Money doesn't add up‚ says Malema of cousin’s link to VBS heist saga

26 October 2018 - 17:17 By Nonkululeko Njilo
EFF leader Julius Malema has questioned claims that a company run by his cousin received money from the VBS Mutual Bank through EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu’s brother‚ Brian
EFF leader Julius Malema has questioned claims that a company run by his cousin received money from the VBS Mutual Bank through EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu’s brother‚ Brian
Image: Thulani Mbele/Sowetan

EFF leader Julius Malema has tried to pour cold water on claims that a company run by his cousin received money from the VBS Mutual Bank via EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu’s brother‚ Brian.

In a tweet on Thursday – the night before the allegations linking Brian Shivambu to Malema’s cousin‚ Matsobane Phaleng‚ were published by the Mail & Guardian – Malema questioned the amounts being mentioned involving his party and questionable VBS payments. 

The M&G reported that Phaleng received R5.9-million from nine transactions. Malema confirmed to the newspaper that Phaleng was his cousin‚ but said they were "not close".

“He [Phaleng] got 16mil and gave DP [Floyd Shivambu] 10mil‚ EFF 1‚3mil and now my cousin 5‚9mil. You do the calculations‚” he tweeted.

The red beret leader also re-tweeted a post from a user who goes by @Sentletse that questioned the M&G’s sources for the story.

“I thought @mailandguardian was going to treat us to copies of bank statements and so on but they decided to have a screaming headline based on rumours. These purveyors or fake news and trash journalism do not respect us‚” @Sentletse said.

The social media posts come after the newspaper reported on a series of payments that were allegedly made from Sgameka Projects‚ a company owned by Brian Shivambu‚ to Mahuna Investments‚ owned by Phaleng. The M&G said the payments were made between June 2017 and February 2018 and ranged between R500‚000 and R1-million.

The information came from “three independent sources”‚ the publication said.

Shivambu was quoted as saying he was taking legal action against the authors of the South African Reserve Bank’s report on VBS‚ which said he received more than R16-million in gratuitous payments.

“[I] wouldn’t want to respond to questions about issues that will be under court process. Please allow me to deal with the matter through the court processes‚” he said.

Phaleng mentioned that his company was not mentioned in the VBS report‚ and referred queries to Sgameka.

“After careful reading of the VBS report and consulting with our team‚ we couldn’t find our name implicated in whatever way possible‚ and we wish to not get involved‚” he said.

Brian Shivambu’s involvement came into light after he was implicated in the report‚ which indicated that he received more than R16-million. Floyd has denied receiving any illegal payments.

The EFF has also been accused of receiving money – in the region of R1.3-million – from Brian Shivambu. The party denied receiving any tainted money‚ saying that anyone found to be involved should be investigated.

On Tuesday‚ chaos erupted in the National Assembly when ANC MPs shouted "pay back the money" during a debate on the VBS saga.

The debate came after the release of the "The Great Bank Heist" earlier this month – a report on the looting of VBS.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi could not be reached for comment at the time of publishing.