How have we degenerated to this?
THE VBS Mutual Bank heist is but one example of the kind of society we have degenerated to and become in the past few decades.
That a group of politicians, auditors and bank officials could steal so much taxpayers’ money in so brazen a manner is astonishing!
The report by advocate Terry Motau and Werksmans Attorneys into how money was stolen from the bank and the municipalities bears the hallmarks of state capture – an orgy of theft by politicians, auditors and government officials.
What is deeply sad is that these hundreds of millions were siphoned from poor municipalities, mostly in Limpopo, that, in most cases, are unable to even generate revenue for themselves. This means most of this money that was stolen were allocations from the national budget.
In typical state capture fashion, money was illegally diverted from service delivery for the poor, into the pockets of a corrupt few.
These municipalities – which are at the coalface of service delivery and the first point of contact between the people and their government – were hollowed out as instruments of creating a better life for all.
Once again, a predatory political elite stole away the promise of democracy from the most downtrodden of our society.
The case of VBS is a typical example of how our society, especially government, is rotten from top to bottom.
But what gave the VBS Mutual Bank and Gupta syndicates the confidence and arrogance to be as reckless as they were in their looting?
Our political system has engendered a culture of thuggery and impunity, with the perpetrators knowing that they won’t get punished.
It is this free-for-all situation, especially in the past 10 years, that has entrenched a culture of unbridled corruption.
But why did the regulatory body, the Reserve Bank, not pick up earlier on this theft of close to R2billion from VBS?
The VBS scandal is a sign of the corrupt society that we have become – a society where anyone can be bribed, from a cop to a traffic officer, or a government official all the way to the highest office in the land.