VBS Mutual Bank: Limpopo ANC treasurer Danny Msiza, 7 others in court
Pretoria - ANC treasurer in Limpopo, Danny Msiza, and businessman and former ANC Youth League member Kabelo Matsepe will appear at the Palm Ridge Court today together with six others for their alleged role in the looting of VBS funds.
This after the brazen looting of R2.3 billion of VBS Mutual Bank that left thousands of people out of pocket.
The Hawks pounced on the duo’s homes after receiving a warrant to arrest them. Reports say the two will be charged for violating the Public Finance Act for allegedly forcing Limpopo municipalities and mayors to invest in the now defunct VBS mutual bank.
The governing party’s deputy chairperson and former mayor of the Vhembe District Municipality, Florence Radzilani, and Msiza were named in Advocate Terry Motau's “The Great Bank Heist” report that blew the lid off the VBS saga in 2018.
But Msiza, who was identified as the kingpin in Motau’s report, successfully challenged the report at the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, which meant that a portion that made reference to him had to be removed because he was not interviewed during the investigations.
The report also termed Matsepe a consultant who had done work for VBS as a runner, and is believed to have raked in R35 million for the work.
The Limpopo ANC has the second largest following in the country after KwaZulu-Natal, and the scandal is sowing division within the ANC, with provincial secretary Soviet Lekganyane rooting for the prosecution of those who were implicated in the report.
Although Radzilani is out of the woods for now, the report found that she had asked for a “Christmas present” of more than R300 000 for the December holidays when she was still mayor.
Lekganyane said in an interview: “No leader of the ANC should continue to serve the party with a cloud hanging over them. It is not like it was the decision of the ANC for comrades to involve themselves with VBS. There is no way we can take a collective responsibility.
“Comrades must go to court if they have been accused so that they clear their names, and they must leave their membership cards at Frans Mohlala house (the ANC’s provincial office) if and when they go to the courts. Let them go to court and clear their names.”
He said it was far-fetched to say that the ANC in the province was divided, but conceded that they were not entirely united.
But the Peter Mokaba Region, which is a staunch supporter of Msiza and Radzilani, maintained that the principle of innocent until proven guilty had to apply.
When contacted by Pretoria News yesterday, it’s spokesperson, Jimmy Machaka, said the region, which is the fourth biggest in the province, was aware of the news, however it was still verifying the facts.
Machaka said: “First we need to verify how true this is, but even if it were to be true we maintain the principle of innocent until proven guilty.”
The party has since been debating its stance against those who are implicated in wrongdoing and debating the step-aside rule.
ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule recently appeared in court for money laundering.
Last year, defending Mziza and Radzilani, the Peter Mokaba Region through Machaka said: “Our view is that there is no case against them as this is just a political smear campaign against our leaders. Even if they have to face charges, we say they should face the charges while still in office. It’s happening in other provinces. Why are these comrades singled out? We are confident that almost 70% of the branches in the province want our comrades to continue doing their work in the ANC.”
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Sipho Ngwema confirmed that there were developments in the VBS case.
“We can only comment tomorrow after the suspects have appeared in court. Right now we are waiting to hear from the Hawks,” he said.
The Hawks could not be reached for comment.
ANC provincial spokesperson Donald Selamulela said he could not comment on the matter until Msiza was formally charged today.
“As the ANC we can’t say anything until the Treasurer has appeared in a court of law tomorrow, all we can do is wait.”