Toast to transparency? Floyd Shivambu and Julius Malema raise a toast during a mass rally marking the party's fourth anniversary in July 2017 at the Curries Fountain Stadium in Durban. Picture: AFP/Rajesh Jantilal
Toast to transparency? Floyd Shivambu and Julius Malema raise a toast during a mass rally marking the party's fourth anniversary in July 2017 at the Curries Fountain Stadium in Durban. Picture: AFP/Rajesh Jantilal

A Reserve Bank report by advocate Terry Motau said that Brian Shivambu, brother of the EFF’s Floyd Shivambu, had received R16m in payments from VBS, a Limpopo-based mutual bank which has gone belly-up after a huge corruption scandal. That would have been that, but the Daily Maverick wrote an article saying that his brother, the EFF deputy leader, Floyd Shivambu, was connected to the payments.

A report published by the online publication said: "The EFF has allegedly received R1.3m illegally flowing from VBS Mutual Bank into the party’s bank account, three sources told Scorpio [the Daily Maverick investigations unit]. Floyd Shivambu’s younger brother, Brian, allegedly funnelled around R10m through a company called Sgameka Projects into Floyd’s personal bank account, the same sources said. Brian is the sole director of Sgameka Projects."

After several days of muted reaction, the EFF called a media briefing to dismiss the allegations. EFF leader Julius Malema said: "Why say Floyd received R10m? ... We went through [his] financial statements. We cannot locate any money from VBS."

Malema went on to say: "There are exchanges of monies from him to Brian, from Brian to him, and not only from Brian to him, to his brother, Lucky, to his parents. That’s how siblings exchange — apparently — things. I wouldn’t know, I’ve got no siblings, I’ve got no parents to exchange money with. I can’t transfer to my grandmother so I give her cash because she doesn’t have the facilities."

Malema said he would act if evidence was produced. "Give me something. I’m not scared of Floyd. I’ve never been scared of anyone. If Floyd has stolen money, he will be punished accordingly."

Floyd Shivambu had this to say: "He [Brian] was providing consulting and advisory services on the nonbanking aspects of Vele Investments [which owns VBS]. There’s never been any R10m that came into my account."

Malema then went on to posit a conspiracy theory, namely that the minister of public enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, was still operating a "rogue unit" that dispensed misinformation. "They broke into Floyd’s house. They listen to the phones of people illegally. They follow people," he said.

Fortunately this disagreement can easily be resolved. The Daily Maverick simply has to place the documentary evidence it has of Floyd Shivambu’s payments in the public arena. The sooner, the better.