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Innocent until proven guilty - ANC NEC on Limpopo officials implicated in VBS

The party's NEC met virtually over the weekend and made resolutions on internal party matters, government response to COVID-19, job losses and international relations.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule at Luthuli House. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) on Wednesday said its decision to reinstate two Limpopo officials implicated in the VBS Mutual Bank scandal was a collective national executive committee (NEC) decision.

The party's NEC met virtually over the weekend and made resolutions on internal party matters, government response to COVID-19, job losses and international relations.

But the matter of the Limpopo pair attracted the most attention with questions raised about former Vhembe executive Mayor Florence Radzilani and treasurer Danny Msiza.

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule said the NEC considered a report of the party’s integrity committee on Radzilani and Msiza and decided they were innocent until proven guilty.

“And that’s what the NEC said, these comrades have not been charged by anybody in terms of the allegations, they were mentioned in reports like many comrades were mentioned in reports. You can’t charge people because of allegations.”

Makwetu said the ANC’s decision to reinstate the officials implicated in the VBS is typical of how politicians dismiss corruption “as mere irregular expenditure.”

Even though the Municipal Finance Management Act is clear that depositing money with a mutual bank is unlawful, the NEC said the pair have not been charged by anybody in the past two years that they were suspended and are innocent until proven guilty

But Makwetu said in there lied the problem: “We will never get proper focus on the consequences of wrongdoing if you dance around some of the critical issues and kind of debate them out of contention in you like and carry on with your life.”

WATCH: Two ANC members implicated in the VBS scandal to be reinstated

Radzilani was named in The Great Bank Heist report as having allegedly received R300,000 as a Christmas gift from the VBS directors after her municipality deposited money with the bank.

The Hawks said 20 municipalities deposited nearly R3.5 billion with the bank against provisions of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

And last week, a Merafong CFO was charged for depositing R50 million of that municipality with VBS.

Magashule said the law must take its course: “During this VBS issue, some people died and we are calling on law enforcement agencies to swiftly act against the perpetrators.”

Magashule said the ANC would explain to all concerned why the decision was taken.

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