As the VBS Bank scandal reverberates, it is difficult to decide which is more morally repugnant: that the alleged looters effectively helped themselves to taxpayers’ money and the life savings of impoverished Limpopo grandmothers, or that those calling for inquiries were accused of racism.
One of the strongest defenders of the bank – when the Reserve Bank began its probe of the affairs at VBS – was the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), whose leaders energetically thrashed the racism drum when trying to deflect the probe and those conducting it.
It is interesting then – and we put it no higher than that because many legal processes have to be followed and because anyone who criticises the EFF is liable to be called a racist – that Brian Shivambu, brother of EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, has been accused of taking R16 million of VBS money.
More disturbing, though, than the holier-than-thou attitude of the EFF towards corruption, is the revelation in the report into affairs at VBS (appropriately titled The Great Bank Heist) that one of the people up to his eyes in schemes to make money was the ANC’s moneyman in Limpopo.
The party’s treasurer in the province, Danny Msiza, is alleged to have been behind a multimillion-rand commission scheme, which saw huge amounts of taxpayers’ and ratepayers’ money from municipalities being “invested” with the bank. Msiza has been accused of pocketing as much as R4 million of that for himself.
What the VBS tragedy – for that is what it is – has taught us is that the politicians of South Africa share one motivation … and that is not service to the people.
It is the “grab it and run” enrichment which has held this continent back and kept its people in financial chains for decades.