AfriForum vs EFF: Standard Bank apologises, says red berets’ proof of payment was legit

11 November 2023 - 08:58 By Sinesipho Schrieber
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EFF leader Julius Malema. File photo.
EFF leader Julius Malema. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Standard Bank has apologised after clarifying that the controversial proof of payment for legal fees provided by EFF lawyers to AfriForum was legitimate and not fraudulent as suggested on social media this week. 

AfriForum topped social media charts on Friday after it published a statement accusing the red berets and Ian Levitt Attorneys of falsifying the proof of payment notification. The accusation was apparently based on the fact that the bank statement's fine print contained outdated information.

“Standard Bank confirms that the documentation circulating in the media, while on an outdated template, reflects genuine transactions which are not fraudulent. Standard Bank denies having confirmed that any proofs of payment in relation to transactions were doctored,” Standard Bank spokesperson Ross Linstrom said on Saturday morning.

Linstrom said the bank had initially sent an erroneous response to AfriForum stating the proof of payment document was fraudulent. He said the bank was conducting a probe into the inaccurate communication that was shared with AfriForum.

“We take this matter very seriously and apologise to the EFF. Save for confirming that all the transactions queried by AfriForum with Standard Bank are genuine,” he said.

EFF lawyer Ian Levitt told TimesLIVE on Friday the EFF would pursue legal action against AfriForum if it did not apologise.

“To include insinuations of my law firm being involved in doctoring documents has taken personal fights between our clients and AfriForum to a new level. AfriForum will pay heavily for this misinformation they are peddling on social media,” Levitt said.

AfriForum's Ernst van Zyl said on Saturday morning: “Standard Bank confirmed to us there were issues with the documents. Our previous communication with Standard Bank is confirmed in their statement, where they state that their response to AfriForum's query was 'erroneous'.

“We directed enquiries to the EFF about the origin of the payments and requested they send us proof of payment again directly from the bank. They refused.

“Standard Bank's statement today only confirmed that the transactions were real. AfriForum has never disputed that we received funds, we made it very clear that the funds reflected.

“We will be conducting further investigations in the week ahead.”


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