South Africa


Brian Shivambu’s secret admission of taking VBS money for nothing collapses entire Malema-Floyd aggressive defence

EFF leaders Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu. (Photo by Gallo Images / Beeld / Deaan Vivier)

While they were positioning themselves as the moral leaders of the oppressed, Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu were exchanging their political power for gifts and ‘interventions’. And cash, loads of it.

Brian Shivambu’s years-long denial and angry claims about the legitimacy of the VBS loot he funnelled to his brother Floyd Shivambu and EFF leader Julius Malema collapsed this week when Scorpio made public his secret admission of wrongdoing in this tragic saga that left thousands of the poorest of the poor out of pocket and out of options.

Brian Shivambu signed an acknowledgement of debt for R4.55-million with Vele Investments (VBS’s main shareholder, propped up with VBS money) while admitting that there was “no underlying basis for the payment”. The admission was “protected” by a confidentiality clause his lawyers insisted on. This R4.55-million is a piece of the larger sum of about R20-million in VBS loot funnelled to the EFF and its leaders. 

Stripped of the legalese, Brian Shivambu admitted that the VBS loot was paid into his bank account for no legitimate reason. The last time we checked, that’s illegal.

This admission blows away the bluster, the threats and the abuse meted out by the EFF leader, Julius Malema, his deputy, Floyd Shivambu, and their army of thugs, trolls and bots to Scorpio’s investigator Pauli van Wyk and Daily Maverick over the past three years. 

Using bank statements and documents, Van Wyk traced about R20-million in loans and cash through several layers of front companies right into the pockets of Floyd Shivambu and Malema. This easy money propped up their lifestyles and their political aspirations.

When they got caught out way back in October 2018, they challenged Van Wyk to “bring the proof”. Famous now are the words of Mbuyiseni Ndlozi in an EFF presser: 

“The EFF reiterates its position that all who are responsible and illegally benefited from the fraud must be criminally prosecuted immediately…. Above all, the law enforcement agencies must do all they can to ensure that all the money that can be recovered must be paid back in full….” 

Ah, those golden days of high decibels and unchallenged lies by the EFF top brass.

When she did publish reams of bank statements proving their crimes, Malema and Shivambu called Van Wyk Satan, a witch, crazy and, of course, a dog of white monopoly capital. It was classic dog-whistling – EFF supporters followed these up with threats of rape, hanging and burning.

The EFF leaders’ hate of being held to account and affinity for acting with impunity spilled over into further violence against journalists and state officials. Shivambu is charged with assaulting journalist Adrian de Kock. Similarly, and also caught on video, Malema and Ndlozi are charged with assaulting a police officer.

Malema, in the meantime, “banned” Scorpio, Daily Maverick, amaBhungane and, later, eNCA from the EFF’s events, in a now classic frothing-at-the-mouth speech next to that figure of Robert Mugabe, his Hitler-style moustache prominent on the shiny wax face.

This show of kragdadigheid and censorship was extended to prospective judges, too. In recent Judicial Service Commission (JSC) proceedings where candidates for the Bench were interviewed to test their fitness and propriety, Malema (aided by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, but that is a discussion for another editorial) acted as if he were on a party political platform. In an act of breathtaking impropriety, Malema aggressively questioned judges on cases before court that he himself is a party to. 

So egregious were proceedings that Casac (Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution) initiated a review process in court to challenge the constitutionality of the interviews, calling them “seriously irregular”.

How do we read the themes of Malema’s conduct, a politician who also has the ability to turn on the charm when the need arises? The answer: It all stands in the bigger context of Malema’s criminal monetisation of his political power. During the period in which they hounded former president Jacob Zuma and former minister of finance Nhlanhla Nene for being immoral, Malema and Shivambu were spending the VBS loot they had received as “lobbying fees” on living the high life and even on the EFF’s fourth birthday bash in Umlazi, KZN. We have the bank statements to prove it. 

While they were positioning themselves as the moral leaders of the oppressed, Malema and Shivambu were exchanging their political power for gifts and “interventions”. And cash, loads of it. We have the WhatsApp messages to prove this, too. Van Wyk found out and documented how VBS was but one income stream – Shivambu’s wedding and Malema’s properties were funded by several other businesspeople.

