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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

South African ruling party warns to fire
errant members over bank scandal

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) on Monday said all members fingered in the looting for the VBS bank should be suspended.

ANC integrity commission met last Saturday and Sunday to consider the members mentioned in the VBS bank scandal. Some of the ANC members were part of the 53 people who are accused of looting the money from the VBS bank.

According to the report released by the Reserve Bank of South Africa (SARB), shareholders and other individuals received some money from the VBS bank in an improper manner.

The VBS shareholders hide the bank’s financial position to the regulators and the SARB. A total of 53 individuals and companies received gratuitous payments from the bank leaving it unable to service the depositors.

“The national integrity commission is of the view that the reputation and credibility of the ANC has been seriously damaged. The national integrity recommends to the national executive committee that these members should be directed to step aside from all leadership positions and all activities of the ANC.” said chairperson of the ANC national integrity commission, George Mashamba.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

South Africa ANC urged to pay back “donation” money from troubled bank

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The ruling African National Congress (ANC) must pay back the donation money from the troubled VBS Mutual Bank and lay criminal charges against those implicated, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Sunday.

The ANC allegedly profited to the tune of two million rand (about 138,000 U.S. dollars) via a “donation” from VBS Mutual Bank towards their election campaign, according to the Sunday Times newspaper, which cited party officials as saying that the ANC would launch its own investigation into the allegations.

“We therefore call on the President (Cyril Ramaphosa) to without delay lay criminal charges against those who engineered this corrupt kickback,” DA leader Mmusi Maimane said.

The VBS Mutual Bank has been embroiled in a scandal, in which up to 900 million rand (about 62 million U.S. dollars) in deposits at the bank could not be traced due to alleged irregularities. Much of the money was deposited by ANC-run municipalities, a preliminary investigation shows.

Ramaphosa has now been afforded a golden opportunity to prove to South Africans that he is more than just hot air and empty promises in terms of fighting corruption, Maimane said.

The DA will not relent in its pursuit of justice and accountability in this VBS scandal, Maimane said.

In April this year, the VBS Mutual Bank was put into administration after it was unable to repay money owed to municipalities following a “severe liquidity crisis.”

In a report released in early October, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) identified 50 people associated with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) who allegedly used their political influence to ransack and defraud the bank.

As one of South Africa’s smallest lenders, VBS has operated as a licensed mutual bank, funded by its members, for 25 years.

The lender, which isn’t listed, gained attention in 2016 when it gave then president Jacob Zuma a mortgage to settle a Constitutional Court order to repay taxpayers some of the money spent on upgrading his private residence.

The bank operates six branches across the country and calls itself a black-owned specialist corporate-finance and retail bank. Its total assets were 2.4 billion rand (about 166 million dollars) at the end of December last year, according to the most recent central bank data.

 

South African president embarks on mission to woo investment

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa left South Africa on Sunday, emarking on a mission to woo investment.

The president will attend the G20 Africa Conference scheduled for October 29-30 in Berlin, Germany, his office said.

The G20 Africa Conference will discuss progress made with the G20 Partnership with Africa and the Compact with Africa (CwA), which was initiated last year under the German G20 Presidency to promote private investment in Africa, including in infrastructure. So far, 11 African countries have joined the initiative.

The conference will also focus on ways in which the G20, African countries and development banks can cooperate to promote private investment and economic participation in Africa, while reflecting on the achievements and gains made since the Hamburg Summit of 2017.

Ramaphosa is also expected to deliver a keynote address, in his capacity as Co-Chair of the G20 Africa Advisory Group, at the conference, presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko said.

The conference brings together German businesses and CwA countries to further explore investment opportunities under the framework of the G20 Partnership with Africa.

During the summit, German investors are expected to present flagship projects currently undertaken in the CwA countries, Diko said.

As part of his working visit, Ramaphosa will have a bilateral meeting with German Chacellor Angela Merkel, according to Diko.

Germany is South Africa’s third largest trading partner.

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JSE closes higher as South Africa’s rand firms

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- South African stocks at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) closed firmer on Monday as the market shrugged off a weaker close on Friday.

South Africa rand was steady at R14.51 to the U.S. dollar.

The All-share index closed 0.95 percent higher at 51,320.52 points and the top 40 index added 1.03 percent at 45,109.77 points.

General retailers edged up 4.16 percent, banks gained 3.96 percent, and resources rose 2.17 percent.

Among the banks, Absa added 4.83 percent to R151.8. Standard Bank rose 3.88 percent to R165.84.

Naspers was under pressure. It slipped 3.98 percent to R2,457.23, extending losses this year to 26.6 percent.

             

 

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