Floyd Shivambu’s brother quietly pays back R4.55m, admits he received the VBS money gratuitously

Brian Shivambu. (Photo: Supplied) | The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) flag. (Photo: Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo) |EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu. (Photo: Gallo Images/Laird Forbes)

Brian Shivambu signed a secret contract admitting to having received R4.55m in VBS loot for no kosher reason. He promised to pay back the money. The contract itself and its cloak of secrecy seem to be revealing and damning.

Brian Shivambu’s attorneys insisted on a secrecy clause before their client signed an “acknowledgement of debt” for R4.55-million in favour of Vele Investments, the majority shareholder in VBS Mutual Bank, during Vele’s insolvency inquiry.

Vele and VBS, along with other related companies, created a single criminal enterprise under the stewardship of bank chairman Tshifhiwa Matodzi with the goal of stealing from the bank’s depositors and laundering proceeds to participants in the scam, which amounted to about R2.7-billion.

In the acknowledgement of debt contract, signed on 23 March 2020, Shivambu admits that “there is no underlying basis for the payment of R4,550,000 and accordingly the amount of R4,550,000 must be repaid to Vele Investments”.

With this, Shivambu admits to having received millions of rands for doing nothing.

His acknowledgement of debt belies years of denial and attempts to legitimise the money flowing from three VBS-linked companies, of which Vele was one, through his company Sgameka Projects right into the front companies and pockets of his brother Floyd Shivambu and Julius Malema. A part of the VBS-loot also funded the EFF.

The acknowledgement of debt between Vele and Shivambu’s Sgameka Projects slots into Vele’s liquidation and insolvency inquiry in which curator Richard Pollock is attempting to recoup stolen money owed to Vele and, by implication, the VBS Mutual Bank depositors.

The amount of R4.55-million Vele claimed back is a slice of the R16.1-million which VBS investigators, advocate Terry Motau and Werksmans, found Shivambu had received “gratuitously”.

Shivambu confirms in the same contract:

“Sgameka hereby agrees and acknowledges that the amount, nature, cause, calculation and enforceability of the indebtedness is not disputed.”



Shivambu’s admission of no work done in exchange for R4.55-million in VBS loot goes a long way in supporting the findings in Scorpio’s two-year investigation, in that:

a) Shivambu was the veneer of legitimacy for his brother Floyd, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and its leader, Julius Malema. He utilised little of the money for his own needs;

b) Sgameka funnelled millions of rands and benefits which Floyd, Malema and the EFF spent on property, a Soweto restaurant, their children and family, luxury cars, luxury clothing, holidays, groceries and the EFF’s fourth birthday bash in Umlazi; and

c) Bank chairman Matodzi, who stands accused of having orchestrated the fraud at VBS, utilised the EFF’s political power in exchange for money. Matodzi described the Sgameka Projects bank account as “extremely strategic” and the money dumped into it as “lobbying fees”.

Scorpio’s findings are based on reams of bank statements, documents, WhatsApp messages and eyewitness accounts. Malema, the brothers Shivambu and the EFF have threatened to launch legal challenges, but didn’t walk the talk.

(The EFF leaders have also, at the very least, encouraged a massive social media disinformation campaign, replete with threats against the Scorpio reporter, and have also “banned” Daily Maverick, Scorpio and amaBhungane from reporting on their public events. They have not, however, gone the legal route, for obvious reasons. — Editor)

The secrecy clause under the heading “confidentiality” in the contract states that the “nature or content of this agreement” will not be disclosed.

The matter was, however, recently filed with the Master of the High Court in accordance with legal proceedings in the winding up of Vele Investments.

Shivambu’s lawyer Victor Nkhwashu acknowledged receipt of Scorpio’s query about the contract on 10 May, but did not answer any of our questions.

Pollock declined to comment, stating that the insolvency inquiry into Vele is governed by sections 417 and 418 of the Companies Act as it is “secret by nature and unfortunately we cannot disclose details of the evidence given nor the information obtained”. Pollock said that Shivambu’s attorneys “requested the acknowledgement be made confidential”.

He further confirmed that the R4.55-million Sgameka owed to Vele “has been fully repaid. Payments were made initially in accordance with the repayment plan and then accelerated.”

Who exactly bankrolled Shivambu is not yet known to Scorpio.


Shivambu’s secret admission was the result of some legal wrangling in which he suddenly claimed to not be able to speak English and testify in the language.

This was after Judge Brian Southwood, heading the Vele insolvency inquiry, in late 2019 subpoenaed Shivambu to testify about what he knew.

A transcript of proceedings shows that Shivambu’s perception was one of being denied the right to testify in Xitsonga, while Southwood believed Shivambu was unduly delaying proceedings in a situation where only a “simple” explanation was required.

The more important part, though, is that at the time Shivambu’s lawyer, Nkhwashu, still attempted to argue that Sgameka had been paid the R4.55-million legitimately, based on a contract and work done.

