EFF asks Blade if VBS bankrolled SACP congress

Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI siyabonga.mkhwanazi@inl.co.za

THE EFF has in­ten­si­fied its fight with SACP boss Blade Nz­i­mande over the VBS Mu­tual Bank saga.

Yes­ter­day it emerged that the EFF, some of whose lead­ers have been ac­cused of hav­ing links to VBS, wrote a let­ter to Nz­i­mande, the Trans­port Min­is­ter, ask­ing him if the SACP had re­ceived a do­na­tion for its congress last year. In the let­ter, EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu wants to know if the SACP re­ceived R3 mil­lion for a con­fer­ence.

But the SACP yes­ter­day de­nied re­ceiv­ing any pay­ment from Vele In­vest­ment, the ma­jor­ity share­holder in VBS, for its Joburg con­fer­ence.

SACP spokesper­son Alex Mashilo said no funds were re­ceived from Vele In­vest­ments or VBS. “I have checked with our fi­nance depart­ment and they made it clear that we did not re­ceive a cent from Vele In­vest­ments or VBS,” said Mashilo.

In the let­ter, Shivambu says the SACP must come clean on the mat­ter.

“The EFF writes to of­fi­cially en­quire if the SACP re­ceived a do­na­tion of R3m from Vele In­vest­ments or any of its sub­sidiaries dur­ing its 2017 congress paid di­rectly to Bir­ch­wood Ho­tel,” reads the let­ter. “We ask the min­is­ter to an­swer hon­ourably and hon­estly. We also re­quest the min­is­ter to ex­pe­di­tiously at­tend to the mat­ter, given its ur­gency and sen­si­tiv­ity.”

Shivambu’s brother, Brian, is al­leged to have scored R16m from Vele In­vest­ment.

The Trans­port Depart­ment did not re­spond to ques­tions by the time of go­ing to print.

The EFF’s let­ter to Nz­i­mande came af­ter the SA Re­serve Bank, the Na­tional Trea­sury, the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity and the Hawks briefed MPs yes­ter­day on progress made in the case against those be­hind the VBS theft.

Ad­vo­cate Terry Mo­tau, SC, who com­piled the re­port, “The Great Bank Heist”, was also at the meet­ing in Par­lia­ment, where he de­fended his re­port.

Lim­popo Pre­mier Stan Matha­batha said mu­nic­i­pal man­agers and chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cers were sus­pended for their in­volve­ment in the saga.

More than 14 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in Lim­popo, North West and Gaut­eng de­posited R1.57 bil­lion into VBS de­spite in­struc­tions from Na­tional Trea­sury not to do so.

Re­serve Bank deputy gov­er­nor Kuben Naidoo told Par­lia­ment it would not be pos­si­ble to save VBS, not­ing the court ap­pli­ca­tion for the liq­ui­da­tion of the bank would be heard next week.

The EFF has been push­ing for the gov­ern­ment to save VBS. But Naidoo told MPs this would not be pos­si­ble.

“The bank has no money and it can­not sus­tain it­self. Un­der liq­ui­da­tion there is a prob­a­bil­ity it can be saved. Our ad­vice is, if ad­vo­cate Mo­tau has R1 bil­lion, why would he want to start at mi­nus R372 mil­lion? If peo­ple out there can put money in, they can.”

Naidoo said if peo­ple wanted to buy VBS, they would be able to break even in 12 years be­cause of the R372m hole in the bank.

Mean­while, the SA Mu­nic­i­pal Work­ers’ Union de­nied it had been part of the VBS scan­dal. It blamed for­mer of­fi­cials for spread­ing ru­mours about a loss of funds in the bank.

“Samwu has never mort­gaged its head of­fice or in­vested work­ers’ money with VBS. Those ex­pelled from the union should de­sist from spread­ing false ru­mours. The only fa­cil­ity we have with VBS is a loan re­li­giously ser­viced monthly,” Samwu said.

The ANC has ad­mit­ted re­ceiv­ing R2m from Vele In­vest­ments, but said it was will­ing to pay it back.

The Bank­ing As­so­ci­a­tion of SA has sus­pended VBS’ mem­ber­ship.

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