Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has strongly defended the role of the Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank in the VBS Mutual Bank’s saga.
They have both been lambasted by some opposition parties and individuals for not being aware of the alleged R2 billion looting taking place.
He was briefing Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance earlier on Tuesday.
It is Mboweni’s first comment on the VBS bank issue and his first public appearance since he was sworn in as the new Finance Minister. He says there is no way that Reserve Bank staff can monitor all the banks, all the time.
They depend mainly on both internal and external auditors to keep tabs on what’s going on within the banks.
“In this case, we were failed by internal and external auditors. The central bank will bear in mind of what they can do in terms of small banks.”
And there was a call for harsh and speedy action against all those involved.
“The thing that regulators can hope for is that law enforcement agencies will move with speed any of their members who are found wanting.”
While the ANC and the EFF, whose members are implicated in the scandal, distance themselves, SARS is adamant that those who received the so-called gratuitous payments must pay tax on those gifts.
Acting SARS Commissioner Mark Kingon says: ”I can assure the members that I’m doing what is right and my team and I, my flash of pound, I am a taxman at heart.”
At the same time, SARS disputed reports that its e-filing system is on the verge of collapsing.
Kingon says although there is a need to modernize their overall systems, but today’s newspaper reports that it is at the brink of crashing are not accurate.
Meanwhile, Mboweni told MPs that he will give more details on what should be done to prevent another VBS Mutual Bank scandal during his mini-budget policy statement next week.