Shivambu felt so aggrieved by Southwood’s scepticism about his proficiency in English that he instructed his lawyers to initiate an application for Southwood to recuse himself, based mainly on bias. Before the matter could be aired and decided, Shivambu suddenly changed his mind, based on legal advice. On 23 March 2020, he signed the acknowledgement of debt, stating that Sgameka did indeed do nothing to earn the R4.55-million from Vele Investments and that the money would be paid back in tranches.

His lawyers then insisted on a confidentiality clause to obscure the entire matter.


The payback of R4.55-million is the second linked to VBS that Shivambu was forced to honour.

The first was a payment of R2.78-million, VBS loot that was dumped into the Shivambus’ and Malema’s SUD Restaurant in Soweto. This amount was payback for a partial loan, plus interest and legal costs.


To date, 15 people have been arrested for alleged crimes committed in the fraud that caused VBS Mutual Bank’s implosion. The bank’s CFO, Philip Truter, has pleaded guilty. Its management, auditors and attorneys as well as ANC-linked businessmen will stand trial on 188 counts of theft, fraud, money laundering, corruption, racketeering and contraventions of provisions in the Prevention of Organised Crime Act and the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act. DM


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All Comments 26

  • So money was used illegally for malema and Floyd,although it has been payed back now by Brian,will the restuarant etc, be closed down and sold to recoup more lost money.As the restaurant wouldn’t have opened without that stolen money,will wait and see how the Hawks ,DPCI ,etc, treat this

  • Pauli, as Brian Shivambu paid back the money, a year ago already, it also means that Floyd Shivambu and Julius Malema will not be prosecuted, despite their lies of being complicit. You have been insulted by them in public, and DM and AmaBhungane banned from attending the EFF’s press briefings. So what now? Apart from a few assault cases, it appears that there is nothing that can linked them directly to fraud, money laundering, or corruption. Thus, case over. Or am I wrong? In effect, R4 odd million is really pocket change for them. It thus appears that your work of more than 2 years was actually in vain. A more complete article than this one is really required

  • “This amount was payback for a partial loan, plus interest and legal costs.” Is it possible to clarify what this means? How much (if any) interest was paid back on a “loan” of R4.55 million taken out in 2017? It should amount to at least another R1 million? And how much were the legal costs?

    • I’m not sure it works like that. the stuff that happens Liquidation processes and hearings are not sanitizers. eg if a director had illegally paid himself a million, he signs an AOD to record that he owes the money and will repay, that AOD is not an “ag sorry man you caught me, here is the money back”

      Not sue who, but somebody can lay criminal charges on the basis of the AOD.

  • There are a number of articles this past weekend by DM that are really disappointing, and I would have expected much more from DM. The articles could have appeared in any online media, or for that matter YouTube channel. This article by Pauli van Wyk really highlights this. The money was payed back a year ago by Brian Shivambu, but only reported now by Pauli. This is the main article on DM today, but is hardly newsworthy. Then there was an article by Caryn Dolley, entitled ” The crooked blue line….”. Whilst being a good article, it left more questions than answers, as I commented on. Some real investigative work is required to make this a real article of news-worthiness. Then there was an article by Sibusiso Ngawa, entitled “You must fire Minister Mkisi…..”. This same type of article were published by virtually all media. Really, some more investigative work is required, which I also commented on. The whole issue of Mkizi raises more questions than answers. I for one find it difficult to believe that no one knew about this issue until it was exposed by DM, but more that one year after it happened. Really, one would have thought that DM would try and discover the “why’s” on this issue, and did Ramaphosa and the holy cows at the ANC really did not know about this? The only real credible article over the weekend was Ferial Haffajee’s article, “Back to the future…”

    • DM – It seems that Coen Gous has all the answers. Maybe you should employ him/her and then see ‘things’ happen …. 🙂

      • Coen is excellent at doing his homework very well. Perhaps SSA can employ him to contribute to gather some dirt on the country’s enemies.

        • I suggest to rather read your favourite journalist Renaldo Gouws, DA Councillor in PE, YouTube channel as far back as 5 years where you can comment at will, without sounding stupid

          • Your remark proves my point. You are seemingly confusing identities.

        • Gerhard, if I indeed am confused about identities, I do apologise to you. But to even suggest I should work with the SSA, whom I have little or no respect for, is not an ambition, but could be interpreted as an insult

  • Brian is an accomplice in the VBS fraud and paying back the money does not cancel his criminal culpability. He together with Julius should be charged for the VBS fraud! A response from the NPA on this matter is required as a matter of public interest.

  • 300k for 14 months? Did these thieving scofflaws keep up with the installments? I would like to see how they managed that. Malema and his chums need to answer these questions immediately. They are all lower than a snake’s belly and need incarcerating post haste.

  • There seems to be a lot of progress made in the development of a vaccine against the ubiquitous South African “Manna from Heaven Syndrome” (MHS) by Investigative Journalists.

  • I am soooooo pleased that Brian is showing the way. I am sure that Floyd and Julius will learn from Brian’s example and will never steal and lie again. Brian deserves a 10% reward.

    • “Showing the way …”? It is far more likely that the brother Floyd and motor-mouth Malema pushed Brian in order to deflect and conceal far greater robberies. These people would not willingly give up R4,5-million unless there is a hidden purpose not yet obvious.

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