/ 13 October 2018

Shivambu blames ‘weapons of mass deception’ for alleged VBS links

The EFF are unapologetically playing the game of cultural politics
EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu. (Madelene Cronje/M&G)

Floyd Shivambu, the deputy president of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has denied receiving R10-million from embattled VBS Mutual Bank in his first public statement in response to allegations against him and his brother Brian.

On Friday, the Mail & Guardian reported how screenshots of text messages purporting to be a conversation between Shivambu and a businessperson with questionable links to the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) suggest a direct link between him and his brother Brian’s business.

In those messages Shivambu provides the business account details of Brian to the businessperson, who is also being investigated for a R300 000 request for payment to an alleged lover of PIC boss Dan Matjila.

The same account number provided by Shivambu — registered in the name of Grand Azania — has been linked to suspicious VBS Mutual Bank payments. The FNB account into which several million rands, part of nearly R2-billion in dodgy VBS payments referred for criminal investigation, were paid, belongs to Brian’s wine distribution company, Grand Azania.

READ MORE: PIC, VBS, Floyd and his baby brother

“For the record, I have never received R10-million from VBS or anyone in my personal account,” Shivambu said. He did not however, make mention of any other bank accounts.

In his statement, the red berets’ second-in-command begins by saying, “I see weapons of mass deception and propaganda machines hard at work to mislead our people with their fake news.”

The reports of a link between him and VBS bank “disingenuous and patently weak”, he claims. Shivambu says the collapse of the bank was because of fraud and looting plus regulatory failures of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

According to Shivambu “faceless sources” from the SARB, who have ulterior motives, have misled media.

“I have no dealings with VBS and any attempt to link the EFF to the bank for cheap political points is a clear sign of desperation and soon enough people will see through it. The so-called well-placed sources in the SARB is a coward and a liar who misled journalists and can’t even reveal their identity.”

In an interview with eNCA business reporter Dimakatso Thugwana on Thursday, EFF chairperson Dali Mpofu brushed aside attempts to get comment from him following a Daily Maverick report that Shivambu had received R10-million from the R16-million his brother allegedly pocketed from VBS. It is also alleged that some of that money found its way into the EFF’s coffers.

READ MORE: Outrage meets VBS bank report

“He received R10-million from his brother? And the EFF must put this on its agenda? Floyd Shivambu received R10-million from his brother, or 10c? Really,” an increasingly testy Mpofu said.

“Unfortunately I cannot comment too much about the process of the report, because I actually participated there, I represented an unrelated client. Maybe, unlike other citizens, I know about the weaknesses of that process which I wouldn’t like to share now.

The EFF has scheduled a press briefing for October 16 where EFF president Julius Malema is expected to confront the allegations levelled against the Shivambu brothers.