Mathanda Ncube reflects on the childhood Western stories that remind him of the VBS bank mess
The great R2 billion VBS bank heist transported me back in time to my childhood. One of the action films I enjoyed most was a Western where bad guys on horseback robbed an express train.

Because the train never stopped anywhere along the route, the heists were a mystery.

The robbers came out of the shadows of the mountain range, looted and vanished as quickly as they appeared. Nobody got hurt or killed.

They would splurge their ill-gotten cash on women and booze, then go back to robbing again as soon as the money ran out.

One day the train owners hired a ruthless killer, who ended the robbers’ looting reign.

I remembered this old-time favourite movie as I sat for breakfast yesterday morning.

Somehow, the waiter mistook me for a guy from VBS who apparently frequented the place. It rained “Ndaas” as I took my seat.

I wonder which of the VBS looters I was mistaken for but hope I do not look at all like the loaded Tshifhiwa Matodzi, the R325m man.

When it was time to settle my bill, I swear I heard the waiter whisper: “Sorry VhoJeke but we don’t take VBS cards here.”

As the transaction went through, I held my breath hoping there was still something in there from the little randelas the good doctor pays me monthly to edit this paper. You should have seen the relief on my face as the waiter handed me the slip and mumbled, “thank you, sir.”

But the VBS heist is no joke. These comrades managed to steal R2bn without firing a single shot. My heart goes out to the gogos in the villages who brave the brazing Venda sun to salvage whatever is left of their money. This while these thieves bought themselves expensive German cars, built mansions with helipads, wined and dined girlfriends in exotic international destinations.

When the VBS scandal first broke, some among us posted on social media that blacks must deposit their money into the bank to show white monopoly capital the middle finger. I am glad I didn’t heed the call.

I hate Steinhoff’s Marcus Jooste and others of his ilk but hate blacks who steal from their own poor grandmothers the most.

This corruption scandal also touches political parties on their studios, to borrow from one Chris Maroleng, formerly of eNCA. The EFF, credited for forcing Jacob Zuma to pay back the money, and for finance minister Nhlanhla Nene’s fall, are linked via a R16m deposit into the personal bank account of Brian Shivambu, younger brother of the party’s second-in-command Floyd.

The older Shivambu, commander-in-chief Julius Malema’s sidekick and most trusted lieutenant, is reported to have received R10m of the money, with R1.3m allegedly finding its way to the red berets.

Brian denies getting money from VBS while the party says it didn’t get a cent. They can’t cry that Floyd is not his brother’s keeper. When it was Zuma, they sang Baba KaDuduzane with so much passion they made the crooner of Nkandla look like a wooden spoon contestant.

How the party handles this scandal will decide its future.

The ANC may be linked via several municipalities, mostly in Limpopo, which deposited their money into the bank against Treasury rules. Officials then got kickbacks for facilitating the deposits.

Trade union leaders are fingered for having received kickbacks by using then ANC presidential aspirant Dlamini Nkosazana Zuma’s name to get R1bn for VBS from Prasa. But this money was conditional on her becoming party leader. VBS is also the bank that gave Zuma that “loan” to pay back the money looted for Nkandla.

But for now, the party at 78 De Korte Street, Braamfontein, headquarters of the EFF, may come to an abrupt end, quicker than you can say "Floyd Shivambu".