Parliament’s joint committee on ethics and members’ interests has confirmed it will initiate an investigation into allegations Economic Freedom Fighters chief whip Floyd Shivambu received payments from VBS Mutual Bank, which he failed to declare.
Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Phumzile van Damme lodged a complaint with the ethics committee against Shivambu after he reportedly received R10-million in the so-called VBS heist.
Shivambu has denied the allegation.
“If Shivambu did indeed receive payments from VBS, they are in contravention of Members’ Code of Conduct as there is no indication that he declared these monies in the 2015-2017 Declaration of Members Interest and Payments in Parliament,” Van Damme said in a statement.
Advocate Anthea Gordon — the acting registrar of members’ interests in Parliament — has written to the DA confirming that an investigation will be underway.
“The matter is being attended to and you will be notified of the outcome of the investigation once the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests has decided on the matter,” Gordon wrote.
Shivambu’s younger brother, Brian, has been implicated in a report on the scandal titled “The Great Bank Heist“. The report, compiled by Terry Motau SC and Werksmans Attorneys, was released last Wednesday. It includes a list of 53 individuals and companies who are alleged to have looted up to R1.9-billion from the bank. The scam most affected poverty-stricken communities in Limpopo.
Shivambu is alleged by the Daily Maverick to have received money from the loot through transfers which total R10-million that were facilitated by his brother. Brian is accused in the report of receiving R16-million in payments from the bank. He has denied the allegations.
The registrar of members’ interests includes no disclosures from Shivambu on any payments he may have received as an alternative source of income. The registrar is publicly available.
Shivambu sits on the finance committee in Parliament, which is tasked with holding public and private entities to account. If Shivambu is implicated in the VBS scandal, it would be in conflict with his role on the finance committee.
Chairperson of the committee ANC MP Yunus Carrim has said that the committee will meet on November 7 to discuss the VBS report.
After a meeting in June this year, Shivambu was widely condemned for an outburst where he was accused by Carrim of a his “crude attack” on treasury director-general Ismail Momoniat.
“I think he undermines Africans,” Shivambu said according to a report by Business Day.
Shivambu is also the subject of a Parliament investigation after he was filmed attacking a journalist in Parliament’s precinct earlier this year.
Van Damme has welcomed the investigation into Shivambu’s alleged benefits from the VBS scandal, saying: “We look forward to the investigation, and if any wrongdoing found, the harshest sanction be meted out against Shivambu on behalf of the thousands of poor people whose money was stolen in the VBS heist.”