President Ramaphosa will need to tell the truth about prior VBS knowledge when he appears in Parliament on Thursday

Issued by Mmusi Maimane – Leader of the Democratic Alliance
16 Oct 2018 in News

Allegations that President Ramaphosa had prior knowledge of theft and looting at VBS bank is a matter of national importance and, if true, has serious legal ramifications for the President. Close to R2 billion was systematically stolen from VBS bank accounts of poor, vulnerable and elderly people and funnelled to rich politicians, politically connected businesspersons, and their associates. The people of South Africa deserve a full, candid explanation.

I have therefore today written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, requesting that an urgent oral question to the President be added to Thursday’s Order Paper, in terms of Rule 141 of the National Assembly Rules.

When President Ramaphosa appears in Parliament to answer questions on Thursday, I will look to ask him the following question:

On what date did he (a) first become aware of the involvement of executives in corruption and looting at the VBS Mutual Bank and (b) subsequently take action, if any, in this regard?

While the Presidency attempted to bury this matter yesterday via a press statement, the truth still remains elusive. We now sit with allegations and counter allegations, none of which provide full clarity on the President’s involvement.

As of yet, President Ramaphosa has failed to tell the nation the date on which he first became aware of the corruption and looting at VBS, and the date of when he first acted on this knowledge, if at all.

It is absolutely vital to ascertain this, as the President has a legislative duty to report corrupt transactions in terms of section 34(1) of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004 (PACCA). If he failed to do so, he may well be criminally liable.

For the holder of the highest office in the Republic to have allegedly had prior knowledge of grand corruption and looting for almost two years is an incredibly serious allegation and cannot be left partially answered through a 170-word statement. It is of urgent public importance that the President is afforded an opportunity in Parliament to answer to this serious allegation.

The President needs to use his final oral questions session for the year to play an open hand with the people of South Africa and unequivocally state on which date he first became aware of the VBS heist, and on which date he first acted in this regard, if at all, to ensure those accused are held to account.

Sadly, the VBS heist is just one example of an almost daily occurrence of corruption, cronyism and nepotism under the ANC – all which steals opportunity from South Africans.

One thing the ANC has succeeded at is maintaining a sophisticated organisational model of corruption that serves to make themselves rich. While Mr Ramaphosa’s PR team has been hard at work portraying him as “Mr Squeaky Clean”, it appears the skeletons are falling out of the cupboard, one by one.

Only the DA can fix this broken system that locks South Africans out by creating an open, fair and transparent model of government that sees all politically connected individuals found guilty of corruption spending a minimum of 15 years in jail.