Johannesburg - Former ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize has denied reports that he solicited R2 million in funding for the ANC from VBS Mutual Bank.
Mkhize has labelled the reports as "defamatory and a fabrication devoid of any truth and as such should not be believed".
His denials follow a Sunday Times story which reported on text messages exchanged between former VBS executives who claimed they had paid R2 million to Mkhize while he was the treasurer general of the ANC back 2016.
The funds were allegedly used to pay a service provider during the party's elections drive in 2016. The VBS executives had paid the money while under the impression that Mkhize would assist the bank in attaining funding from municipalities.
Mkhize, who is now the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, has poured cold water on these claims and said he knows nothing about text messages.
"I wish to emphasise once again that I, in my capacity as the treasurer general of the ANC, I have never assisted VBS in securing any funding from municipalities or any other state institution," said Mkhize in a statement issued on Wednesday.
"I have no direct knowledge or personal recollection of the R2million donation by VBS during my tenure as TG as reported. It needs to be made explicitly clear that the SMS messages exchanged by VBS directors as reported in the media article were not a conversation with me," he said.
He said he had met with VBS directors before, but that he had not promised to help them in their quest to draw funds from municipalities.
"I have confirmed before that I met with VBS management and directors. This was a formally-arranged meeting with the TG’s office. This meeting was meant to introduce the bank to the organisation and to make one understand its business model. This was nothing uncommon as I constantly met and interacted with representatives of various institutions, including other financial institutions.
"It is also important to clarify that there was never, at any time, any expectation created by me that I would assist them in securing state funding including that of municipalities. Not only is this suggestion untrue and laughable, but it’s also a clear illustration of the arrogance, bad faith and destructive intentions that the implicated VBS representatives had about the bank," said Mkhize.
The minister has been facing pressure on the VBS matter with the DA threating to lay criminal charges against him for his alleged involvement in the VBS saga.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has also called for Mkhize to step down as a minister.IOL