JOHANNESBURG. — The South African Parliament’s joint ethics committee is to investigate EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu’s possible conflict of interest in payments he received from his younger brother, Brian Shivambu, as part of the ongoing “VBS heist” scandal.
The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Phumzile van Damme laid a complaint with the Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests after Shivambu, through his brother, was named among those accused of large-scale looting at VBS Mutual Bank.
In her letter to the DA, Acting Registrar of Members’ Interests, advocate Anthea Gordon, confirmed that “the matter is being attended to and you will be notified of the outcome of the investigation once the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests has decided on the matter”.
Van Damme welcomed the speed with which the committee came to a decision, and wants the hearing to be open to the public.
The committee can call witnesses, summon any person to appear before it to give evidence on oath or affirmation, and summon any person to produce any relevant documents.
This follows last week’s revelations of large-scale looting at VBS Mutual Bank in a report titled “The Great Bank Heist”.
The report, compiled by advocate Terry Motau and Werksmans Attorneys, was released last Wednesday.
In the report, the younger Shivambu was identified as one of those alleged to have received money from the bank in a “looting scheme” involving R1.8bn.
He is said to have received R16m.
Then yesterday, the Daily Maverick reported that of that R16m, about R10m found its way to Floyd, and R1.33m to the EFF.
News24 reported last Friday that Floyd hadn’t declared anything in Parliament’s register of members’ interests since he became an MP in 2014.
On Tuesday, the EFF had a press conference where Floyd and EFF president Julius Malema denied any impropriety and suggested there was a campaign to discredit them by a “rogue unit”, led by the South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) and Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan.
They did, however, reveal that there were payments between the Shivambu brothers.
On Tuesday, Malema confirmed that as brothers, there were numerous transactions between Floyd and Brian Shivambu.
In the South African Reserve Bank’s VBS Mutual Bank heist report, Brian is said to have received R16m from the bank “without an apparent cause” and it was further alleged in media reports that evidence existed that Floyd received R10m of that money.
“We look forward to the investigation and if any wrongdoing is found, the harshest sanction (will) be meted out against Shivambu on behalf of the thousands of poor people whose money was stolen in the VBS heist,” Van Damme said.
Meanwhile, the African National Congress has tabled a motion for debate in the National Assembly on the VBS Mutual Bank report.
“The ANC parliamentary caucus saw it prudent to bring this matter of public importance, affecting the most vulnerable of our people, who invested their hard-earned monies in the VBS Mutual Bank, to Parliament for debate,” reads a statement from the office of ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu yesterday.
This after a meeting of Parliament’s programming committee.
“Our stance on this matter is informed by our conviction that those who have been found guilty of any wrong (must) be processed by our law enforcement agencies.”
ANC members have also been implicated in the report by advocate Terry Motau and law firm Werksmans Attorneys, which was released last week and detailed large-scale looting of R1.8bn.
The names of the party’s provincial deputy chairperson in Limpopo Florence Radzilani and treasurer Danny Msiza were among the 53 mentioned in Motau’s damning report.
In the report, Msiza is painted as a political influencer and fixer who got municipalities to invest in the mutual bank.
Mthembu said the report “points to massive fraud committed with about R1.9bn looted from the bank”.
“We further reiterate the stance of our organisation that leaders and members of the ANC who are implicated and/or accused of wrongdoing in the report [must] be referred to the integrity commission of the ANC,” said Mthembu.
“This is in line with the ANC’s 54th conference resolutions on combating fraud and corruption and restoring the values and integrity of the ANC.”
The motion, titled “The VBS Mutual Bank Report: The Great Bank Heist — a matter of public importance”, will be debated in the National Assembly on Tuesday, October 23.
The ANC’s announcement comes a day after DA leader Mmusi Maimane wrote to Speaker Baleka Mbete, requesting an urgent debate on the matter. — News24.