VBS chickens come home to roost: Pink-faced Floyd and not-so-Grand Azania couldn’t pay back the money to SARS

VBS chickens come home to roost: Pink-faced Floyd and not-so-Grand Azania couldn’t pay back the money to SARS
Illustrative image | Sources: EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu. (Photo: Gallo Images / Misha Jordaan) | Brian Shivambu. (Photo: Twitter) | VBS Mutual Bank customers in long queues outside the bank. (Photo: Antonio Muchave / Sowetan) | Nadine Hutton / Bloomberg via Getty Images) | Gallo Images / Sharon Seretlo) | Adobe Stock)

EFF Deputy President Floyd Shivambu’s front company Grand Azania (Pty) Ltd – stuffed with VBS millions and more money from business benefactors – was ordered provisionally wound up because it couldn’t pay its R11,5-million dues to SARS. 

SARS’s Criminal and Illicit Economic Activities division has succeeded in closing down one of Floyd Shivambu’s front companies. In a High Court of Pretoria ruling on Friday, 10 March 2023, Judge Ronel Tolmay ordered that if anyone involved with Grand Azania (Pty) Ltd cannot motivate by 24 April why the company should not be wound up, the court order will become permanent.

Scorpio has further proved that the bank card linked to Grand Azania followed Floyd around southern Africa and paid for his 1 January 2017 birthday celebrations at the Royal Livingstone Hotel in Zambia. 

The Chronicles of Grand Azania, Part Two: Floyd Shivambu’s time of spending dangerously

An efficient SARS can become an Achilles heel for Shivambu. He personally received R3,6-million in stolen money emanating from VBS Mutual Bank into his FNB Private Wealth bank account, SARS showed the court when it attached six months’ worth of Shivambu’s bank statements to its liquidation application. SARS became the first – and to this day the only – state entity to claim some justice from the EFF roleplayers for their part in fleecing VBS Mutual Bank.

In its investigation, Scorpio proved that between 2018 and 2021 Shivambu was the beneficial owner of Grand Azania and that his brother Brian, the official owner and sole director of the company, was a mere front. This means Floyd benefited to a greater extent than just the cash dumped into his account, but actually used the money in Grand Azania too.

Because Brian is the legal owner of Grand Azania, SARS argued that he “defrauded” VBS out of R16-million, “committed a criminal offence” and “intentional tax evasion” by not declaring this as income tax and VAT and acted in an “obstructive” manner when contacted by SARS auditors and investigators. 

VBS scandal: SARS demands R28.2m from Brian Shivambu, displays clear connection to Floyd

The story here is that SARS had applied for the liquidation of Grand Azania in July 2021 because the company could not pay its R11,5-million tax debt to SARS. Being dismissive of SARS earned Brian an understatement penalty of 200%. 

In its answering affidavit before court, dated 7 December 2021, Grand Azania argued SARS’s estimates were unreasonable and flawed.

SARS was dismissive of this argument, telling the court that through a series of illicit schemes, Grand Azania received a “gratuitous payment of R6,4-million from VBS bank”. 

The revenue service relied on advocate Terry Motau and Werksmans’ 2018 forensic report which found Brian Shivambu received “gratuitous payments from VBS bank to the amount of R16,148,569”. At the time Brian promised and threatened to review the Motau report, but never did. 

Grand Azania couldn’t pay up because all the money from VBS (and other benefactors) was splurged on Floyd’s cars, living arrangements, property expenses, clothes, groceries, his first wedding, children’s clothes and the EFF, Scorpio showed.

Read on Daily Maverick:

The Chronicles of Grand Azania, Part One: How a slush fund paid for Floyd Shivambu’s wedding

The company received no further funds either after Scorpio outed its role as a Shivambu front. That may be because benefactors closed their hands to Shivambu. That however seems unlikely, especially in the current political climate and the 2024 elections looming. 

Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations

Scorpio has also been informed by various sources that Shivambu and EFF President Julius Malema now tend to hide their hand in business operations and prefer cash in tog bags in the boots of expensive cars. 

So it happened that Grand Azania became the pawn offered to SARS’s queen. The move however obliterated Shivambu’s protection. 

The fight can be expected to be taken elsewhere – most probably the Hawks and NPA, who have made no moves to bring justice to Shivambu and Malema. 

Brian’s second company, Sgameka (Pty) Ltd was the original receiver of the R16-million VBS funds. SARS’s Criminal and Illicit Economic Activities division also slapped this company with a R16,7-million tax bill and applied for it to be wound up. Sgameka received no income apart from the illicit VBS money, and disbursed money to Grand Azania, Mahuna Investments, which is Malema’s front, and R1,3-million to the EFF. 

No judgment was made in this case yet. 

The crimes committed at VBS are becoming costly to the brothers Shivambu and Malema. In 2021, Brian had to sign a R4,55-million “acknowledgement of debt” in favour of Vele Investments. 

Brian (or rather, his brother’s connections) had to pay back the money. Worse, Brian had to acknowledge that “there is no underlying basis for the payment of R4,5-million…” – meaning the money was illicit. He tried to hide the fact with a secrecy clause. 

Apart from serious reputational damage, the VBS saga is becoming expensive to the EFF clan. They now have to dish out far more than what they illicitly received to pay for their crimes. 

But where are the Hawks and the NPA? DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Steven Burnett says:

    Pay back the money?

