President Cyril Ramaphosa rejected reports that he was aware of wide-scale looting at VBS Mutual Bank and had failed to act. Picture: Phando Jikelo African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa has denied reports that he was forewarned about the implosion of the Venda Building Society (VBS) months before it was placed under curatorship by the SA Reserve Bank. 

City Press 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 report titled "The Great Bank Heist" on Wednesday and it detailed how R2 billion was illegally paid out to 53 individuals between 2015 and 2018. 

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

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

"The VBS Bank saga was brought to the attention of the President through official government channels including the National Treasury. The president subsequently requested a comprehensive report from the Treasury on this matter and continues to be guided by it on all matters relating to VBS," said the presidency. 

"The President reiterates that the relevant law-enforcement and prosecutorial authorities should act with haste and vigour against those behind this unconscionable act of criminality against the most vulnerable in society."

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African News Agency (ANA)