Anti-graft organisation, Corruption Watch, is urging the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority to intensify efforts to charge all those implicated in the VBS Mutual Bank scandal.

Hailing the arrest and charging of former acting Merafong Municipality CFO Mattheys Wienekus for his alleged role in the scandal, the watchdog group says the arrest represents an important step towards holding accountable those responsible for one of the most blatant abuses of resources intended for the provision of basic services.

Wienekus was the first municipal official to be brought to court over the alleged looting of over R2 billion from the bank.

“Thursday’s arrest demonstrates the extensive web that made such massive looting possible. The investigation reveals that auditors, bankers, private sector representatives, local officials, to high-ranking ANC party members, all were involved. Given the involvement of ANC provincial leaders in the VBS saga, it is impossible to escape the inference that this money has been used not only to feather the nests of individual leaders but also to fund the ANC,” says the organisation in a statement.

“What we have here, therefore, is the full gamut of personal corruption, party political corruption, and corruption of state institutions and private sector companies”, said Corruption Watch.

Wienekus’ nabbing followed that of eight other suspects last week. Seven of them appeared in court and were granted R100 000 bail.

One of the suspects is said to be in self-isolation as per COVID-19 regulations and is expected to appear at a later date.

Corruption Watch describes the VBS and Steinhoff scandals as some of the biggest and most sophisticated corruption cases in South Africa.

In the video below, a pensioner who invested money with the bank seeks reimbursement:

It is also calling for a probe into the Steinhoff saga.

“These people with power and resources have abused their positions as custodians of the investments and savings of ordinary people.”

“For destroying people’s lives, they must receive the harshest possible punishment. It is gratifying to finally see the criminal justice system collectively going after those accused of looting some R2.2-billion from VBS, to hold them accountable for their role in this grand theft.”

In the video below, the accused appear in court: 

Corruption Watch says it and other civil society organisations will closely monitor developments around these two cases to ensure that pressure continues to be exerted on corrupt individuals involved.

The organisation is also calling for transparency in dealing with the two cases.