Calm restored as VBS clients in Limpopo get their cash

Calm restored as VBS clients in Limpopo get their cash.
Calm restored as VBS clients in Limpopo get their cash.
Image: Stock Photo

The situation at Nedbank branches in Thohoyandou and Makhado in Limpopo had stabilised by 10.30am on Friday as VBS depositors rushed to open accounts so they could withdraw money.

The South African Reserve Bank announced earlier in the week that R330-million had been given to Nedbank to pay VBS customers affected by the collapse of the bank.

Each customer will be allowed to withdraw a maximum of R100‚000. There are currently 22‚700 retail VBS depositors who stand to benefit.

The Reserve Bank put VBS under curatorship in April after discovering that the bank did not have enough funds to meet its obligations to depositors. On Monday the Reserve Bank suggested that as much as 75% of VBS’s assets may have been stolen by its executives and directors.

It is the same bank that gave former president Jacob Zuma a R7.8-million loan to repay the state for upgrades made to his home at Nkandla.

“We have had significant queues of VBS depositors early this morning who came to open their Nedbank accounts‚” said Nedbank’s David Schwegmann in Thohoyandou on Friday‚ where he was monitoring the process.

He said there were some problems early on Friday morning as some VBS depositors did not have the correct documentation‚ as individuals or as club account members. This caused some dissatisfaction with VBS depositors‚ he said.

Schwegmann said after VBS depositors’ details had been authenticated‚ they were given bank cards to withdraw their cash.

Schwegmann said it was too early to tell how many VBS depositors had visited three Nedbank branches and satellite points at Boxer stores in the two towns.

“There are still customers outside the branch but we have created three queues in the banks‚ one for existing Nedbank customers‚ another for individual VBS contributors and the third for VBS stokvel members.”

He said there were also 16 ATMs in the two towns where former VBS clients‚ whose details had been authenticated and who had been given debit cards‚ could make withdrawals.

Schwegmann said although the bank card issued by Nedbank had an automatic daily withdrawal limit of R1‚000‚ this amount could be increased at ATMs to R5‚000 per day.

“If the individual insists that he or she wants to withdraw the full amount‚ it is their choice - but for their safety we have urged customers not to withdraw large amounts of cash‚” he added.

While depositors queued to get their money‚ new details emerged on Friday about a shelf company‚ Robvet‚ with links to VBS that was allegedly used to pay R250 000 for an “ANC gala dinner event” in January.

The Mail & Guardian reported that VBS curator Anoosh Rooplal revealed in court papers that since early 2016‚ the Robvet account had been used to pay “commissions” to third parties who assisted VBS in raising deposits from municipalities.

The newspaper reported that Rooplal had applied to the court to sequestrate Vele Investments chair and former VBS operations chief Robert Madzonga‚ along with other senior officials at the bank in an attempt to recover funds.

The Sunday Times reported in June that money looted from VBS had been used to shower Venda king Toni Ramabulana with gifts worth almost R12-million‚ including a R7.8-million house at Dainfern Golf Estate in Johannesburg‚ a R1.1-million Range Rover Sport‚ a R1.5-million BMW 750Li and a R1.3-million Mercedes-Benz Viano.

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