a statement on Saturday.

"The typical no apology-apology that the EFF will ultimately come up with for its failure to take the public into its confidence will only attest to the fact that it has lost high moral ground because as things stand, the emperor is completely naked," said Sanco spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu.

An independent report commissioned by the SA Reserve Bank to probe the collapse of the mutual bank found that there was "wide-scale looting and pillaging of the monies placed on deposit at VBS". The monies were clients' life savings and deposits, including millions of rands deposited by municipalities.

The report, titled "The Great Bank Heist" showed that at least 50 people "gratuitously" received R1.894 billion from the bank over a three-year period starting in March 2015. 

They included top management at the bank's major shareholder Vele Investments, its associates who cashed in more than R936 million. Others also included bank executives and Limpopo politicians, as well as Brian Shivambu, the brother of EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu.

The EFF on Wednesday decried the demise of the VBS Mutual Bank, but said nothing about the allegations surrounding Brian Shivambu who is alleged to have received R16 million in "gratuitous" payments from the bank coffers. 

The red berets called for the law to take its course and that those responsible be held accountable.

But Sanco said there is an expectation that the EFF will abide by the high ethical and moral standard it had demanded of people like former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and those fingered in state capture investigations.

Mahlangu added that there is growing concern about the party’s link with the criminal underworld which does not sit well with voters.
“The VBS saga follows public acknowledgement that the EFF had received funding from Adriano Mazzoti, co-owner of the tobacco company CarniLinx who had in May 2014 reportedly signed an affidavit in which he admitted to being complicit in a host of crimes including fraud, money laundering, corruption, tax evasion and bribery,” he pointed out.

African News Agency (ANA)