By attacking the media and using their race and gender against them, the EFF leaders were seeking to delegitimise our investigations and reportage. If no one believes Van Wyk and Daily Maverick, the EFF leaders are safe and free to continue their looting spree(s). By assaulting journalists and government officials, an image of volatility is projected which is likely to make opponents cower away from possible violence. By harassing prospective judges on a public platform about decisions he doesn’t agree with – and having a say in which judges will ultimately land on the Bench – Malema is producing a chilling effect for anyone who dares report, investigate or decide against him and the EFF.

The day will arrive when the SA Revenue Service, the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority come knocking. Malema knows that. He has started to prepare for that eventuality. The tactic: Take away their believability, style yourself as a victim and the last true hope of the marginalised, and the masses will protect you. It sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Malema has always been a true Zuma protégé.

Our three-year investigation proves what by now is an open secret: the EFF and its leaders aren’t the protectors of the poor, an image they invested a lot of shouting in. Our exposés have blown away that cover. 

The EFF’s last defence will be that of a guilty person: 

“But what about them?”; “Others took more money than we did, why are you not chasing them?”; and the classic, “You don’t write about white people’s crimes.”

Apart from the fact that it is not true that we’ve been investigating only the misdeeds of the EFF’s leaders (an internet connection, Google and few spare minutes is enough to verify this statement), one cannot but be struck by how ridiculously transparent this final throw of sand in the eyes of the public is. 

Look over there, others are bigger crooks than us. How pathetic.

They could have been somebody. They could have been contenders. 

Now, they are just a group of exposed thieves, standing in front of you, the South African public, asking you to love them… because others stole even more than they did. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Patrick Veermeer says:

    Loathsome. The lowest of the low.

  • Perfectly written as always.

  • Derrick Kourie says:

    The challenge is to find a way of communicating EFF corruption to those inclined to vote for the party. Few such voters read the DM. Does the depth and extent of the corruption come across in the media which millions of these voters use — typically local language SABC radio/TV services, etc.

  • Hiram C Potts says:

    So what happens next? When does prosecution follow?
    Paying the money back doesn’t alter the fact that fraud & theft were committed & neither does it absolve these low life bottom feeders.

  • Graham Mannall Mannall says:

    Well done Pauli 😊

  • Coen Gous says:

    Now this is what I call journalism, something I became accustomed to from DM, and can see Branko’s hand in this. I though something was amiss from Pauli’s article two days ago. She is too good an investigative journalist, one of the best, not to through punches where it matters. Whilst I was vaguely aware of the threats to Pauli by EFF leaders and supporters, I had no idea how severe it was. I am so glad DM wrote this article.
    However, I agree with the comment by Dkourie. The reach of DM is simply too small to make any real impact. And most other media groups, despite much bigger audiences/readers, are simply too “risk-avoiding. scared, lame” to take this issue head on. Besides, the power of social media has become the name of the game. But keep it up, as DM is the one medium that many of us trust

  • Salomine Theron says:

    Well done, Pauli van Wyk. I am thankful that there are people like you and the other DM reporters. You don’t give up.

  • Guy Hamlin says:

    I shudder to think where we would be as a nation if it wasn’t for DM, and Pauli v Wyk. All I can say is thank you and will increase my contribution.

    • Wendy Dewberry says:

      Im going to increase my contribution too. For every good reason one can think of in our troubled times of SA politics. Well done team.

  • Johan Harlaar says:

    You think Floyd and Julius will have much together anytime soon. It is a known phenomenon that if the rot comes from the inside it is just a matter of time before the tree collapses…
    In Dutch there is a saying ” Van Buiten Bont, Van Binnen Stront” –
    Beautiful on the outside, Sh#t on the inside…

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    A great article that gives me hope that CR is, at last, doing the right thing. Well done DM journos for your persistence against all odds. It will be interesting to see if the EFF survives this…and if the word of these shameful acts gets out to the masses who have invested their hopes and dreams in these dishonest reprehensible humans.

  • Ben Pieters says:

    I’ve never doubted that the Malema-Floyd buddies had their hand deep in the till at VBS. Absolute slimeballs. Too much to think that they would come clean…. Legal actions should now follow swiftly.

  • Gerhard Pretorius says:

    So cash in the pocket is much more important than ideology, né Jules. You are no leader, boet; rather an agent. And a false one, nogal.

  • Salatiso Mdeni says:

    Excellent journalism by Pauli van Wyk, thank you DM, now we wait for the prosecutions that may never come.

  • Chris 123 says:

    Malema is a cross between Trump and Mugabe spouting the same vile BS.

  • Ian McGill says:

    One thing is obvious . Malema has a lot of “friends” in the NPA and SAPS. How else has he been able to remain so teflon,so far?

