Relief and scorn over plan to unlock VBS accounts

VBS Mutual Bank's clients formed long queues outside the Thohoyandou branch in Limpopo, as desperation to withdraw their money from the institution now under curatorship heightened.
VBS Mutual Bank's clients formed long queues outside the Thohoyandou branch in Limpopo, as desperation to withdraw their money from the institution now under curatorship heightened.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Some of the VBS Mutual Bank depositors who almost lost their money have mixed feelings ahead of being able to withdraw their funds from today.

Some people were relieved while others expressed reservations about Nedbank's intervention in the matter. VBS Mutual Bank has been placed under curatorship for gross financial mismanagement.

We are not going to withdraw our money

A member of Magiabila Family Society, one of the investors in the troubled bank, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was relieved that today would mark the start of a process of giving them access to their funds. This comes after a period of confusion and frustration.

"Since the South African Reserve Bank made an announcement this week, people are no longer sleeping outside the bank in Thohoyandou. We are happy our government has intervened with immediate effect to save our money."

His family society had invested more than R30 000 in VBS.

"We are not going to withdraw our money; we think it will be safe with Nedbank."

This week Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago announced that individuals and organisations would be free to withdraw from their VBS accounts from Nedbank branches.

Kganyago said the government had provided a guarantee to the bank to facilitate the repayment of all retail deposits up to R100000 per retail depositor, starting from today.

The Thulamela Business Forum, however, criticised Nedbank's involvement. Forum chairperson Ntsieni Mbulungeni said Nedbank facilitating would create confusion to VBS depositors who wanted to know if the bank still existed or not.

"It will add a burden to depositors as they are required to provide additional identification document in order to access their investment [Fica requirements] causing additional delays and frustration.

"VBS is not just a mutual bank, it symbolises the aspiration of Vhavenda people from the region in which it was originated," he said.

The forum feared the elderly were going to be more vulnerable to scams or robbery.

"It is our view that depositors must claim investment from VBS as it is still open for business.

VBS is not declared closed, therefore, its obituary cannot be written now."

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