Speaking outside the EFF’s Manifesto Consultation Assembly with role players in the financial sector on Friday evening in Sandton, party leader Julius Malema expressed shame at having allowed a court order to set in motion the process to liquidate VBS Bank.
“We should be ashamed of ourselves, all of us decided to fold our arms when a black bank was being closed down because there was this narrative that anyone who tries to save it is corrupt,” Malema said.
“Because we didn’t want to be seen to be corrupt we all ran, including the EFF,” he added.
The leader of the red berets said his party “must take full responsibility” for having “failed black people” by not fighting against the liquidation of VBS.
READ MORE: Malema’s cousin linked to VBS Bank scandal
“If there are still options to appeal the liquidation or anything of that sort,” Malema says he will speak to EFF leadership and ask them to pursue these options.
Malema said he wanted to put together a group of experts including bankers and lawyers to advise him on what can be done.
He added that if the “horses have bolted” and VBS cannot be saved, that would be unfortunate, but that then he would look at a second option – starting a bank using the same model, working with bankers who are willing to start a “similar bank” and helping them get a license.
Malema says he wants to work with “honest bankers who are ready to run a black bank and use it to demonstrate that black people can run a successful bank.”
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) November 16, 2018
The EFF leader made no mention of the alleged looting of the bank to the tune of R1.9 billion, exposed in a report commissioned by the reserve bank that implicated 53 people as having “gratuitously” received money from the bank.
The EFF was implicated in the scandal through deputy president Floyd Shivambu’s brother Brian, with a Daily Maverick report alleging that Shivambu himself and the EFF had also received money, and a later report in the Mail & Guardian connecting the scandal to one of Malema’s cousins.
Speaking to role players in the financial sector, Malema earlier seemed to express the view that VBS was targeted as a result of being a “black bank” that posed a threat to its “mainstream” rivals.
“The money that was supposed to go into the mainstream was now going into a mutual bank and the mainstream was starting to feel the heat that no, these municipalities are no longer banking with us, what’s wrong? No they are banking with some VBS,” Malema said, adding that as a result these banks decided to “bring legislation” and “go for” VBS, which he called a breath of “fresh air” in the financial sector.
— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) November 16, 2018