Vhembe businesses want bank resuscitated

VBS Mutual Bank in Thohoyandou, Limpopo. A forensic report by the SA Reserve Bank has laid bare how millions disappeared from the bank.
VBS Mutual Bank in Thohoyandou, Limpopo. A forensic report by the SA Reserve Bank has laid bare how millions disappeared from the bank.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Business people in the Vhembe region are opposing the closure of VBS Mutual Bank, arguing that it provided a unique service to the black market.

This is an assertion made by Thulamela Business Forum in a letter directed at Nedbank, which was appointed by the Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago.

The letter is to facilitate the repayment of VBS's retails depositors.

The forum's chairperson, Ntsieni Mbulungeni, told Sowetan that after the Reserve Bank announced that it was placing VBS under curatorship, talk had been to take away the bank's licence instead of saving it.

Mbulungeni said VBS was not just a bank, but also symbolised the aspiration of Vhavenda within the region.

"The crippling effect is that this is going to have a catastrophic economic setback in the region and will likely lead to the closure of local businesses.

"We cannot allow such to happen because the elderly are going to be more vulnerable to scams and robbery," added Mbulungeni.

He, however, welcomed the report released on Wednesday by the Reserve Bank on how R1.89bn was illegally transferred to 53 people between 2015 and 2018.

"We are happy with the findings, but just disappointed that the information in the report can't be used as evidence to prosecute," said Mbulungeni.

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