EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA/FINANCIAL MAIL
EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA/FINANCIAL MAIL

The EFF, despite commenting on the VBS Mutual Bank scandal, has remained mum on the implication of the brother of its deputy president, Floyd Shivambu, in the scathing report.

The EFF has also not responded to questions on whether the party and Shivambu had benefited or received any funds from what has now come to be known as the “The Great Bank Heist”.

Party leader Julius Malema is set to address a media briefing on Tuesday.

Business Day sent questions to Shivambu after details from the forensic report published by advocate Terry Motau into the failure of the VBS bank revealed that his brother, Brian, had received in excess of R16m in the form of “gratuitous payments”.

In an interview with the Business Day on Wednesday, Motau said that Brian Shivambu, personally and through entities in his control, received money from VBS “for no apparent reason". 

“We have not interviewed him, or seen him. He was one of many names that received money without any apparent cause,”  Motau said

One allegation is that Brian Shivambu may have been fronting for his brother Floyd Shivambu and the EFF, receiving payments on behalf of his brother for “opening doors” into municipalities that may or may not have deposited money with VBS.

Brian Shivambu on Thursday issued a statement saying he had no link to VBS and had never met with any municipality or potential depositor to encourage them to deposit money into the bank.

He said even though he was mentioned in the report he had never been contacted by the investigators, and threatened to take legal action against the “owners of the VBS report” for defaming him, his company and for the strain it put on his family.

“I am aware that my brother’s name has been raised in relation to this matter. I am a private businessman and I do not intend to involve myself or my family in political debates,” he said.

Daily Maverick on Thursday reported that, according to three sources, the EFF had allegedly received R1.3m “illegally flowing” from VBS into the party’s bank account.

It also reported that Brian Shivambu had allegedly funnelled about R10m through his company into his brother Floyd’s personal bank account.

In an interview with eNCA on Thursday, EFF chair Dali Mpofu denied that the EFF received any money from VBS. “Anyone who has information to that effect must come to us. We’ll obviously investigate whatever allegations are made, but we can’t respond to allegations made in the air,” Mpofu said.

Since news of the crisis at the bank broke earlier in 2018, the EFF has defended VBS, saying it was being victimised for giving former president Jacob Zuma the money to pay back the state for nonsecurity upgrades to his Nkandla home.

Floyd Shivambu has also made a number of personal attacks on senior officials at the Treasury, including deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat.

It was influence and relationships that opened the doors, but it was the receipt of commissions or bribes that kept the door open. The people at the municipalities took bribes
Terry Motau

Motau in his report entitled “VBS — The Great Bank Heist” described the machinations of the R1.8bn fraud when it came to the bank securing deposits from local municipalities, including in Limpopo where Shivambu and EFF president Julius Malema are from. This despite the fact that according to the Municipal Finance Management Act, municipalities are not allowed to bank with mutual banks.

Floyd Shivambu, Malema and the EFF were not implicated in the report.

“It was influence and relationships that opened the doors, but it was the receipt of commissions or bribes that kept the door open. The people at the municipalities took bribes,” says Motau.

The report described the feeding frenzy that resulted when the gatekeepers to the municipalities learnt they could be paid “commissions” of up to 2% of the value of the deposit made with VBS.

In a WhatsApp exchange between VBS chair Tshifhiwa Matodzi, and Kabelo Matsepe, who is described as a “politically connected fixer” in the report, Matsepe tells Matodzi in December 2017, “The Mayor of Vhembe is crying, she says we must give her and the speaker a Christmas because they are the ones making sure we keep that money for six months. We gave her 300k and she cried and said we gave juniors R1.5m and we give her R300k.”

The EFF did, however, publish a statement in response to the report on Wednesday evening, stating: “The EFF reiterates its position that all who are responsible and illegally benefited from the fraud must be criminally prosecuted immediately. As we have previously indicated, we also reiterate that they must be black listed. Above all, the law enforcement agency must do all they can to ensure that all the money that can be recovered must be paid back in full, including attaching properties of the individuals who benefited from the defrauding of VBS.”

No mention was made of Brian Shivambu, nor whether the party received funds from VBS.

The EFF said it was concerned by the findings that the bank cannot be saved.

“Shutting down the bank will not help efforts to increase black participation in the financial sector. A recovery plan that can save the bank or support of other black-owned prospective bank licence applicants to service the people in the rural area … must be devised.”

Ndlozi also questioned why “such looting has been allowed to happen since 2015”.

“Only upon the bank giving Jacob Zuma a loan did concerns arise and decisions to closely look into its affairs happen. We call on the Reserve Bank to review its ability and mechanisms to monitor banks as the failure of VBS is inadvertently the failure of the Reserve Bank itself to protect ordinary citizens from being scammed by institutions masquerading as banks under its watch.”

With Staff Writer