When Finance Minister Tito Mboweni took to Twitter on Monday night to tell his followers about a “new restaurant” on Soweto tourist attraction Vilakazi Street, investigative journalist Pauli van Wyk responded by alleging it was made possible by “millions in stolen [VBS] money”.
The restaurant, SUD, is managed by Tsholo Malema, the cousin of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema.
Sunday Times reported in November last year that money from Santaclara Trading, a company registered to Malema’s cousin, Jimmy Matlebyane, ended up in three bank accounts, one of which belonged to SUD.
According to the report, Santaclara received R4 million worth of “suspicious” payments within seven months, including money which allegedly came from companies which looted VBS bank.
Van Wyk said in her response to Mboweni that she would soon “show how” the VBS millions allegedly financed SUD, as well as how much found its way into the restaurant’s coffers.
This will likely be covered in the latest of her reports for Daily Maverick‘s investigative journalist unit Scorpio. Van Wyk has been instrumental in linking the looting of VBS to the EFF, through reports implicating Malema as well as the party’s second-in-command Floyd Shivambu.
She ended her tweet aimed at Mboweni on a didactic note: “Support it [and] promote it, minister [Tito Mboweni], because our mothers [and] grandmothers [and] orphans funded it with pension money robbed from them.”
The minister did not respond to Van Wyk’s tweet.
The EFF was first linked to the looting of VBS bank after Shivambu’s brother Brian was named in ‘The Great Bank Heist’, a forensic report commissioned by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and written by advocate Terry Motau and law firm Werksmans.
Brian Shivambu was allegedly one of 53 individuals who the report advised be criminally charged and held liable in civil proceedings for their alleged role in the wide-scale looting of the bank, which the report said totalled R1.89 billion.
Daily Maverick has since reported that liquidator Anoosh Rooplal now estimates that the total looted was roughly R800 million more than originally reported, taking the total to an estimated R2.7 billion.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)