No more talk: Go to jail

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The public is outraged yet again by the SA Reserve Bank’s release of The Great Bank Heist – a report into blatant looting at VBS Mutual Bank.

Sadly, South Africans are all too familiar with the script. This one has different characters but, as is always the case, the victims are the same – the poor and the most vulnerable of our society.

The report details how the rich and powerful used the bank as their personal kitty to subsidise opulent lifestyles with money belonging to stokvels, burial societies, municipal deposits and ordinary bank account holders.

The trail of greed is appalling and the fallout is devastating. Struggling municipalities which deposited money into VBS can’t deliver services and jobs for which the money was intended. Rural folk who invested their hard-earned life savings now face an uncertain future.

The VBS looting is just one of many. Bain. McKinsey. Estina. Eskom. Prasa. Transnet. Steinhoff. Hundreds of billions of South Africa’s money looted to line the pockets of the few well-connected.

The Attorney-General’s report goes further, detailing tens of billions in irregular and wasteful expenditure by government departments.

South Africa is being looted into poverty.

Economic crime is rampaging unchecked through our land and its effects are as devastating as any other comparable violent crime. In many respects it is far worse. It robs millions of the opportunities that prudent fiscal management would offer. It steals jobs, investment, housing, water, electricity, pension funds and fundamental societal development. It robs our children and grandchildren of a future.

What is truly astounding is that none of those implicated in these crimes is yet behind bars despite ongoing criminal investigations.

As you read this, those responsible sleep comfortably in the homes built and bought by the proceeds of these crimes. Many are unrepentant, arrogant and in flat denial of their participation in stealing to satisfy their financial gluttony.

We are tired of pathetic investigations and poor prosecutorial ability. It is time for the government to act. Arrest, prosecute and jail fraudsters.

Elections are coming.

You will be judged.

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