VBS shows no remorse to its clients
Few things have been as heartbreaking recently as seeing long queues of people waiting to gain access to their hard-earned cash from the troubled VBS Mutual Bank.
Some sleep on the pavements outside the bank just to keep their spots in the long lines overnight with the hope that they would be allowed to withdraw money from their deposits.
According to one of the stories published in this newspaper, burial societies and stokvels are anxious that they may not get their money when they need it.
Yet there has been little that has been done by those who plunged the bank into this crisis to help victims cope with the situation.
All that was done was to give some categories of depositors a right to withdraw no more than a thousand rands from the bank. Hardly a word of apology to clients.
Yet following newspaper revelations that some of the millions from the bank were allegedly used to bankroll the lifestyle of Venda king Toni Ramabulana, VBS owners were quick to issue an apology to him.
Vele Investments, one of the main shareholders in VBS, said in a statement that it was apologising to the king for the “embarrassment caused to him” for “what they are going through as a result of the negative publicity”.
The company announced that a herd of cattle will be presented to the king as a form of apology.
It is indeed within Vele Investments’ right to apologise to the king if they feel they have wronged him and the gifts they have offered him in return are within accepted cultural and traditional practices.
However, we are dismayed that nothing is being said of the scores of ordinary people currently going through difficulties as a result of decisions made by the bank’s executives and shareholders.
If there are people who deserve not just an apology but compensation and access to their finances, it is the ordinary depositors whose only crime was to trust the bank with their money.
The attitude of the owners so far, which includes their continued flaunting of their wealth – betrays little or no remorse. It is an attitude devoid of any sensitivity towards the vulnerable people who find themselves having to borrow from unscrupulous lenders while their cash languishes at VBS.