  • Laurence Erasmus says:

    DM and Pauli are strategic national assets! But why has the NPA not yet charged Brian who way back in 2020 admitted to this crime?

  • Bruce Morrison says:

    Please everyone contact all the media outlets you can and ask them to carry this story.

  • Cally Heal says:

    Thankyou. Excellent article.
    One question: if his admission was protected by a confidentiality clause that his lawyers insisted on will that not mean that the admission won’t be admissable in court?

    • Jane Crankshaw says:

      Good question! Also shows how suspicious we are that one cannot expect Justice….only the law! Will be interesting to see how this turns out.

  • Lorinda Winter says:

    Well said and thank you to the hard-working, fearless journalists who exposed them.

  • Chris Krause says:

    Hats off to Van Wyk, Myburgh and many others courageous souls at DM. All helping to shift the odds back in favour of good.

  • Charles Parr says:

    The pertinent points have been made below but I must add my congratulations to DM, Pauli and her team for pursuing this and especially for not bowing to the EFFs intimidation. Now if the NPA can act expeditiously and get these people into orange uniforms for a long stretch then the voter will slowly start getting the message.

  • Peter Worman says:

    He us the ultimate fake! Presenting himself as a Robin Hood type superhero but in reality just a tacky and greedy sycophant who would struggle to get a job as junior clerk in the private sector yet as a political prostitute he had made his first million before he even turned 30. Politics Pays and if it’s criminal who cares.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    If you can’t get a decent job become politician, point in case,Floyd and Julius ,loved the comment political prostitutes.If education was more of a priority for the goverment, these criminal opportunists would never have made it to a platform to spew there drivel.

  • Nigel Ipp says:

    Honoured and humbled by the courage and discernment of Pauli van Wyk, Stephen Grootes and the Daily Maverick’s insightful and perceptive seekers of truth and facts in the face of threats of violence and aggression. Thank you for your vigilance and journalism of integrity.


    They actually belong in the ANC.

  • Chris Hattingh says:

    Never be surprised when the ‘vanguards of the socialist/communist’ revolution sell out, and more so don’t be surprised when they use threats of violence, and then actually follow through. This has always been the case, and will continue to be so into the future.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Brilliant & Brave work DM! Salute

  • Chris Reed says:

    Another brilliantly written, fully researched article. Thank you DM for all you do for our country. I hope the tide is turning, and journalism like this leads the way. It seems the main media outlets are now reporting on DM articles, and interviewing DM journalists, so the message is gradually getting out.

  • Armin Schrocker says:

    a very well written summary of the exposed and involved, low level thieves they really are. Hopefully this message perculates also to the affected population, whose money has been stolen to finance the champagne high life of these so called politicians. A terrible thing.

  • John Bestwick says:

    Hilarious but serious. Zumavirus infected morons at play.

  • Jacki McInnes says:

    Well done to Pauli van Wyk and the whole DM team. It seems that there’s the vaguest hint of a turn in the tide, and this could never have happened without Scopio, Amabungane and a Pres who seems to care about cleaning up the foul rot of the past 27 years of ANC misrule.

  • Robert Mitchell says:

    Had I, a white man who pays taxes, stolen any money from VBS, I feel sure I would be arrested without delay!
    So when does that evil self serving idiot get arrested?

    • Jane Crankshaw says:

      Racism is alive and well in our Rainbow nation – on both sides! Let’s just accept that it happens but come together as one when we have to decide how and who runs this country going forward. Integrity, honesty and morality don’t have a colour.

    • Peter Dexter says:

      Another article I read stated that the confidentiality clause applied to the lawyers and parties to the agreement. (In an attempt to prevent precisely this type of publicity) Now that the agreement has been lodged as court papers it is in the public domain. The confidentiality still applies to those parties but not to the state or any organization not party to the agreement.

  • Donal Slemon says:

    This kind of journalism is why I subscribe. What I suspect many don’t understand is why the people with savings stolen by these thieves and fraudsters would continue to vote for them. Is it possibly because they either don’t fundamentally see anything wrong with the ‘leader’ enriching himself..? Or that they find it hard to join the dots?

  • Nick Griffon says:

    Brilliant work Pauli.
    Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu are nothing but criminal thugs. This just confirms what everybody already knew.

    Now let’s hope the NPA and the Hawks are not intimidated and can help these 2 exchange their red overalls for orange ones.

