EFF leader Julius Malema. Picture: ALAISTER RUSSELL
EFF leader Julius Malema. Picture: ALAISTER RUSSELL

The EFF and its deputy president, Floyd Shivambu, are sticking to their guns and deny they have benefited from the looting of VBS Mutual Bank.

A forensic report commissioned by the SA Reserve Bank, published last week, found that Shivambu’s brother Brian had received R16m in "gratuitous payments" from VBS, which formed part of a nearly R2bn alleged looting of the bank, leading to its near-collapse.

It has since been alleged that both Floyd Shivambu and the EFF — vocal critics of the Bank’s handling of the VBS matter – benefited from some of this money via Brian Shivambu, with the EFF deputy president reportedly receiving as much as R10m.

The Bank placed VBS under curatorship in March after withdrawals by municipalities, which are legally barred from depositing money with mutual banks, caused a cash crunch. At the end of April, deposits from 14 municipalities totalled R1.2bn — money they are unlikely to recover from the bank.

At a media briefing on Tuesday, the party’s firebrand leader Julius Malema was adamant that his party did not receive any money from VBS and has called on those with proof showing otherwise to come forward. "We have never received any money … in the EFF. We have not received any donation, that is from preliminary investigations we have done," he said.

The party has also continued its attack on the Bank’s handling of the matter and the way the forensic investigation was carried out.

Floyd Shivambu said the VBS report did not say anything about "money movements" of Brian; it merely said there were "gratuitous payments" made to him. Shivambu said the allegation that he had received VBS money from his brother was "pure insanity" and "madness".

Brian Shivambu too has denied any wrongdoing and has indicated that he will approach the courts over the matter. He maintains his company, Sgameka Projects, was appointed in 2017 to "provide professional consulting services to Vele Investments in their mining and insurance businesses", and was paid for these services through a VBS bank account.

Vele is the majority shareholder of VBS.

Malema said Floyd Shivambu had taken the EFF into his confidence on the matter and that the party had "no reason to doubt him. He is not mentioned in the report. The EFF has not been mentioned in the report," he said.

Floyd Shivambu had provided the party with his bank statements going back as far as 2014 and, according to the EFF, they showed there was money exchanged between him and Brian Shivambu, as well as between him with his other brother, Lucky, and his parents. But nothing had amounted to the R10m Floyd Shivambu was alleged to have received, the party said.

Malema confirmed that Brian Shivambu worked for the EFF. One of his roles was to sell EFF merchandise. He also worked for the EFF student command. He said it was possible that Brian Shivambu had put money into the EFF’s account because members sometimes donated money to the party for things such as buses to transport supporters to events.

Malema said many people implicated in the report were going to approach the courts because they had not been asked to give their side of the story. "If they are successful, it means the report is null and void. If they are not successful, it means there are basis for law enforcement to move in and start prosecuting people."

quintalg@businesslive.co.za