The controversial VBS Mutual Bank was in the news again this week after it was reported that the bank was unable to pay out money to some of its clients in Thohoyandou.
Lesley Mulugisi says his mother was one of the people who were inconvenienced when the bank had money shortage issues.
“She went there to withdraw their money. They wanted more than R200 000. They went there on Friday and there was no money, there was no cash, and then they were told to return on Saturday,” Mulugisi says.
He says that when his mother and her stokvel group members went back, there was still no money. Mulugisi adds that it was not just his mother’s stokvel that couldn’t access the funds, but other groups of women too. Desperate, they went to the local newspaper to complain about the situation.
“When they arrived on Monday, there was no cash and they had to wait, and there were even more people. Others decided they were going to the police station to report the matter,” Mulugisi says.
The relatively low-key bank became notorious after it emerged that it had given President Jacob Zuma over R7 million to pay for non-security upgrades at his Nkandla home.
The bank’s heads were also in the news in September after a whistle-blower submitted a dossier containing allegations that VBS Mutual Bank Chief Operating Officer Robert Madzonga and board chairman Tshifhiwa Matodzi failed to declare interests in Vele Investments, a company granted a multimillion-rand loan to secure a 54% stake in Afric Oil.
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One customer, Abraham Ramabulana, says he has been banking with VBS Mutual Bank since the ’80s and has always had a good experience when dealing with it.
“I am a client of that bank for a very long time and I know some shareholders there who are friends of mine… I asked them what was going on because this bank has never let us down since it was formulated,” he said.
Ramabulana says the media scrutiny is an attempt to discredit the bank.
“Since this bank has given the president [the loan], it has gained a lot of attention and most of the people want to make it [appear] in a bad light,” he says.
On Wednesday, the bank denied that it was running out of money, saying that it had logistical issues. It said that Fidelity Security Group failed to make the required deliveries, which led to the shortage of cash in some branches.
Speaking to Times Live, the CEO of Fidelity security group, Wahl Bartmann, admitted that there were some problems with cash delivery to some areas and that they would ensure that enough money was delivered.
“Yes, we did experience logistical issues as claimed and we have ensured that cash deliveries would be on time‚” he said.
Additional reporting: Times Live