An explosive report in Daily Maverick, the latest looking at the involvement of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leaders in the VBS Bank scandal, alleges that the party’s deputy president, Floyd Shivambu, approached prominent Stellenbosch businessmen, often branded the “Stellenbosch mafia” by his party, to ask for funding for a number of business projects, including a wine bar.
Investigative journalist Pauli van Wyk’s report does not mention any businessmen by name, but says the meetings between Shivambu and some of South Africa’s richest people – at which he was allegedly accompanied by the EFF’s Marshall Dlamini – were confirmed by “four businessmen with personal knowledge of discussions with Shivambu”.
One of these businesses was allegedly the Grand Azania wine bar, with Shivambu attempting to find a wine farm willing to repackage their wine with his concept’s branding.
The report further connects Grand Azania to the VBS banking scandal, alleging that Floyd’s brother Brian Shivambu received a R4 million loan from the bank which was never serviced, and that R2.1 million of this was received as an advance towards the wine bar, which was meant to be located at Soweto’s iconic Vilakazi Street.
The full report can be read here.
If the allegations that Shivambu approached the “Stellenbosch mafia” for business funding turn out to be true, this would be ironic considering the disdain the party expresses towards these businessmen publicly.
EFF leader Julius Malema has hit out at the “Stellenbosch mafia,” who he said comprises of billionaire Johan Rupert and others, in speeches, most recently outside the North Gauteng High Court, where he was challenging the constitutionality of the Riotous Assemblies Act.
On that occasion, he also claimed that Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan is the one in charge of South Africa, rather than President Cyril Ramaphosa, and added that the minister himself is in turn controlled by the “Stellenbosch mafia”.
He also made a connection between the “Stellenbosch mafia” and the media.
“A war is coming. This country is run by Pravin and Pravin is run by the Stellenbosch mafia. Those people are more dangerous than Zuma. And they control senior Indian journalists and senior white journalists,” Malema said.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)