VBS scandal: ANC in Limpopo expects 7 mayors instructed to resign to leave quietly

2018-12-11 21:57
ANC flag. (Thulani Mbele, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

ANC flag. (Thulani Mbele, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

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The ANC in Limpopo says it expects the seven mayors instructed on Tuesday to resign over the VBS Mutual Bank scandal to vacate their offices without putting up a fight.

Florence Radzilani, who is also the party's deputy chairperson in the province, has since resigned as mayor of Vhembe municipality. The six remaining mayors are still to formally resign.

The party's provincial secretary, Soviet Lekganyane, said he expected them to heed all instructions from the party.

"I don't recall any member refusing when called to become a mayor. So, we don't anticipate any difficulty," Lekganyane told the media at the release of the provincial treasury report into the VBS saga.

Giving details on why the mayors were being forced to resign, Lekganyane said the party had established its own task team to investigate the circumstances that led the municipalities to invest with VBS.

He said the task team had found transgressions of policies and a very serious weakness around the party's deployment strategy. Letters written by the provincial treasury to withdraw the invested money were also ignored.

For instance, Lepelle-Nkumpi municipality went ahead and invested R150m with VBS in November 2016. This was after it had received a letter in August of that year from the provincial treasury advising municipalities to desist from investing with VBS.

However, Lekganyane said the report of the party's task team was withheld, "taking into cognisance that there was also an investigation by the government."

R1bn permanently lost

"As the ANC, we cannot go and instruct mayors or councils to remove municipal managers or any other official. The authority we have is on our own deployees," Lekganyane said.

"The PEC (provincial executive committee) discussed with fragility of emotions that there must be serious political consequences in those municipalities," he said.

He hinted that action might still be taken against the mayors whose municipalities heeded a call by the provincial treasury to withdraw the investment. Three out of the 10 municipalities that invested with VBS did  so.

READ: UPDATE: Top ANC man Danny Msiza linked to VBS scandal resigns

The seven municipalities that failed to do so have now permanently lost more than R1bn.

"We will continue to monitor our deployees in municipalities to ensure the recommendations of the investigations are implemented," Lekganyane said.

Releasing the provincial treasury report on Tuesday, Premier Stan Mathabatha also indicated that there might be civil claims laid against the mayors and officials implicated in the VBS scandal.

Municipalities under dire financial stress

"The recommendations are very clear. There must be criminal charges and civil claims.

"We want to see arrests, successful prosecutions and serious jail terms for all those who have violated the law. For our part as government, we will provide all the necessary support to the law enforcement agencies to bring this matter to finality," he said.

The provincial treasury report has found that municipal officials and political office bearers all admitted knowledge of the Municipal Finance Management Act, the Municipal Management Act, the Municipal Structures Act and the Municipal Systems Act.

It recommended that disciplinary actions be taken against municipal managers and chief financial officers (CFOs) of the municipalities involved in the VBS saga.

So far, certain entities have already placed their municipal managers and CFOs under suspension. Others, such as Giyani municipality CFO Hitler Maluleke, have since been dismissed.

Finance MEC Rob Tooley said there were already three municipalities under dire financial stress, including the Giyani municipality, which had invested just over R148m into the now collapsed bank. 

Read more on:    vbs  |  anc
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