Kaunda Selisho
Lifestyle Journalist
4 minute read
28 May 2019
11:35 am

Of crocodiles and lizards: Malema dismisses allegations about EFF partying with ‘crime money’

Kaunda Selisho

The EFF leader waxed lyrical about a bizarre metaphor that seems to be the party's chosen response to the latest bout of VBS allegations.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema speaks at a press conference, 16 May 2019, in Braamfontein. Picture: Michel Bega

Three weeks prior to the 2019 elections, EFF leader Julius Malema appeared on the Eusebius McKaizer show where he swore, live on air, that no funds from VBS had flowed into EFF accounts from which he personally benefited.

“There’s no money that has come into our coffers,” said Malema in that interview before adding that his party’s books were open to any journalist who would like to interrogate the transaction history.

Journalist Pauli Van Wyk, who initially uncovered the EFF’s ties to the VBS saga for the Daily Maverick, recently wrote a follow-up article about the flow of money, linking it back to Malema’s party.

Van Wyk appeared on McKaizer’s on Tuesday morning to unpack the story and insisted that the claims made in her article would stand if interrogated in a court of law.

The VBS saga first became headline news after advocate Terry Motau was appointed by the SA Reserve Bank to probe the collapse of the mutual bank that was placed under curatorship.

Motau, assisted by Werksmans Attorneys, found there was “wide-scale looting and pillaging of the monies placed on deposit at VBS”. The monies were clients’ life savings and deposits, including millions of rands deposited by municipalities.

The report, titled The Great Bank Heist, showed that at least 50 people “gratuitously” received R1.894 billion from the bank over a three-year period starting in March 2015.

An investigative report compiled by Van Wyk and published by the Daily Maverick in October 2018 revealed alleged involvement at the very top of the EFF in benefiting from some of the VBS looting.

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu’s brother Brian received R16 million from the bank. The Daily Maverick’s investigative uni revealed that as much as R10 million of this money may have been given to Shivambu by his younger brother, while R1.3 million went into the EFF’s bank account.

The money to Shivambu was allegedly funnelled to him through a company called Sgameka Projects.

RELATED: Malema, Shivambu question payment made to Pauli Van Wyk’s bank account

In her most recent report, Van Wyk alleges that some of the aforementioned proceeds have since been found to have funded the EFF’s fourth birthday bash held at a popular party venue called Eyadini Lounge in Umlazi, Durban, in July 2017.

“All in all, the EFF benefited from at least R4.13 million through myriad channels. Of this total amount, Scorpio traced about R1.5 million in VBS loot which was paid directly into two EFF bank accounts. This comes despite vehement denials from the EFF leadership of having benefited from the VBS robbery,” read part of the article.

Furthermore, an analysis of Sgameka’s bank account shows the main beneficiaries were the EFF, Grand Azania (a company linked to Floyd), and Mahuna Investments (which is linked to Malema).

“There are no invoices. There are no employees being paid. There is no tax being paid,” said Van Wyk in reference to Sgameka, a company registered in Brian Tshivambu’s name.

“If you look at the bank statements that I uploaded, you’ll see payments made to an NF Shivambu, that’s Nyiko Shivambu. That’s money that went directly into Floyd’s account,” she added.

She concluded by confirming that it would be correct to say that the EFF had benefited from the proceeds of crime.

In his own interview with eNCA at the same time that Van Wyk was on 702, Malema addressed the article and the claims it contained by labelling Van Wyk “a journalist on a witch hunt” and claiming that her recent article made no new claims.

“I’m not going to be entertaining recycled stories of the EFF… I’m not going to entertain this thing that every time Pravin is in hot water and the EFF takes a stand, Pauli goes to a dustbin to dig the old story…” said Malema.

“She must go and be buried in that dustbin where she digs the recycled story of VBS,” he added.

Despite not allowing Van Wyk access to his party’s books as requested, he insists that the offer still stands.

“No, I don’t think it’s me you’re referring to, Julius, because they never came to me. So for sure they’ve spoken to treasurer-general’s office, the treasurer-general’s office made arrangements with them to come after the 8th and we just finished the 8th, Papa. Even Cabinet is not appointed. What is the hurry?” he postured.

“When you are on a witch hunt, you see an hour equal to a year.”

Despite claiming that the contents of Van Wyk’s articles were false, Malema indicated that his party had no intention of reporting her or her publication to the press ombudsman.

“Why clear a name which is not tainted? People can see this story for what it is,” said Malema.

Malema’s interview on the Daily Maverick article begins at the 11-minute mark.

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