ANC heavyweight Danny Msiza’s back against the ropes as VBS scandal unfolds

Published Jul 11, 2024


Former Limpopo ANC treasurer Danny Msiza has once again found his back against the ropes after his friend and VBS co-accused Tshifhiwa Matodzi was sentenced to 15 years in jail.

Matodzi, who is the former chairperson of the board of the defunct bank, appeared in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on Wednesday.

He pleaded guilty to 33 counts which include corruption, theft, fraud, money laundering, and a pattern of racketeering activities in contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

Msiza and Matodzi, along with 12 others, are charged with the brazen looting of about R2.3 billion from the now-collapsed VBS Mutual Bank.

Tshifhiwa Matodzi. Picture: Itumeleng English Independent Newspapers

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) formally indicted the gang, including bank executives, politicians, municipal officials and managers, in March 2021 for allegedly stealing billions from mostly poor people from the rural areas, especially around the bank’s headquarters in Thohoyandou in Limpopo.

In a statement yesterday, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) said Matodzi, the primary accused in the case, upon realisation that the investigation team within Serious Corruption Investigation had done due diligence, pleaded guilty and entered into a plea agreement with the State.

Colonel Katlego Mogale said although the combined sentence amounted to 495 years, the court has ordered that the sentences for counts 2 to 33 run concurrently with count 1.

“Consequently, Mr Matodzi will serve an effective 15 years imprisonment. He was also declared unfit to possess a firearm,” she said.

Matodzi, who reportedly collapsed during court proceedings, admitted to being personally involved in the brazen looting of the funds between 2017 and 2018.

This was allegedly done by creating fake credit in the bank’s accounts.

About 14 municipalities in Limpopo, North West and Gauteng, lost nearly R1.6bn after illegally investing with the bank.

All the suspects had initially denied guilt in 2021 after advocate Terry Motau released a forensic report implicating all of them in 2019.

According to the 206-page indictment, the NPA alleged that Msiza was the central figure between VBS and the municipalities that had illegally invested money in contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

Msiza, Matodzi, former ANCYL Limpopo leader Kabelo Matsepe, Rallion Razinnane, Takunda Edgar Michele, Tshianeo Madadze, Andile Malusi, Ramavhunga Mulimisi, Solomon Maphosa, Simpho Malabar, Phalaphala Ramikosi, Thifhelimbilu Nesane, Paul Manila and Robert Madzonga are out on bail of between R50 000 and R100 000 each after being charged with 180 counts, including racketeering and corruption

Msiza, through his lawyer, has since been seeking a separate trial from his co-accused. His phone rang unanswered.

Charlotte Ngobeni, of the Collins Chabane Municipality in Limpopo, has been charged separately for allegedly accepting kickbacks after she signed off on using R120 million of municipal funds to be invested in VBS.

The ANC fired Mushoni Tshifhango from Thulamela Municipality, also in Limpopo, in June for his role in the VBS saga.

Former VBS chief financial officer Philip Truter is expected to be a star witness when the trial starts after he took a plea bargain and accepted a seven-year imprisonment sentence in exchange for information.

The bank was placed under curatorship by the Reserve Bank, and a forensic investigation was instituted to establish exactly what went wrong. It is expected that more details will be disclosed when the trial begins in October.

The Star