How VBS loot helped Juju get a R5m house

Dodgy cash flows to EFF chief’s trusts and restau­rant reg­is­tered in name of his cousin

Sunday Times - - Front Page - By ZINGISA MVUMVU

● EFF leader Julius Malema has per­son­ally ben­e­fited from mil­lions of rands that were chan­nelled to a com­pany ex­posed as his own slush fund.

A Sun­day Times in­ves­ti­ga­tion last month re­vealed that San­taclara Trad­ing, a com­pany reg­is­tered to Malema’s cousin, Jimmy Matle­byane, had re­ceived more than R4m in sus­pi­cious pay­ments, in just seven months.

The money came from com­pa­nies that looted VBS Mu­tual Bank, com­pa­nies that did business with the gov­ern­ment of Lim­popo and from the EFF’s lawyers.

Today, we can re­veal that af­ter these monies were de­posited into San­taclara’s Absa bank ac­count, they were im­me­di­ately chan­nelled into three dif­fer­ent ac­counts.

One ac­count be­longs to an upmarket restau­rant in Soweto’s Vi­lakazi Street, and the oth­ers to two trust ac­counts, the Mun­zhedzi Fam­ily Trust and the Maz­imbu In­vest­ment Trust, which are linked to Malema.

Funds trans­ferred to the Mun­zhedzi Fam­ily Trust were used to bankroll a plush Sandown house, partly funded by a R5.5m bond from Absa. The prop­erty was pre­vi­ously owned by the EFF. Mun­zhedzi is the name of Malema’s se­cond son.

This is the same modus operandi Malema al­legedly used to fund his life­style when he was pres­i­dent of the ANC Youth League.

Back then Malema used the Ratanang Fam­ily Trust, named af­ter his first son, to fund his life­style. The trust had shares in On Point En­gi­neer­ing, a com­pany that did business with the Lim­popo pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment. Malema was charged with cor­rup­tion re­lat­ing to the trust, but the charges were later with­drawn.

This week the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity re­vealed that it is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the Ratanang Fam­ily Trust and will charge three di­rec­tors of On Point En­gi­neer­ing — Cuth­bert Le­siba Gwangwa, Kag­isho Dich­aba and Thomas Rasethaba — with fraud in the award­ing of a ten­der worth over R51m by the trans­port depart­ment.

With the Ratanang Fam­ily Trust un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Malema has moved on and cre­ated a slush fund, San­taclara.

Come back to me when you are pre­pared to share with me where you got this con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion

Julius Malema

EFF leader

The Sun­day Times can re­veal that money from San­taclara found its way into the bank ac­count of SUD, a restau­rant man­aged by an­other Malema cousin, Tsholo Malema.

San­taclara is reg­is­tered to Matle­byane, but SMS bank no­ti­fi­ca­tions re­lat­ing to the ac­count are sent to Malema’s phone num­ber, peo­ple close to Malema said.

The Sandown home was bought on March 12 and reg­is­tered with the deeds of­fice on July 23 un­der the Mun­zhedzi Fam­ily Trust.

The EFF pur­chased the house in 2017 for R5.25m from Ova­dia Eli. Malema lived in the house when it was still owned by Eli. It is not clear whether he paid rent.

The house is reg­is­tered as the business ad­dress of Vuur Trad­ing, of which Matle­byane is a di­rec­tor.

Malema de­clined to an­swer ques­tions sent to him, say­ing only: “My fam­ily trust never re­ceived money from VBS, by the way.” He then ques­tioned how this news­pa­per ob­tained “con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion”.

“You seem to have il­le­gally had ac­cess to con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion. You tell me how you gained ac­cess to this in­for­ma­tion [and] if it is jus­ti­fi­able and le­gal, I will an­swer your ques­tions,” he said.

“Hold us ac­count­able with legally ob­tained doc­u­ments, come back to me when you are pre­pared to share with me where you got this con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion. Where did you get the con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion? Bye.”

EFF spokesper­son Mbuyiseni Nd­lozi did not re­ply to ques­tions about when the party de­cided to sell its prop­erty to its leader.

The Sun­day Times last month re­ported that San­taclara sub­mit­ted a “fraud­u­lent” ap­pli­ca­tion for a home loan with VBS in 2017.

The com­pany also re­ceived money from in­di­vid­u­als, in­clud­ing Malema’s at­tor­ney Ian Le­vitt, who de­posited R300,000.

An­other gen­er­ous con­trib­u­tor to San­taclara’s ac­count was LTE Con­sult­ing, the com­pany be­hind a con­tro­ver­sial R2.2bn project to sup­ply wa­ter to Lim­popo, which de­posited R200,000 into the ac­count.

Grand Aza­nia, EFF deputy pres­i­dent Floyd Shivambu’s slush fund, which re­ceived money from VBS, paid R500,000 to San­taclara.

A Sun­day Times team vis­ited SUD in Soweto, al­legedly be­ing run with funds from San­taclara early this month. It was a hive of ac­tiv­ity, and staff said business is boom­ing.

A source this week re­vealed how funds flow from San­taclara to the restau­rant.

“Most of the money in San­taclara has gone into the SUD ac­count, which is [in] the name of Julius Malema’s cousin, Tsholo,”

said the source, who asked to re­main anony­mous. “Not only that but most of SUD sup­pli­ers are paid via San­taclara. These in­clude food sup­pli­ers and the like.”

Tsholo Malema de­nied knowl­edge of this. “I do not know what you are talk­ing about so I can­not con­firm what I do not know. I am con­fused,” said Tsholo. “SUD is on its own, it does not do business with San­taclara.”

Asked about the di­rect pay­ments from San­taclara to SUD, Tsholo asked: “What ac­counts are those, sir?” She asked to be sent ques­tions, to which she did not re­spond.

San­taclara not only bought Malema the Sandown home, it fi­nanced an­other house for Malema in Polok­wane, Lim­popo, for R3.3m. For the Polok­wane house, Malema used his cousin Matle­byane to ap­ply for a VBS bond in Oc­to­ber 2017. In the ap­pli­ca­tion, he listed his in­come as R5,000 a month and his ex­penses as R2,400.

But later that same day, his loan ap­pli­ca­tion was “amended and re­drafted” to state that he earned 30 times more than that and was thus well able to af­ford the R34,000 monthly bond re­pay­ments. A VBS staff mem­ber al­legedly fraud­u­lently amended the loan ap­pli­ca­tion to re­flect an in­come of R154,999 in or­der to get the bond ap­proved.

San­taclara came to light be­cause Matle­byane’s bond ap­pli­ca­tion was e-mailed to a VBS man­ager by an­other of Malema’s cousins, Phaleng Mat­sobane, who is the di­rec­tor of Mahuna In­vest­ments, be­lieved to be an­other slush fund for Malema. Matle­byane did not re­spond when he was ini­tially asked about San­taclara.

A Sun­day Times pho­tog­ra­pher was con­fronted by armed se­cu­rity guards when he took pic­tures of the house. “This is the CIC’s [com­man­der-in-chief’s] house. Why are you tak­ing pic­tures?” they shouted.

Tsholo Malema

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