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VBS clients pin hopes on prosecutors to recoup lost money

At least eight high profile people are due to be charged with racketeering, fraud and theft when some of them appear in court on Thursday morning.

FILE: VBS Mutual Bank in Thohoyandou. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - More than 2,000 ordinary clients who lost their life savings when over R2 billion was siphoned off by the looters of VBS Mutual Bank are hoping the prosecution of those arrested will help recoup some of their money.

At least eight high profile people are due to be charged with racketeering, fraud and theft when some of them appear in court on Thursday morning.

A forensic report by Advocate Terry Motau, titled The Great Bank Heist found that more than R2.7 billion was looted from the mutual bank.

WATCH: 8 arrested for VBS heist, 'the biggest bank robbery in this country'

For more than three decades, VBS was the financial institution of choice seen as the pride of the Venda people. But in a flash, their life savings disappeared.

“We had VBS in our hearts, so to lose it, it affected us and at the same time losing money affected us.”

Madambi Wilson Muvhulawa had been with the bank since 1982 when it was founded.

He said when it collapsed, and people lost their money, many could no longer keep up with bond payments, others lost their pensions and life as they knew it changed forever.

“It affected our lifestyle, we have to cut some of the things we could, we had to cut budget.”

Muvhulawa is one of the leaders of the VBS Investors Forum, representing more than 2,000 people.

He is pained by the fact that some investors have since died and their hard-earned savings were never returned. They are now pinning their hopes on prosecutors.

“We hope after prosecution, the liquidator will be able to attach those assets and then realise the money to be divided amongst it.”

In July last year, depositors braved the cold weather, to withdraw a R100,000 each, but for many, this was a fraction of their savings.

It is estimated that R1.5 billion was looted from VBS by its own executives and directors, who splurged the money on luxury cars, homes and helicopters.

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