Finance minister Tito Mboweni has given the strongest indication yet that the embattled VBS Mutual Bank could be saved.
Various ANC MPs and those from the EFF have called for the bank‚ which was placed under curatorship in March after alleged looting by executives led to a liquidity crisis‚ to be recapitalised.
“As we deal with the VBS matter it is important we do not throw the baby out with the bathwater … the model of VBS [encouraging a savings culture and uplifting poorer communities] … before the great heist was correct … as part of the model to transform the banking sector. We will work with the regulator to ensure that the model doesn’t disappear‚” Mboweni said as he delivered his medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS).
However‚ he added that the “perpetrators of the great bank heist must be locked up after a fair trial”.
The investigation into VBS’s affairs has shown how executives looted nearly R2-billion from the bank‚ with a number of senior provincial ANC politicians also implicated in wrongdoing. Of this‚ R1.2-billion belonged to 14 municipalities‚ mainly in Limpopo and the North West — money they are unlikely to recover.