JOHANNESBURG – Co-operative Governance Minister Zweli Mkhize has responded to allegations he may be the reason several municipalities lost hundreds of millions of rand, denying them categorically.
United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa claims Mkhize instructed 14 municipalities from three provinces to invest billions of tax-payers money in the embattled VBS mutual bank.
The bank was placed under curatorship earlier this year.
Holomisa claims it’s this Minister who pushed municipalities to invest in VBS in the first place.
In a statement released on Saturday night, Mkhize says he has seen snippets of the interview on eNCA and categorically rejects Holisa’s allegations.
“The allegations are totally untrue. I discovered information about such investments in the media when the stories broke. I had no knowledge of the matter before then,” said Mkhize.
“I want to specifically state and categorically deny that I ever engaged either the PIC or any municipality to support VBS Mutual Bank. Having gone through my 2016 diary, I can confirm that I was once invited to VBS offices where they introduced themselves and their business to me without seeking a single favour from me.”
“Government has instituted an investigation into the VBS matter and as the Minister responsible for local government I have called for consequences for those who may have broken the law in any way regarding this matter,” said Mkhize.
“This is a serious matter which does not require mischief and grandstanding. If the UDM leader has information on the VBS matter, he should assist the government agencies that are investigating.”
14 municipalities in Limpopo, Gauteng, and Mpumalanga invested more than R1.5-billion in VBS.
Hard earned tax-payers money was apparently squandered by a few officials to fund their high-flying lifestyles.
Holomisa says he has proof Mkhize, who at the time was African National Congress (ANC) Treasurer General, had a hand in the deal.
Holomisa claims to have evidence that a presentation was made to Mkhize to get money from the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) through municipalities for a company linked to the ANC.
Exactly who to blame is still unclear as the Hawks continues its probe of fraud and corruption at VBS bank.