In a televised interview on Sunday morning, EFF (soon to be former) member of parliament Thembinkosi Rawula confirmed EFF leader Julius Malema’s lawyers have demanded that he retract his allegations against the party’s two top leaders, Malema and deputy president Floyd Shivambu.
On Friday, Rawula had called them “the pair”, and alleged the EFF was like a “financial fishing net” for them, “an antithesis of everything they support”.
Rawula made sweeping and damaging allegations against both party leaders, Malema in particular, including that he had admitted in a party meeting to taking money from the now liquidated VBS Mutual Bank.
“The political overview of Julius Malema in the most recent CCT meeting admitted to EFF taking VBS money to finance the revolution. In fact [Malema] said, ‘sometimes we are forced to kiss dogs or devil to get funding’. The VBS money was done under the full knowledge of the leadership,” he claimed.
The EFF subsequently dismissed his allegations as lies driven by his not having made the nominations cut to return to parliament again this year.
Speaking on eNCA, party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi defended their parliamentary list process and denied they had excluded Rawula due to him asking uncomfortable questions about Malema and Shivambu’s alleged involvement in VBS bank looting. He called Rawula a “position monger” who was throwing a tantrum and lying about his organisation and had joined “propagandists” against the EFF.
Ndlozi said 1,000 names had been nominated for the EFF candidate list at the start, and the 200 who were selected to go to parliament had been chosen democratically by EFF branches.
Rawula has also endured criticism for reportedly admitting on radio in the wake of his allegations that he did not have hard proof of his allegations.
Nevertheless, he told eNCA’s PolitBureau that “we” would open a case against Malema and Shivambu, but he would not name who else was on his side because some of them were still in the EFF and were going to parliament. He claimed they supported him secretly though.
The MP, who was sworn into parliament for the EFF in late 2015, admitted that he had long had reservations about his leaders, but had kept quiet about them due to allegedly needing to retain his seat in the National Assembly amid the fear of being fired. However, after he learnt he hadn’t made the EFF’s candidate list to parliament for this year’s national elections, he was free to speak his mind.
In his long post, he among other things alleged that Malema and Shivambu had been abusing millions in party funds, particularly from the levies the party imposes on its elected representatives and constituency funds received from Treasury.
“All these monies are centralised in the EFF under the control, abuse and dictatorship of Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu. This pair has made it clear, this is their organisation, and all of you have come to join us, not the other way round.”
He listed a number of alleged methods his party leaders used to gain personal access to money from legislatures and parliament, thus supposedly sidestepping Treasury laws.
Rawula argued that the “scandal of VBS has put the EFF cardinal pillar number 7 [anti-corruption] on trial in the court of the public opinion. The EFF will have a tough time to remedy itself to the poor grannies of Limpopo and the country as the whole.”
Rawula told eNCA he was not speaking out over bitterness, but because he wanted the truth known and because he wanted to speak out against corruption.
“At some point one has to speak the truth.”
He said it was well known that he had always raised the issue of VBS within the party, but without success. He admitted that he had received a letter from Malema’s lawyers demanding that he retract all his public statements against him. Although it was not stated, the implication was that Malema may have been threatening to sue for defamation.
“I am busy drafting the response,” said Rawula. “I will be responding as early as Monday, as they have requested from me.”