By Blessing Mabunda
Giyani- Limpopo Premier, Stan Mathabatha has today fired at least 7 Mayors who deposited more than a billion Rand meant for service delivery in the now liquidated VBS mutual bank.
Amongst the fired municipal mayors is the Greater Giyani Municipality (GGM) Mayor, Cllr Sasavona Mathebula and Collins Chabane Municipality (CCM) Mayor, Cllr Joyce Bila.
The newly established CCM, had invested R122m of its R344m operating revenue in VBS.
At least up to 15 municipalities across the country could collapse because they are not likely to recover the billion of Rand investments at VBS Mutual Bank.
Their exposure to VBS was “too large compared to their operating revenue”, according to a Treasury document sent to the affected municipalities last year.
The SA Reserve Bank (Sarb) Placed VBS under administration in March, following a liquidity crisis. VBS’s main source of cash was illegal short-term municipal deposits which it used to fund long-term loans to clients.
Another Treasury executive said this money was part of municipalities’ annual budgets and not extra the money that the councils could function without.
An executive member of the SA Local Government Association, said it was “almost a foregone conclusion that some of these municipalities will crash”.
“We are losing sleep over the issue. The money was strictly for operational issues, not reckless investments,” said the official.
According to our source, Cllr Mathebula should have been fired just after the ANC 54th Conference last year.
Mathebula backed Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma’s camp prior to Nasrec which angered the incumbent president Cyril Ramaphosa supporters who called for the immediate sacking of Mathebula after Dlamini Zuma lost the ANC presidential election in 2017. Claim our source.
“President Cyril Ramaphosa called for unity when some of these people should have been expelled from the movement and open fraud and money laundering charges against them”, added our source.
GGM has invested R158m of its R302m operating revenue in VBS.
Premier Mathabatha fired, Mayor of Makhado, Mayor of Collins Chabane, Mayor of Lepelele in Peter Mokaba, Mayor of Giyani, Mayor of Greater-Feta Kgomo, Vhembe Executive Mayor who resigned after being fired and Mayor of Ephraim Mogale after being vindicated by the two forensic investigations.
According to the National Treasury executive it is only a matter of time before some of the municipalities are not able to pay salaries.