A VBS-linked cartel consisting of ANC bigwigs from Limpopo has allegedly been pressurising municipal managers, chief financial officers (CFOs) and politicians who refused to play ball when ordered to invest municipal money in the controversial mutual bank.
Sources told The Citizen the cartel comprises of ANC “top dogs” from the Limpopo provincial executive committee (PEC), and officials from regions who speak the same political language as them.
The Limpopo ANC said it had launched investigations into allegations that certain comrades were involved in the VBS saga.
Provincial secretary Soviet Lekganyane said: “We get worried every time the name of the organisation is mentioned in the same breath as the VBS scandal.
“The ANC is not a soothsayer. We’re only appealing to those reportedly mistreated to come forward with tangible proof and we will not hesitate to take action.”
Last month, the EFF in Limpopo publicly accused ANC provincial treasurer Danny Msiza of holding municipal bosses, council speakers and ANC chief whips hostage. The party claimed Msiza was responsible for wooing local municipalities to invest with the liquidated bank.
Msiza has since distanced himself from the allegations, branding them lies fabricated by individuals waging a political vendetta against him.
He said those who failed to torpedo him at the recent ANC elective conference were responsible for fabricating lies against him. But he said, as a leader, he did not see anything wrong in supporting a black-owned business.
This week, some ANC senior members from two Limpopo regions claimed the cartel was targeting managers who didn’t invest in the VBS Mutual Bank by frustrating them before suspending them and subsequently firing them.
Recently, chief financial officer of the Greater Giyani Local Municipality Hitler Maluleke was suspended under questionable circumstances, allegedly related to the VBS investment, while the Greater Tubatse Local Municipality’s chief financial officer, Frank Ratau, also resigned in June, allegedly due to pressure from the cartel.
Most recently, the ANC leadership in the Sekhukhune region threatened to show a member of the mayoral committee the door. The member, Mbuzi Mahlangu, is MMC for water and infrastructure responsible for a budget of more than R800 million for bulk water projects and construction of VIP toilets.
Municipal spokesperson Willy Mosoma said they had suspended four municipal officials from the finance and information technology departments following allegations of fraud and corruption involving millions of rand. But Mosoma wouldn’t be drawn into comment on the Mahlangu attempted recall saga.
The Mahlangu affair comes barely two weeks after a failed attempt by the cartel to get rid of Sekhukhune District Municipality executive mayor Stan Ramaila. Ramaila was only saved by the provincial ANC Youth League, which threatened to plunge the region into turmoil.
A municipal source, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, said Ramaila’s detractors branded him an arrogant leader who “refused to take instructions from above.”