THE VBS scandal has sown divisions within the ANC in Limpopo, with two of its top leaders implicated in the brazen looting of the now collapsed bank, potentially facing prosecution from the NPAk.
The ruling party’s deputy chairperson and former mayor of the Vhembe District Municipality, Florence Radzilani and Treasurer, Danny Msiza, were named in Advocate Terry Motau’s ‘The Great Bank Heist’ report that blew the lid off the VBS saga in 2018 and have since been suspended from their positions, including all ANC activities by the organisation’s Integrity Commission, chaired by George Mashamba.
Speaking exclusively to the SunTeam on Friday, the party’s secretary in the province Soviet Lekganyane vowed that no leader would continue to serve the party with a cloud hanging over them.
Limpopo ANC has the second largest following in the country after KZN.
Lekganyane confirmed that the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) had a virtual sitting on Tuesday to discuss the matter of the duo returning to their positions after some members suggested they return to their positions as deputy chairperson and treasurer respectively.
This as rejected by the meeting.
Said Lekganyane: “It’s wrong for the PEC to discuss two names while hundreds of the old and the vulnerable people who lost money in VBS are not represented. Who must speak for them if the ANC speaks for the two leaders implicated?”
He insisted Msiza and Radzilani could only get back to office if they had cleared their names.
“It is not like it was the decision of the ANC for comrades to involve themselves with VBS. There’s no way we can take collective responsibility. Comrades must go to court if they have been accused to clear their names and must leave their membership cards at Frans Mohlala house [ANC provincial office].”
Lekagnyane also took a swipe at the ANC’s fourth largest region in the province, the Peter Mokaba Region that is calling for the re-installment of the two leaders.
“People who hire buses, sound systems and toilets to go to Luthuli house[ANC National head quarters in Gauteng] to insult members of the ANC who are deployed to oversee disciplinary processes within the party are not uniting us.
“I can’t say that we are divided but we definitely not United,” said Lekganyane.
He was referring to when the region, led by it’s chairperson and executive mayor of the Capricorn District Municipality, John Mpe, took to Luthuli House late last year took to Luthuli House to protest against the suspension of the duo and called out the Chairperson of the integrity commission, George Mashamba.
The Andrew Mehlape branch in the Peter Mokaba Region defended Mashamba and called for the suspension of Mpe for insulting Mashamba in a statement.
Read the statement, in part: “Over a significant period, since the VBS scandal broke into public discourse and the subsequent handling of the matter relating to some of the leaders of the ANC in Limpopo by the Integrity Commission and by the National Executive Committee, there’s been a marathon of affronts, attacks and vilification of the person of Cde. George Mashamba, unabatedly.”
Spokesperson of the Peter Mokaba Region, Jimmy Machaka, insisted Radzilani and Msiza have nothing to answer for and should be reinstated.
“From the start, this has been a selective prosecution and unfair procedurally by the leadership of the ANC. It can’t be that others in other provinces who are in similar positions continue to serve in the structures of the ANC. Our view is that there’s no case against them as this is just a political smear campaign against our leaders.” Even if they have to face charges, we say they should face the charges while still in office. It’s happening in other provinces. Why are these comrades singled out? We are confident that almost 70% of the branches in the province want our comrades to continue doing their work in the ANC,” said Machaka.
Motau’s report recorded that Msiza was ‘the kingpin’ in the commission agent scheme and Radzilani had asked for ‘christmas’ from her subordinates who had deposited money of the Vhembe District Municipality, for which Radzilani was executive mayor then, into the bank.
Last week, the Hawks arrested eight of those implicated in the VBS scandal.