The Economic Freedom Fighters is adamant that EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu did not receive any monies from the defunct VBS Mutual Bank. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)
The Economic Freedom Fighters is adamant that EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu did not receive any monies from the defunct VBS Mutual Bank despite findings to the contrary by parliament’s ethics committee.
After four years of investigation by the joint committee on ethics and members’ interests, a letter to the Democratic Alliance (DA) from the parliament’s acting registrar of members’ interests, advocate Anthea Gordon, on Monday said nine days of Shivambu’s salary would be docked for breaching parliament’s code of ethics.
The committee found that Shivambu had failed to disclose money transferred to him from Sgameka Projects, which was owned by his brother Brian.
Shivambu was found to have failed to disclose a R180 000 transfer to his account in August 2017.
In 2019 Brian Shivambu — widely known as a VBS Mutual Bank beneficiary — was ordered by the Johannesburg high court to pay R1.78 million to the bank’s liquidators.
The order is in relation to an application by Anoosh Rooplal, the liquidator of VBS Mutual Bank, as part of his efforts to recover R2.7 million that was part of a R4 million loan granted to Sgameka Projects in late 2017.
Brian Shivambu had not serviced the loan and was in arrears of more than R2.7 million, Rooplal said in his court application in the matter. About R1 million of this had been repaid since the court matter started.
In 2020, Shivambu told the Mail & Guardian that he had received R680 000 in “clean” money from his brother to buy a high-end Range Rover Sport in 2018.
Several arrests related to the VBS Mutual Bank scandal have been made, including Limpopo ANC heavyweight and businessman Danny Msiza, who is facing charges of fraud and corruption.
In a statement released on Monday evening, EFF spokesperson Sinawo Tambo said the party welcomed parliament’s investigation, which he said showed that EFF leader Julius Malema and Shivambu had not received money from VBS Mutual Bank.
Tambo said the ethics committee had acknowledged that the loan amounts were donations from a private company, Sgameka Pty Ltd, and not from VBS.
“What is an incorrect conclusion of the committee is that the loan amount from Sgameka Pty Ltd was a donation despite the fact that Sgameka presented a sworn affidavit that the amount is a loan which had nothing to do with VBS. The conclusion that the deputy president received a donation that was not declared is utterly false and not a reflection of reality,” he said.
Shivambu now intends to take parliament to court to overturn the ethic committee’s “irrational and opportunistic conclusion and sanction”, Tambo said, adding that it is not in the powers of the ethics committee to dispute the loans between people even when they
have demonstrated that they had lent each other money.
“Parliament’s rules do not prescribe that loans must be declared with parliament. There is therefore absolutely nothing wrong that the deputy president did hence the legal challenge will be successful. The EFF nevertheless welcomes and accepts that the joint committee
has concluded that there was no money from VBS that was received by leadership of the EFF. Rumour mongers and information peddlers who tried to link EFF leaders to VBS money are now put to shame,” Tambo said.
The DA said it welcomed the ethics committee report “which found that EFF’s Mr Floyd Shivambu is guilty of violating the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members’ Interests”.
The official opposition laid its complaint in 2018 and again in 2019. It said the findings demonstrated that there could never be one set of rules for some and exemptions for others.
DA chief whip Siviwe Gwarube said that although the findings came as cold comfort to those who lost their life’s savings in the VBS “heist”, it was a step in the right direction by parliament.
“We are members of parliament; accountable to the public. That is why it is important that we disclose and declare all financial and non-financial interests. This is for accountability and transparency. Shivambu’s failure to declare monies received through VBS cast doubt on all public statements he has made about this matter. We trust that law enforcement agencies will be reinvigorated in their hunt for the truth,” Gwarube said.