South Africa: What Happens When Governance Fails? a VBS Whistle-Blower's Account Describes the Price of Truth

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Mariette Venter was the acting chief financial officer of the Capricorn municipality in Limpopo. The municipality was one of many which had loaned cash to VBS Mutual Bank. Venter recognised several red flags, demanded the money back and was suspended for her efforts. This is her story.

It is a Monday in June 2016 and the Executive Mayor of Capricorn District Municipality in Limpopo, Gilbert Kganyago, is angry.

His exasperation is directed at Mariette Venter, chartered accountant (CA [SA]) and acting chief financial officer of the municipality, who joined him minutes earlier at the circular table in his municipal office in Polokwane.

Kganyago has summonsed Venter to account for her resolute instruction to the management of VBS Mutual Bank that morning in which she threatened to recall a municipal investment of more than R60-million. The bank could not provide its credit rating and investment grading - documents Venter needed to report back to the municipality's audit committee. Capricorn District Municipality invested in VBS at the instance of Kganyago in December 2015, when Venter was at home on maternity leave.

So, on that Monday morning, Venter was hauled to his office in order to explain her conduct to Kganyago and a...

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