Death threats for VBS whistleblower

FILE IMAGE: VBS Mutual Bank customers form long queues outside the bank in Thohoyandou, Venda.
FILE IMAGE: VBS Mutual Bank customers form long queues outside the bank in Thohoyandou, Venda.

VBS whistleblower Phophi Mukhodobwane has received threats from people who wanted to "destroy his family".

Mukhodobwane, the bank's former head of treasury and capital management, opened a case of intimidation at the Sandton police station on Saturday, February 2.

Mukhodobwane declined to comment on the case.
"Can I rather not comment about that, thank you," he said before cutting us off.

In a police statement seen by Sunday World, Mukhodobwane alleged that he was at his Bryanston home when he received an SMS from a number unknown to him.

He alleged the SMS reads as follows: "It is about time for us to destroy your family. It's about time my man. You can run but you can't hide."

It appears the threats were triggered by his decision to spill the beans on the corruption between the bank's officials, government officials and politicians, which led to the liquidation of the bank last year.

This because in the statement Mukhodobwane alleged that while employed by the bank he noticed a lot of irregularities at VBS.

Sandton police spokesperson Granville Meyer confirmed that Mukhodobwane had opened a case of intimidation and that police investigations are under way.

"No [one] has been arrested as yet and the police are investigating," said Meyer.

Threats to Mukhodobwane come a few months after an ANC councillor and two unionists from Limpopo were murdered after they called for those implicated in the "VBS Bank Heist Report", compiled by advocate Terry Motau SC, to be brought to book.

The provincial deputy chairperson of the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), Ronald Mani, was shot dead outside a local restaurant at Tshisahulu last month.

Samwu's provincial secretary Patrick Aphane survived a gunfire attack after he was shot at his village home in Marble Hall, Sekhukhune, in November last year. Advocate Ndwamato Joseph Themeli survived death after he was shot several times while sitting in his car outside his home in Thohoyandou in August last year, while Tubatse ANC councilor Thabang Maupa was fatally shot at his business last November after he too had been vocal on VBS.

It was widely believed that his death is linked to his public criticism of the ANC after the municipality lost about R280m it had invested with the now-defunct VBS.

Samwu's provincial chairperson Timson Tshililo died in hospital early this month, eight days after he was shot arriving at his Makwarela home.

His death prompted SA Communist Party first deputy general-secretary Solly Mapaila to appeal to the police to protect Cosatu's provincial deputy chairperson Calvin Chamano.

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