Nedbank to pay out VBS bank victims up to R100 000 per depositor

Some of the people charged with looting the VBS bank in court. Picture: Reuters

Some of the people charged with looting the VBS bank in court. Picture: Reuters

Published Mar 9, 2021


Mashudu Sadike

Pretoria - Nedbank will pay the rest of the defunct mutual bank’s victims up to R100 000 per depositor with immediate effect, chairperson of the VBS shareholders’ forum, Madambi Muvhulawa, says.

He told the Pretoria News yesterday that Nedbank officially informed him about its decision more than three years after it took over the assets and liabilities of the defunct Venda Building Society (VBS) Mutual Bank following its collapse in 2018.

According to a VBS report, compiled by advocate Terry Motau on behalf of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), the mutual bank collapsed after being looted of R2.3billion by a group who included the mutual bank’s executives, politicians and municipal officials.

They had funnelled the savings and investments of the mainly poor people of Vhembe in Limpopo into their personal bank accounts between 2015 and 2018.

The money included investments from municipalities, government departments, stokvels and ordinary South African depositors.

Muvhulawa said a senior official from Nedbank head office informed his forum that the bank would pay all VBS depositors who lost their monies. But the payments have been capped at R100 000 per depositor. Those who were owed more would get the balance of their money at a later stage, he added.

“Nedbank will be expected to make an announcement on the matter this week because we told them to spread the message in the media so that it reaches people,” Muvhulawa said.

Nedbank spokesperson Annaleigh Vallie confirmed the decision to pay the remaining VBS victims, saying all who had proof that they had invested in the collapsed bank could go to any branch to claim.

The Pretoria News has also established that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was expected to ask for four months to prosecute the seven accused in the VBS case as well as three others tipped to be arrested before the end of this month.

NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said: “We hope to start the trial during the fourth term (maybe from October to December) this year. In respect of the duration of the trial, it is going to be a lengthy trial. In all probability it will take longer than 16 weeks.”

Several people have been charged with 47 counts of fraud, corruption, theft, racketeering and money laundering in connection with the VSB looting scandal. They include former VBS chairperson Tshifhiwa Matodzi, who has been dubbed the kingpin; VBS chief executive Andile Ramavhunga; former treasurer Phophi Mukhodobwane; two former board members Paul Magula and Ernest Nesane; bank audit committee member Phalaphala Ramikosi and former audit firm KPMG engagement partner Sipho Malaba.

They were released on bail of R100  000 each after appearing before the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court in Katlehong last year.

The eighth person, VBS chief financial officer Philip Truter, was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment in October last year for his role in the saga.

This was after he entered into a guilty plea and turned a State witness.

Senior ANC, SACP and EFF politicians, as well as mayors and municipal employees, were also implicated in the VBS report as some of the beneficiaries.

This included EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu’s brother, Brian; Limpopo ANC treasurer Danny Msiza; deputy chairperson and former Vhembe district mayor Florence Radzilani and former Limpopo SACP provincial secretary and Capricorn District mayor Gilbert Kganyago.bMsiza had been accused of mobilising Limpopo municipalities to illegally invest in VBS while Radzilani allegedly received a “Christmas gift” worth R300 000.

Msiza successfully challenged the report which was subsequently set aside by the South Gauteng High Court as it pertained to allegations against him.

The scandal strained relations between the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) in Limpopo and some local and provincial politicians that the union had accused of being involved in the collapse of the bank.

Samwu held several marches in the province demanding the sacking of official implicated. At least three Samwu leaders, including former provincial chairperson Timson Tshililo and deputy provincial secretary Roland Mani, were later killed in what was widely believed to be targeted assassinations linked to thei calls for action against VBS looters.

The scandal was described by National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi in June last year as “probably the biggest bank robbery in the country”.

Pretoria News

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