EFF leaders Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu on Sunday questioned an amount of money which was deposited into Daily Maverick’s investigative journalist Pauli Van Wyk.
EFF MP Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi tweeted on Sunday: “Pauli Van Wyk received a payment into a bank account with a Reference of: FLOOID and Daily Maverick says they have investigated and confirmed the payment is legitimate.@PaulivW … Now u are gone . We know that u received a brown envelope to discredit our deputy president.”
The accusations were supported by Malema and Shivambu, who asked where the money came from and why the payment was made.
“Where does the payment come from and how much was it? When was it paid?” asked Shivambu, while Malema asked: “Where did the money come from and how much is it and why is the legitimate payment referenced to as FLOOID?”
The reference of the payment seems to have raised eyebrows since the journalist published a few articles about the VBS saga, with some allegations against Shivambu.
The Daily Maverick, however, responded to the accusations, in a tweet that the journalist also retweeted.
Though there have been allegations that Van Wyk was paid to discredit Shivambu, the publication said there was nothing untoward about the payment.
“We have in the last few minutes established the origin of the payment to Pauli Van Wyk’s account was a legitimate award payment. We stand, however, by our invite to EFF to firmly state that the targeting of journalists is criminal and unacceptable,” said the publication.
We have in the last few minutes established the origin of the payment to @PauliVW account was a legitimate award payment. We stand, however, by our invite to EFF to firmly state that the targeting of journalists is criminal and unacceptable.
— Daily Maverick (@dailymaverick) December 16, 2018
The publication had previously said the “suspicious” payment made to the journalist’s bank account “appeared” to have been an attempt to frame her before deleting the tweets and the story it published.
The Daily Dispatch journalist Siphe Macanda also supported Van Wyk and said it was a legitimate award payment.
“But CiC you are being desperate now. That is the Vodacom Awards money. All the winners of the awards were paid at the weekend, and FLOOID was used as reference for all of us winners,” he said.
Van Wyk’s investigation late last month alleged that at least about R1.8 million reached Malema, his deputy Shivambu and the EFF from the now liquidated VBS Mutual Bank.
Van Wyk described this money as the “proceeds of crime” and that both men would have known this while participating in the alleged scheme involving Shivambu’s brother and Malema’s cousin through a network of front companies.
Malema had earlier denied to Van Wyk that there was any truth to her story, while the EFF itself continued to defend its leaders.
Shivambu also denied the allegations, saying the journalist was “desperate for relevance”.
“Good luck with your wild goose chase,” he said.
Many on Twitter expressed a desire to see a proper investigation from and prosecution by authorities, if indeed the EFF’s top leaders have enriched themselves criminally, as Van Wyk insists they have.
Van Wyk has said in interviews that she would encourage Malema to either show her evidence of where she is wrong, take her to the media ombudsman or even sue her, but the “online violence”, insults and threats against her were “totally unacceptable”.