Ramaphosa should address VBS allegations: Maimane, Malema

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President Cyril Ramaphosa Picture: Deaan Vivier
President Cyril Ramaphosa Picture: Deaan Vivier

Political parties have urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to address allegations that he had prior knowledge of the looting that was taking place at VBS.

On Sunday City Press reported that a major VBS shareholder informed the then deputy president early last year about the bank “heist” and he allegedly promised to do something about it.

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane, has challenged the president to address the issue when he appears before Parliament on Thursday for his scheduled question and answer session.

“Allegations that President Ramaphosa had prior knowledge of theft and looting at VBS bank is a matter of national importance and, if it is found to be true, will have serious legal ramifications for the president,” said Maimane.

The DA leader said he had written to the Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete, requesting that an urgent oral question to the president be added to Thursday’s order paper, in terms of rule 141 of the National Assembly rules.

“I will look to ask him the following question: On what date did he (a) first become aware of the involvement of executives in corruption and looting at the VBS Mutual Bank and (b) subsequently take action, if any, in this regard,” said Maimane.

EFF leader Julius Malema during a media briefing on Tuesday, also reiterated that Ramaphosa should answer to the allegations that he was alerted to the looting that was taking place at VBS Bank while he was still deputy president and did nothing to intervene.

“The City Press reported that Ramaphosa was made aware of the looting and he did nothing about it. What is shocking is that there are already embedded journalist who are defending him [Ramaphosa’s] involvement instead of finding out if there is any truth to the allegations,” said Malema.

Journalists are not reporting on these ANC officials because they do not want to taint the squeaky clean image that they have associated with Ramaphosa since he got into office.
Julius Malema

The EFF leader said it was shocking how the media was “placing more focus on Brian Shivambu [who is the brother of the party’s deputy leader, Floyd, and who was named in the VBS report as receiving money] someone who is not even a public representative” and not reporting on accused ANC officials in the province who are supposed to serve the people.

“Journalists are not reporting on these ANC officials because they do not want to taint the squeaky clean image that they have associated with Ramaphosa since he got into office,” said Malema.

Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko on Monday dismissed the allegations as being “baseless and unsubstantiated”.

“President Ramaphosa has no knowledge of any meeting where he is said to have met any person associated with VBS Mutual Bank where he was purportedly briefed on the matter,” said Diko.

The spokesperson strongly maintained that Ramaphosa was never at any time warned about the implosion of the bank.

“The VBS Bank saga was only brought to the attention of the president through official government channels‚ including the National Treasury,” said Diko.

Maimane, however, dismissed the presidency’s statement as an “attempt to bury the matter.”

“The truth still remains elusive [even with the statement offered by the presidency]. We now sit with allegations and counter allegations, none of which provide full clarity on the president’s involvement,” said Maimane.

The DA leader said it was absolutely vital to ascertain if the president had a legislative duty to report corrupt transactions in terms of section 34(1) of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004 (PACCA): “If he failed to do so, he may well be criminally liable.”

Maimane urged the President to use his final oral questions session for the year to play an open hand with the people of South Africa and “unequivocally state on which date he first became aware of the VBS heist, and on which date he first acted in this regard, if at all, to ensure those accused are held to account”.

The truth still remains elusive [even with the statement offered by the presidency]. We now sit with allegations and counter allegations, none of which provide full clarity on the president’s involvement.
Mmusi Maimane

A forensic report released on Wednesday‚ titled The Great Bank Heist‚ detailed how close to R2 billion was systematically stolen from the VBS bank accounts of poor, vulnerable and elderly people and funnelled to rich politicians, politically connected businesspersons, and their associates.

The report was commissioned by the South African Reserve Bank and compiled by advocate Terry Motau and Werksmans Attorneys and details how the bulk of the funds stolen allegedly benefited individuals and entities related to VBS executives‚ including its largest purported shareholder‚ Vele Investments.

“Sadly, the VBS heist is just one example of an almost daily occurrence of corruption, cronyism and nepotism under the ANC – all which steals opportunity from South Africans,” said Maimane.

The DA leader said the ANC had succeeded at “maintaining a sophisticated organisational model of corruption that serves to make themselves rich” while, in the meantime, “Ramaphosa’s public relations team was hard at work portraying him as “Mr Squeaky Clean but it appears the skeletons are falling out of the cupboard, one by one,” said Maimane.


Juniour Khumalo
Journalist
City Press
p:+27 (0) 11 713 9001
w:www.citypress.co.za  e: juniour.khumalo@citypress.co.za
      
 
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