South Africa: The VBS Aftermath - 'If We Speak, They Will Kill Us'

analysis

The favourite line of fraudsters and tax cheats is that it's victimless crime - just ask the State Capture players. But scratch this thinnest of veneers and it is easy to identify real-life damage to the poorest of the poor. The victims of the VBS collapse had their lives ruined - we went searching for them.

Thohoyandou is a hive of activity: in the town centre, hawkers chat to each other by the side of the road, and crowds of people go about their business.

It appears to be a normal South African town. There are many litter-strewn dirt roads with potholes and no streetlights. Children go to school, taxi marshals call for passengers and young people huddle in corners, laughing.

But everybody in Thohoyandou is keeping a big secret. The Venda Building Society (VBS) is the elephant in the room. Fear is in the air, and nobody wants to talk about it.

At Tshakuma Market, a 24-hour fruit and vegetable market, the words "VBS" raise much suspicion. Many of the hawkers simply avert their eyes, others claim to have never banked with VBS.

An elderly woman at Tshakuma market says it's too painful to talk about VBS.

"I lost...

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Daily Maverick

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.