    • Peter Dexter says:

      To save money the state can just give them each a little bottle of Bleach, and they can lighten the colour of their overalls as they go in.

  • Brian Cotter says:

    The NPA have already started prosecuting VBS fraudsters and this admission of guilt and payback by this “secret” admission was obviously obtained by the NPA. Shouldn’t the NPA then give us an update and advise when next batch of prosecutions are expected. This is of extreme interest to the whole country especially now that elections will be held shortly.

  • Peter Dexter says:

    Beautiful- Karma? The last resort, racist tactic regarding, writing about white people’s crimes is a beaut. The VBS financial director Philip Truter, is white, has been written about in DM, and as far as I am aware, was the first VBS conviction. Personally I don’t believe race should ever be a factor in anything (but since the EFF always raise it) it would appear that in the VBS case the prejudice has been against the white person /people involved, even though they may be in a minority. I assume criminal charges will follow shortly? Living in hope.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    Viva Pauli van Wyk! National hero!

  • Gerrie Pretorius Pretorius says:

    Well done Pauli and the rest of the DM team. Now we wait for the very slow turning wheels of justice (and maybe SARS) to catch up with these worthless loathsome sexist racist thieves.

  • Frank van der Velde says:


  • Robert Morgan says:

    Ideally every one of the bank’s customers who have been defrauded should be represented collectively by a law firm in a class action lawsuit against these miserable turds. I wonder if there is not a firm who would do the right thing and offer a pro bono service to these aggrieved people. That would be a step in the right direction.

  • Stef Viljoen Viljoen says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this one. Not sure it is going to reach the right audience but lets hope.

  • Rowan G says:

    Well done to all involved, but as many have mirrored here, we need to get this important message to the average people that support Malema and his corrupt lot. Sadly their voters probably don’t read the Daily Maverick.

  • Tim Price says:

    Brilliant. The best bare faced liars this side of Dubai.

  • John Strydom says:

    So now, who has “tendencies”?

  • Jane Retief says:

    Chilling. Totally aligned with the RET leg of the ANC. Mpofu defence of the PP also part of the process to prevent any institution from finding guilt against them.

  • John Coombes says:

    Evil will eventually consume itself; it has nowhere else to go in the end.

  • Coen Gous says:

    As by read the comments by so many furious South Africans to this incredible article (must be a record), I did some google on EFF, and discovered that the EFF will hold a press conference tomorrow, to which all members of the press are invited. I guess that excludes DM. Thx goodness Pauli won’t have to sit on the floor again as his lordship (of none) Julius Malema ridicule her in front of all and on national television. Well, I was hoping that the press won’t bother, but off course they will stand in queue. And the TV news channels will, as usual, drop all other news so they too can catch his lordship (of none) speaking trash. Luckily for me, Eskom will cut my power again as we are now on stage 4 load shedding

  • C. M. says:

    Great work! I’m proud to be a subscriber!

  • Ian Wylde Wylde says:

    Well done all at DM !

  • Henning Swanepoel says:

    Great article and sober synopsis…those thugs deserve nothing but jail…
    and let’s not get confused here, they are REAL thugs who will threaten anyone who calls them out…start sweating boys…

  • Hughie Gilmour says:

    Thanks, DM, for another brilliant report that spells out the truth. Keep it up.

  • Helen Swingler says:

    Watch your back, Brian.

  • Sandra Goldberg says:

    Well done Pauli- I applaud your wonderful courage and tenacity! This story needs to be aired on all local radio stations and translated into a dozen different languages so that those who vote for the EFF know who they are voting for!

  • Charl Taljaardt says:

    What a pleasure to read such a well written piece. The question however remains; being the poorest of the poor, will the EFF’s electorate be swayed by the facts of this investigation or will they continue their support of the thugs that lead the party in the hope that they do after all look after their interests?

  • Frik De Villiers says:

    The truth has always been that they are just a splinter of the corrupt ANC crime syndicate block.

  • Khutso Nkadimeng says:

    The poetry at the end, my lord, he says: “they could have been somebody’s, they could have been contenders…now they are standing in front of you … ask you to love them..” magical, never mind the very unpoetic matters the article is articulating. This ballsy journalism. This is very good writing. Thank you

  • Mark Schaufelbuehl says:

    Nice….well done DM and Pauli!!!

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Juju – Pay back the money! Pay back the money! Pay back the money!

    Then go directly to jail. Do not pass Go.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.8% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.2% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.2% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.2%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options