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.

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