MKMVA calls on government to save VBS Mutual Bank

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Ayanda Mdluli

JOHANNESBURG- The Umkhonto we SizweMilitary Veterans Association (MKMVA) has lambasted the South African Reserve bank for placing VBS Mutual Bank under curatorship.

Carl Niehaus, the spokesman of the MKMVA said: “The SARB cannot operate in ‘splendid isolation’, as if it exists in an a-historical suspended bubble, and ignore the harsh realities of our economic environment where black people (especially Africans) have been exploited and subjugated for centuries by white colonialists, who have morphed into White Monopoly Capitalists and who with their white-owned and controlled financial institutions, have total control over the availability and cost of capital and loans,” he said.

The SARB operating ‘independently’, without aligning and supporting government economic transformation policy, has long been a matter of serious concern to MKMVA. The ANC’s 5th National Conference in June last year passed a Resolution in which it called for the SARB to align with government economic transformation policy, explained Niehaus.

“We also called for the private ownership of shares in the SARB to cease, and that government must be the sole owner of all Reserve Bank shares. Our Resolution furthermore noted that urgent steps had to be taken to promote and fund black entrepreneurship through making affordable capital available, with the specific intention to promote emerging black (especially African) business and young emerging black entrepreneurs,” said Niehaus.

Currently, VSB is the only black-owned and managed bank in South Africa.

Niehaus added: “As an emerging black bank, transforming itself from being a building society with a mutual banking licence, to a fully fledged commercial bank to be listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, is evidently faced with challenges – especially with regards to complying with the stringent requirements of the SARB for obtaining a commercial banking licence.”

He believed that instead of taking VSB’s hand and assisting it with a developmental approach to get the bank to get a commercial banking licence speedily, the SARB turned out to be particularly harsh, unbending and litigious in its approach to VBS Bank.

“In fact far more so than the SARB had been to the other established banks and financial institutions, that are all in the ownership of White Monopoly Capital. For example, did the SARB specifically intervene in favour of KPMG, issuing a statement with great haste, and told top lenders that they cannot fire KPMG as their auditors despite KPMG being entangled in a scandal relating to their auditing of companies related to the Gupta family. In doing so the SARB was apparently motivated by ‘concerns’ that it may undermine financial stability.”

“This the SARB had done, despite evidence against KPMG having piled up to the point where KPMG itself said it will ask a senior legal figure to conduct an external investigation into whether its South African-based workers were complicit in illegal activities or colluded in producing a report that has since been discredited. KPMG sacked its South African leadership two weeks ago after it found that work the accounting firm had done for companies owned by the Gupta family had fallen “considerably short” of its standards,” said Niehaus.

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