Parly committee condemns treatment of ordinary VBS depositors

Committee chairperson Yunus Carrim says it’s unacceptable that elderly pensioners & other poor people are having to queue through the night in the bitter cold to withdraw a maximum of R1,000.

FILE: Chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Finance Yunus Carrim. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance has slammed the treatment of ordinary depositors at VBS Mutual Bank, where people are being forced to queue for long hours in the cold and rain to make limited withdrawals.

Committee chairperson Yunus Carrim has called on VBS management, its curator, regulators and National Treasury to intervene urgently.

The Venda-based bank was put under curatorship in March after experiencing a liquidity crisis and is now under investigation after a host of irregularities were subsequently uncovered.

Carrim says it’s unacceptable that elderly pensioners and other poor people are having to queue through the night in the bitter cold to withdraw a maximum of R1,000, which means they have to make repeat visits.

“Of course, we understand that the bank is in a dire financial situation, but surely money that can be released to them, the ordinary depositors, can be managed in a more efficient and humane way.

“As usual with the failure of a bank, it is the poorest depositors who are suffering disproportionately and are suffering the worst burden.”

He says the ceiling for withdrawals should be raised and communication between VBS bank and depositors should be improved.

He’s calling for urgent action by VBS management, the curator, regulators and National Treasury.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)