'We should be ashamed VBS could not be saved' - Malema

We should be ashamed that we folded our arms and left VBS Mutual Bank to be liquidated.

This is the view of EFF leader Julius Malema who was canvassing the support of business professionals on Friday night at the party's consultative process at the Forum in Bryanston, Johannesburg.

Malema said if there were any prospects of successfully resuscitating VBS, he would be interested in doing so.

He said that the EFF was afraid of being labelled "corrupt" had it continued to defend the bank's continued operation.

"Our bankers and legal team must advise us on what should be done, and if needs be, appeal the liquidation," he said.

READ: Court orders VBS Bank to be liquidated

He said that the Venda government under apartheid successfully ran the VBS bank, but a democratic government failed to aid it.

"African Bank was saved... individuals who ran VBS to the ground needed to be dealt with and have the bank saved".

The EFF consultative meetings form part of the party's drive to have an inclusive manifesto ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Most of those who were present were young professionals working in the financial sector.

Small business concerns

Some of those in attendance asked how the EFF was going to change the financial sector to be beneficial to small businesses.

"The EFF should insist that large accounting firms should partner with black-owned companies to ensure capacity growth, and emancipation," one person said.

Another said the underwriting of insurance companies should be addressed, to allow small businesses in the insurance sector to be able to operate models which are beneficial to them.

Others added that regulators should be held to account to ensure that their laws are not biased.

One young professional pointed out that companies are able to claim back their VAT, but consumers, including pensioners, are unable to do so. He urged the party to deal with the issue "constitutionally".

Malema weighed in on the experience requirement to an entry level job opportunity, saying it was an unfair request by companies.

"If Nelson Mandela was required to have experience to be president, then he would not have been a statesman because he had no experience," he said.

Job protection

Malema went on to tell the finance professionals that a way must be found to protect jobs.

"We should find ways to re-skill people, and equip them with skills to adapt in the changing landscape we find ourselves in."

Malema also touched on policy uncertainty, and said those who are in power should not be afraid to make policies which will have government own and control its assets.

"We need to have management which is committed to hire black people, and women more in particular.

"We as the EFF have got political power with just 6%, and we will make changes," he concluded.

His party also held a consultative meeting with the elderly in Soweto on Thursday. It is expected to meet with informal traders this weekend. 

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