The name of the Economic Freedom Fighters second-in-command, Floyd Shivambu, is once again entwined in VBS largesse, this time over a Range Rover Sport allegedly purchased with illicit proceeds from the bank.
The car, which was registered in Floyd’s name until December last year, is one of several luxury vehicles that the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI, the Hawks) investigators believe was bought at a Sandton dealership with money looted from VBS.
The Hawks asked the Land Rover dealership on Rivonia Road in Morningside for documents relating to vehicles bought by various individuals.
The records handed over by the dealership to the Hawks include paperwork for a white Range Rover Sport purchased in January 2018, for which Floyd paid cash.
The luxury off-road vehicle retails for a minimum of R1.1-million.
The ownership of the vehicle was then changed from him to his cousin, Musa Shivambu, in December.
This was a time when scrutiny into how Floyd, EFF commander-in-chief Julius Malema and the party benefited from the looting of VBS.
This week, Floyd dismissed questions about the vehicle and the investigations saying they were part of a “co-ordinated attack of the EFF and its leadership”.
“I know of the illegal work done by Werkmans [Attorneys] and [litigator] Bernard Hotz, who are using this money they illegally and unlawfully got from Prasa [Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa] to investigate EFF leaders,” he said.
The EFF leaders have consistently dismissed numerous news reports exposing their link to dodgy money and individuals as part of a political initiative backed by white monopoly capital, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and former South African Revenue Service (Sars) employees who were previously referred to as the “rogue unit”.
Werksmans Attorneys represents some of the former Sars officials and the VBS liquidator, Anoosh Rooplal.
Floyd confirmed that he had owned the Range Rover, saying he bought it when he traded in his 2013 Range Rover Sport, which had been financed, and paid cash for the shortfall for the new car.
“I never got any money from VBS, and bought the Range Rover Sport long before I even knew there’s a bank called VBS. The Hawks have not approached me about anything and I will state the facts as they are if they ever approach me
“You can check with vehicle registrations, and also check with Range Rover. They will give you exactly the information I have provided here.”
Floyd said he sold the vehicle to his cousin, Musa Shivambu, in December 2018. (Musa had assisted Floyd’s brother Brian with R180 000, which went towards repaying the VBS loans made to his businesses, Grand Azania and Sgameka.)
Neither the Hawks nor the dealership had responded to the Mail & Guardian’s questions by the time of going to print.
Although the Hawks did not respond to M&G questions sent on Tuesday, Floyd forwarded, via WhatsApp, a message he claims is from the head of the Hawks, General Godfrey Lebeya. It reads: “Good afternoon Sir. The journalist is misrepresenting the Hawks. Although we have received a question from a journalist, we have not responded to such enquiry. We are not going to respond. If the journalist can tell us as to who has told him in the DPCI, we shall ascertain from such member. Regards.”
When contacted for comment yesterday, the Hawks said Lebeya was travelling and would respond later.
Musa did not respond to questions relating to the vehicle, and Floyd did not respond to requests for evidence showing the sale of it to his cousin.
Musa was recently uncovered as one of the businessmen who were part of a consortium put together by Afrirent, the winners of a questionable R1.2-billion fleet management contract from the City of Johannesburg.
This was uncovered in an investigation by the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism, that also tracked R500 000 in payments from Afrirent to Mahuna Investments, the sole director of which is Malema’s cousin, Matsobane Phaleng. This was just before Afrirent was awarded the contract. Both Afrirent and Phaleng said the payment was for services rendered by Mahuna.
An exposé recently published by the Daily Maverick shows how proceeds from VBS into Mahuna financed Malema’s lifestyle.
The aftermath of that exposé saw an enraged EFF leadership, which dismissed the allegations as untrue, banning both amaBhungane and Daily Maverick’s Scorpio from their events.
The M&G has published articles about monies from VBS and the Public Investment Corporation landing up in the accounts of companies that have Malema and Floyd’s friends or family as directors, but whose ultimate beneficial owners are actually Malema and Floyd. (The concept of ultimate beneficial ownership is used by law enforcement agencies in money laundering investigations and refers to a juristic individual who, despite not appearing on company documents, effectively controls and benefits from that company.)
Last year the M&G disclosed that Sgameka was paid R16-million by VBS in a transaction that had no contract, invoices or tax paid to Sars. Bank statements showed that R5-million of this amount found its way into Mahuna’s bank account, again without any evidence of a business relationship between the two.
Brian and Phaleng said the payments were for work done.
Grand Azania, a wine bar in Soweto, also received at least R1-million from a separate R4-million facility Brian got for Sgameka from VBS.
Other M&G articles showed Floyd benefited more than Brian from monies in Sgameka and Grand Azania’s bank account, including having his rent paid from there. Floyd also passed Grand Azania’s banking details to VBS-funded businessman Lawrence Mulaudzi for him to deposit money, and he negotiated deals for Grand Azania.
Similarly, the Daily Maverick demonstrated that Malema had free rein over Mahuna while Phaleng occasionally got paid directors fees.
On the Range trail
This investigation has been pieced together over three weeks by the M&G, which worked to verify not only the Hawks investigation, but also Floyd Shivambu’s ownership of the vehicle, as well as whether it was financed or paid for in cash.
Registration details show it was under the dealership from February 2017 until January 23 2018, when Floyd became the title holder. The vehicle again changed hands from Floyd to his cousin Musa Shivambu on December 24 2018.
The M&G also established that this is the same vehicle in which Floyd was stopped by traffic officers while driving 180km/h in the Free State last August.