The Limpopo South African Communist Party (SACP) wants Premier Stan Mathabatha to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture to testify how Limpopo municipalities lost millions to VBS Mutual Bank.
The Citizen reported last week that several mayors, whose municipalities invested more than R1.2 billion into VBS, were invited by the commission to testify how the money was lost.
Now the SACP’s Castro Pilusa district has called on Mathabatha to join the mayors in their testimony.
“The premier is not exactly innocent in all this. He is equally responsible for the VBS saga. This is so because when this municipality made the investments, the province was under his leadership and so was the ANC, which he leads,” said SACP Castro Pilusa district secretary Dan Mosena yesterday.
Mosena said Mathabatha’s situation was like a contractor who was appointed to deliver a RDP housing project in a far-flung village.
“When the inspector finds defects on the houses, not only will he stop the builders from building them, he will also put the blame on the service provider and reprimand him or stop paying,” Mosena explained.
Mosena also accused Mathabatha of being “all talk but little action”.
“He fired seven mayors last year for the role they played in the VBS saga. Then he promised to lay criminal charges against them. But we have waited since then for it to happen. The time is ripe for the people of Limpopo to wake up and smell the coffee,” he said.
Mosena further accused Mathabatha of rewarding crime by promoting those accused of milking Limpopo municipal budgets through VBS investments.
Last year the integrity commission of the ANC, after studying the “Great Bank Heist” report by the Reserve Bank, recommended that those fingered in the report step aside from their roles.
The relationship between the SACP and the ANC in Limpopo became rocky after certain senior party leaders were left out in the cold when Mathabatha announced his cabinet.
Speaking on behalf of the premier, Mathabatha’s spokesperson Kenny Mathivha said Mathabatha would not go to the commission of inquiry at the insistence of individuals or municipalities.
“Last year we made forensic investigations into VBS, made the outcome public and took action against those involved. But you must remember that local government is the third sphere of government.
“If the commission wants clarity about our investigations then the premier will be obliged to go and shed light at the commission,” he said.