A week after VBS was placed under curatorship, the municipality’s management met Treasury officials and requested clarification on the legality of the investments. The municipality said a similar request was put forward in a meeting with cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister Zweli Mkhize.
“In the absence of clarification on interpretation being provided by either National Treasury or [the cooperative governance and traditional affairs department], the municipality sought an external legal opinion on municipal investments. The external legal opinion by senior counsel confirmed that the municipal investments since 2015 to date were within the legal framework,” the municipality said.
“The municipality has not been provided with any other legal opinion from any other party that contradicts the one obtained by council … In the same light, we wish to state that the financial problems experienced by the municipality are not in any way as a result of the investment made with VBS Mutual Bank.”
The municipality’s financial woes came to the fore earlier this month when officials were held hostage in their offices because employees had not been paid. Times Select reported that the mayor, councillors, executives, managers and supervisors were also among those who did not get their salaries at the end of October.