Shivambu carries on like it’s business as usual

EFF deputy President addresses EFF members at a political induction seminar in Mpumalanga. Picture: EFF Twitter.

EFF deputy President addresses EFF members at a political induction seminar in Mpumalanga. Picture: EFF Twitter.

The EFF’s second-in-command is behaving like nothing unusual is happening amid the damning corruption claims against him.

It seems to be the biggest threat to the EFF’s credibility yet – the explosive revelation that Floyd Shivambu may have received R10 million from VBS Bank, and that his party may have received R1.3 million, in what appears to be the looting of the bank at the expense of some of South Africa’s poorest people.

The party has been reacting, though, as if it’s business as usual. Its Twitter account today posted various tweets showing Shivambu himself leading a political induction session of new members in Mpumalanga.

Floyd’s brother, Brian Shivambu, has released a statement, saying that there is nothing irregular about the money he received from the bank, which he claims were for “consulting services”.

But while the older Shivambu retweeted the statement, in which his brother also threatened to sue the Reserve Bank for defamation, the EFF second-in-command has not yet directly addressed the allegations.

READ MORE: Brian Shivambu plans to sue Reserve Bank for defamation

EFF leader Julius Malema has not been much more forthcoming. He took to Twitter to say that he was off to a meeting with Shivambu, who he described as “the man of the moment” and told his supporters to “remain vigilant and focus” as “the enemy is attacking”.

Later, he responded to a tweet from journalist Richard Poplak asking if the party planned to suspend Shivambu by saying: “We won’t do it, you can forget about that.”

Even the EFF member who has been most vocal about the allegations, national chairperson advocate Dali Mpofu, has seemed dismissive and flippant about them, first quoting biblical figure Cain and then telling eNCA that the situation could be compared to if “I received R20 from my sister yesterday”.

WATCH: Mpofu’s flippant response to VBS allegations

The EFFs silence is contrasted by the way the issue has dominated SA media in the past week. A quick look at social media shows that many don’t find the allegations as insignificant as the party itself seems to.

Some have found the EFFs handling of the matter outrageous, others have found it mystifying. A party that not only considers itself the enemies of corruption but that claims to support the poor has been accused of a corruption that will affect some of South Africa’s most poor and vulnerable directly, and seems intent to either ignore or disregard the accusations so far.

Municipal IQ economist Karen Hees told TimesLive that the poor will be worst affected by the VBS Bank scandal, as some of the SA municipalities worst affected by poverty have up to 60% of their operating budgets tied up with the bank.

“None of these municipalities are in wealthy localities and many residents depend on them for indigent support. Ultimately‚ it is the poorest of the poor who will pick up the tab for the shameless corruption in these municipalities‚” Heese said.

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