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VBS Mutual Bank: 'Floyd Shivambu faces real prospect of being arrested'

19 October 2020 8:01 PM

Bruce Whitfield interviews amaBhungane investigative journalist Dewald van Rensburg about his new book, "VBS: A Dream Defrauded".

Every week The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield asks a great business mind to review a trending business book.

This week Whitfield interviewed Dewald van Rensburg, an investigative journalist at amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism.

Van Rensburg spoke about his new book, “VBS: A Dream Defrauded”.

Former VBS Mutual Bank chair Tshifhiwa Matodzi appears in the Palm Ridge Regional Court on 18 June 2020 on various charges related to the theft of billions of rands from the bank. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

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There was very little reason to know VBS existed… They were almost invisible. It was only with the Zuma loan that people realised they existed… an inspired piece of marketing… Municipalities began throwing money at them…

Dewald van Rensburg, author - VBS: A Dream Defrauded

It seems to me there was a real expectation they would get away with it…

Dewald van Rensburg, author - VBS: A Dream Defrauded

Ponzi scheme 101… a constant battle to keep the thing from sinking…

Dewald van Rensburg, author - VBS: A Dream Defrauded

There was a conflict of interest between the thieves…

Dewald van Rensburg, author - VBS: A Dream Defrauded

I sat with the last chapter, knowing arrests were imminent… After publishing, people came forward with new information… A lot of little things happened on the side.

Dewald van Rensburg, author - VBS: A Dream Defrauded

Matodzi is incredibly likeable… He’s a fish that can swim in any water…

Dewald van Rensburg, author - VBS: A Dream Defrauded

A lot of ANC people are involved, but no one at national leadership…

Dewald van Rensburg, author - VBS: A Dream Defrauded

Floyd Shivambu faces a very real prospect of being arrested… How would the EFF react? … Very, very compelling evidence that, at the very least, money ended up at the EFF and at Floyd Shivambu that was not legitimately earned…

Dewald van Rensburg, author - VBS: A Dream Defrauded
The EFF's Floyd Shivambu. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

Description by Penguin Random House South Africa:

Originally the Venda Building Society, VBS Mutual Bank was a small, little-known lender in Limpopo before it rocketed from obscurity in 2016 by giving President Jacob Zuma a controversial home loan to repay the state for improvements to his Nkandla homestead.

The bank was growing rapidly and sold itself as a fearless champion of black advancement.

Its owner, Vele Investments, was on a meteoritic trajectory towards becoming a financial conglomerate worthy of national attention.

When the bank abruptly went into curatorship in March 2018, no one had any reason to doubt that it was just another unfortunate corporate failure.

Then the astonishing truth emerged: the collapse of VBS was due to an epic R2-billion fraud that had created Vele’s empire out of thin air and left the bank a hollow shell.

“VBS: A Dream Defrauded” unravels the fraud, exploring how suspected mastermind Tshifhiwa Matodzi and his associates first took control of VBS, fed ANC patronage networks and operated under a nationalist mantle endorsed by Venda royalty.

The book explains how the bank and its shareholder Vele were seemingly built into a multibillion-rand business, exposes the political machinations that guaranteed VBS up to R3.5 billion in unlawful funding from municipalities and other state institutions, and describes the free-for-all that ensued after the bank’s collapse, when all involved tried to cover their tracks.

Written by one of the journalists who first broke the story, this book draws on interviews with VBS insiders and other role-players, as well as documents and detailed forensic evidence collected in the course of two years of investigations.

This is a compelling account of a bank heist whose shockwaves continue to haunt the politicians, businessmen and traditional leaders who enabled it.

Listen to the interview in the audio below.


19 October 2020 8:01 PM

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