Briefing Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance on Tuesday, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni strongly defended the role of the Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank in the VBS Mutual Bank’s saga.
Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) leader Julius Malema says the party has scrutinised his Deputy Floyd Shivambu’s bank statement and no money from VBS Mutual Bank or Sgameka was located. The party dismissed claims that it received money from VBS, while at the same time says it has no reason to doubt Shivambu. He has distanced himself from his brother who has been implicated in the Reserve Bank forensic report.
Malema says if Floyd Shivambu is found to have been implicated in the looting VBS bank he will be dealt with accordingly. “He [Floyd] brought his financial statements and we looked at them. We went through them; we cannot locate any money from the VBS. We cannot locate any money from Sgameka. There are exchanges of money from him to Brian, from Brian to him, and not only from Brian to him, to his brother Lucky, to his parents.”
Phumzile Van Damme MP – Democratic Alliance Team One Spokesperson on Corruption
The Economic Freedom Fighters’ press conference on the VBS looting was all sound and fury and fell short on clarifying Floyd Shivambu’s involvement in the VBS scandal. Instead, it was a flimsy attempt to divert attention by launching veiled attacks on the National Treasury, the South Africa Reserve Bank (SARB) and journalists on unverified allegations.
The Democratic Alliance calls on the Hawks to launch an official investigation into allegations against Shivambu on the role that he, and his brother, may have played in the VBS heist.
The SARB’s report implicates Brian Shivambu as a major beneficiary of the VBS heist to the tune of R 16 million. Julius Malema confirmed that as brothers, there were numerous transactions between Floyd and Brian. He could not rule out the possibility that proceeds of crime may have funded functions of the organisation. As such a full forensic investigation is necessary.
It is simply not enough for the EFF to claim they have satisfied themselves by looking at Floyd’s bank statements. The Hawks must now conduct a full investigation to establish definitively whether the money that was sent from Brian to Floyd was through the proceeds of the VBS Heist.
The EFF has not been forthcoming about whether they have as a party received any funding from any proceeds of the VBS Heist. We have, for months, challenged them to come clean about this. When asked, they simply obfuscate and detract from the question as they did during today’s press conference.
If they truly have nothing to hide, Shivambu and the party should submit their books for forensic investigation by the Hawks with immediate effect.
The DA has already submitted a complaint to the Parliamentary Ethics committee to probe Floyd Shivambu on his possible conflict of interest with his brother Brian. During today’s press conference Malema admitted that money was transferred between Brian and Floyd Shivambu. Clause 5.2 of the Parliamentary Code of Conduct “makes provision for a member, or their immediate family member to not accept any reward, benefit or gift from any person or body that creates a direct conflict or business interest for such Member”. This is evidence that Floyd Shivambu failed to disclose his conflict of interest in Parliament when the VBS matter was discussed.
The VBS heist has cost poor South Africans and struggling municipalities millions of rands and it is incumbent upon on the Hawks to ensure that those implicated are held to account.
This scandal proves that the ANC and the EFF are in the same coalition of corruption. The South African people deserve better than this.