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EFF acting just like ANC over VBS scandal: Thuli Madonsela

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela has said that the EFF’s response to the VBS scandal reminds her of how the ANC responded to corruption allegations.

“They’re finding themselves in the same spot as the ANC and it seems to me that they’re resorting to the same tactics as the ANC,” said Madonsela according to Business LIVE.

SARB’s investigation into VBS found that Brian Shivambu got R16 million from the bank. The Daily Maverick reported that about R10 million of this then went to Floyd Shivambu.

Floyd Shivambu has since denied this according to IOL.

Business LIVE reports that Madonsela recommended that the EFF conduct an internal investigation to find out if the allegations are true.

“They would then have to question him [Shivambu] around whether there could have been red flags around the fact that your brother has just started this company and he now has this surplus.”

In other VBS news, according to the City Press yesterday, as reported by EWN, one of VBS’ major shareholders told the then deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa about the bank heist last year.

Ramaphosa had apparently promised to do something about it – and then didn’t.

While a lot of the focus has been on the Shivambu brothers, due to the EFF’s claims of corruption busting, the ANC are implicated in a lot of this.

Deputy chairperson of the ANC in Limpopo Florence Radzilani is accused of taking bribes in order to make Vhembe District Municipality invest R300 million in the embattled bank.

According to the Sowetan in July – Vhembe District Municipality was one of three that claimed it didn’t have enough money to meet its mandates.

Provincial treasurer Danny Msiza meanwhile has been accused of being a kingpin who ensured that municipalities put their money in the bank.

This corruption has consequences. For example July saw service delivery protests in Senwabarwana in the Blouberg Local Municipality according to News24, with police having to open fire with rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.

In May eNCA reported that residents in Zaaiplaas burned a school and a police van in a service delivery protest.

In April the Letaba Herald reported that residents were barricading the road along Polokwane and Giyani, and set fire to truck as part of a service delivery protest.

My Take

So far as the EFF are concerned, their current stand just doesn’t look good to anyone who isn’t already in their party, particularly coming on the heels of their treatment of Nhahla Nene.

That said, the more important thing here I think is that we forget that it wasn’t just the people who banked with VBS who were done over by this.

When we talk about service delivery protests – part of the corruption with VBS took the money that was supposed to go towards delivering those services.

The ANC in a lot of ways acted like the worst room mate in the world, taking the money that was supposed to be spent on rent and buying a Mercedes, then acting resentful when the bills came and people wondered where the money went.

A big part of the EFF’s popular support is born of the failures of the ANC, included the failure to deliver services.

If the EFF had a hand in that, it seriously reduces their legitimacy.

You cannot budget for fraud, because at the end of the day there isn’t enough money in the world to fund both the status-seeking, wealth hungry politician, and the job that politician is supposed to do.

And I say status seeking, because even their own offices are often badly maintained wrecks that nobody in their right minds would actually want to work in, yet the money to maintain them still gets stolen in order to fund the appearance of a lavish lifestyle.

One of the major issues with modern capitalism is the problem of appearance over substance, where people can earn very good salaries yet still remain deeply in debt because they’re trying to impress their neighbours.

If you look at the amounts of money stolen, it is mind boggling because those of us who keep budgets mostly think about R20 million would be enough to never have to work again, yet we look at figures in the hundreds of millions or even billions.

And I will tell you right now, when they lose access to the bribes, they quickly go broke. They take more than it would cost for most of us to comfortably never have to work again, and the money is gone.

They are like soil which has gone dry for too long and become compacted, you can have a flood wash over it, and in a few days it is dust once more.

As a country we need people who can think long term, who can see that the money budgeted to perform the very basics of government is there to perform the basics – that money stolen from this funding means the job doesn’t get done.

If we are to solve violent service delivery, if we are to solve any of our problems, the money set aside to do it has to be in the care of those who will spend it on its assigned purpose rather than take bribes to invest it in the kind of dodgy bank that pays bribes.

Someone I worked with for years, who I respect, recently asked who the bright future lies with, the ANC or the EFF, personally I think neither, I’m not sure who it lies with to be honest, but I think whoever it is has to be fundamentally different to what either party offers right now.

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