Julius Malema maintains VBS looting claims part of plot to delegitimise him
Johannesburg - EFF leader Julius Malema has described the string of allegations of criminality against him and the EFF’s leadership as a deliberate plot to delegitimise him and his party.
In a surprise move, Malema hosted a group of journalists at the red berets’ headquarters in Braamfontein on Thursday, encouraging them to openly question him on the controversies surrounding him and the EFF, including corruption and money laundering allegations.
These included allegations that Malema and his deputy Floyd Shivambu had illicitly benefited from the R2 billion looting of VBS Bank, allegations linking him to a Limpopo tender corruption dating back to 2009 and allegations that the EFF leadership was abusing its kingmaker status in municipalities to milk tenders through kickbacks.
Malema said all the allegations were false and that they were repeated and peddled to silence him and his party.
“There is an agenda all the time to discredit us,” he said.
In 2018, an investigation report of the SA Revenue Service (Sars) titled The Great Bank Heist, alleged Shivambu’s brother, Brian, received R16 million from the now collapsed VBS Mutual Bank.
Some of the money was apparently channelled to Mahuna Investments, owned by Malema’s cousin Matsobane Phaleng and Grand Azania, which is linked to Floyd Shivambu. Malema has been accused of being the genuine beneficiary of Mahuna, with the company card said to have been allegedly with him wherever he went and whenever he made purchases.
Every slave that tried 2 take a stand against the slave master was publicly lynched for all slaves to see. The lesson was/is if you try to take a stand, you too should be lynched. I'm just a child of a deceased epileptic domestic worker &the colour of my skin makes me a suspect🙏🏿 pic.twitter.com/nVnd0GISGJ— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) June 25, 2020
However, Malema has insisted his cousin is the card holder. “We work together so there is no problem if his card gets to be used where I am. He is here now and the card might be used somewhere,” he said.
The EFF generated controversy when it publicly opposed the placing of VBS under curatorship, as the party was accused of protecting its alleged benefits from the bank’s looting. Malema has vowed to resign should he be directly fingered in the VBS scandal.
“If there is any municipality that can say, ‘we put money into VBS because Malema said we must do that’, I will resign all positions without any hesitation,” he said. Malema also denied allegations that the party’s leadership was meddling in dodgy tender dealings in Tshwane, where it helped put the DA in power.
This week, the North Gauteng High Court declared the 2019 multimillion controversial Tshwane fuel tender invalid. The tender was awarded to three companies, including Balimi Barui Trading which paid Mahuna and a company owned by EFF secretary-general Marshall Dlamini. Malema said the companies secured the payments because “the boys are working”.
“It is a consultancy, hospitality, management, events, all types of events (company). I would not want to go and answer details of what the boys are doing with the company in question,” he said.
Malema also expressed confidence that the National Prosecuting Authority would never secure a conviction against him over the 2009 Limpopo tender scandal. The R52 million tender involved the Transport Department and On Point Engineering, of which Malema was a shareholder through his Ratanang Family Trust. The matter was struck off the roll in 2015 and resuscitated by National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shamila Batohi, without Malema among those charged.
“Even if she charges me she will not succeed because I am not involved in those things,” Malema said. He said all those who presided over the government at the time of the scandal, including former premier Cassel Mathale and his MECs were never charged. “The dark cloud of having collapsed a government of Limpopo remains with me who has never been in government,” he said.