A report released by the amaBhungane centre for investigative journalism puts a spotlight on WhatsApp messages and SMSes sent by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) deputy president Floyd Shivambu to prominent businessman Lawrence Mulaudzi.
The messages appear to show Shivambu requesting money on two separate occasions, which calls into question his declaration in 2017 that his only source of income was his parliamentary salary.
The correspondence seems to corroborate past amaBhungane reports suggesting that that the EFF second-in-command used his political influence as a way of benefiting financially.
At one point in the messages, Shivambu is alleged to have provided the account details of his brother Brian’s company Grand Azania – which featured prominently in reports linking the EFF to the VBS Bank scandal – for one of the payments.
In one case, it seems Mulaudzi’s business partner, Kinesh Pather, told him that they needed the “Red boys” to “sort out” a community leader in an attempt to bring community protests at a Limpopo chrome mine to an end.
Mulaudzi defended himself when sent questions by amaBhungane. “I have a relationship with Mr Floyd Shivhambu which dates back to our ANC Youth League days. There has never been anything untoward about this relationship,” he said.
Shivambu, meanwhile, ignored requests for comment.
Mulaudzi’s payments – described in the WhatsApps and SMSes as “interventions” – are indicative of a wider pattern showing how the businessman attempted to aid his business interests through “favours” for politicians and other influential people, one source told amaBhungane.
Read amaBhungane’s full report here.
Mulaudzi was mentioned in the PIC inquiry, in which it came out that his girlfriend Sibusiso Zulu, a PIC board member, allegedly approved transactions worth about R6 billion for him.
A leaked e-mail from a whistle-blower identified as James Noko suggests Zulu had benefited to the tune of more than R600 million in shareholding and well over R100 million in fees through her scheme with Mulaudzi. Zulu had the power to approve up to R2 billion.