  • Confucious Says says:

    Treat him like you’d trat any other citizen for stealing! Put this trash in jail! I just want to see that stupid grin firmly wiped eff its face!

  • Stuart Woodhead says:

    So where is the criminal charge? Will this ever happen? Unlikely. What about SARS going after the directors personal assets? More than a billion Rand stolen from the poorest of the poor yet nothing ever happens to these criminals.

  • Michael Ash says:

    please, please follow this up with a prosecution.

  • Rowan G says:

    Where are the Hawks and the NPA indeed.

    They appear like Usain Bolt to deal with corruption in Cape Town but cannot be found anywhere near VBS and its thieves.

  • Fernando Moreira says:

    ARRESTS ????

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    Hawks, NPA? Who are they?

  • David Burger says:

    Chuck them in jail

  • William Kelly says:

    Hawks? NPA? MIA!
    Not sure how I feel about SARS to be honest. I’d have more conviction in their motives if they did the same to Gweezy et al. Still I suppose this is a (selective) start and will set precedent for the others to follow in due course.

  • brett marshall says:

    Exactly the right question!

  • Mpumi Bikitsha says:

    Those chickens have been coming home to roost for the longest time. They probably took a wrong turn. We’re tired of waiting.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    WHY aren’t these thieves arrested and their assets seized????? WHY the special treatment when this is precisely what happens to Joe Citizen??? WHERE is the NPA, Hawks, ASU and SIU in all this???

  • Anthony Burman says:

    Great headline metaphors.

  • Robert Pegg says:

    Why are people still voting for these people in red overalls that look like garbage collectors ?

  • Hilary Morris says:

    Why is the EFF and its corrupt bunch of thugs, bullies and thieves apparently immune? Why has there been no action? All the president’s talk about rooting out corruption (in his own party), is just meaningless waffle. How much worse do we have to get before action is taken? We are helpless witnesses to the destruction of our beautiful country.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    They don’t touch Malema ,because he is the ANC s prostitute,creating smokes screens.

  • Niel van Eeden says:

    Indeed, where are the Hawks and the NPA? I am starting to wonder if Lt General Godfrey Lebeya and Adv Shamila Bathohi are actually the right persons for these jobs! It would also be interesting to find out where the reports from the Zondo commission into state capture are lying and gathering dust at the moment!

  • Dee Bee says:

    If not the NPA, what about private prosecution and slam the door on them forever? It would actually be brilliant if they were served with papers whilst doing their cowardly ‘national shutdown’

  • Richard Bryant says:

    It’s worth thinking about the big picture here. Like what would most decent people do if they found a wallet stuffed full of money but you had a good chance to identify the owner and return it.

    Now on the other hand, you have people like those leading the EFF who get R15m in their bank account knowing where the money came from and who the true owners were. They did nothing to earn it. And they go out and blow it on expensive cars, bling and parties.

    You see, these people are not like you or me. Not decent. They belong in jail. They don’t deserve democracy. But they revel in it and exploit it. They trod on people and feel nothing about it. They lead the EFF. Don’t be fooled by their claim to political importance. Their only support are the desperate, the angry and those who are like them. 10%.

    The fact that they have not been arrested is a total indictment on the NPA and the facade Ramaphosa has created that they will put the corrupt in jail. No, he is scared they will actually do their jobs. Otherwise he would have recreated the Scorpions or a truly independent authority to deal with this scourge.

    Until then, we need to be very clear what these people are. Criminals. Gangsters. Politicians.

  • Dudleylong31 says:

    So why haven’t these brothers been charged and prosecuted yet

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    Makes sense of Monday, though. If they’re arrested, it’s because they are seizing their democratic right to protest and not because they steal from the poverty-stricken to buy expensive whisky. Viva, EFF, Viva

  • Elmarie Dennis says:

    Gucci and parties what a absolute shameful disgrace i wont even show my face in public. With pride comes disgrace. Locusts.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    That is good news – to an extent. However, that b…. Floyd is still a member of parliament and a free man.

  • Jeremy Stephenson says:

    Yes, where are the Hawks and the NPA? The charge sheet in the central VBS trial names some VERY interesting characters, including Phalaphala Avhashoni Ramikosi, who was SAPS CFO, and Danny Msiza, who was the ANC Provincial Treasurer in Limpopo. But this case appears to have gone ominously quiet, like so many others that feature senior ANC deployees.

  • Gerrit Marais says:

    My only hope is on Karma.

  • Dennis Theron says:

    Brilliant article Pauli your dilingence in your research is commendable. The EFF are a huge threat to the stability of the country and their attempts to destabilize SA through violence and racial polarization is dangerous and will counter any progress with desperately needed social cohesion so thank you for exposing them for their criminality.

    I suggest you put the same effort into investigating why the police, NPA and Hawks fail to take any action for their complicity with the VBS looting. They have had more than enough time and their silence is deafening. Is this because they are plain scared of tackling gangsters because of possible death threats or is it because of political pressure that seems to apply to all senior politicians whose criminality has been proved and well documented but without consequence.
    Either way our law enforcement is failing us dismally

    I reiterate that inaction on the part of law enforcement which allows the politically connected to continue with impunity, and is one of the many reasons why frustrated skilled South Africans are emigrating, needs to be investigated and exposed as as matter of urgency (and almost duty) to our beautiful country. Only the hard working media are capable of this. Pauli, I say this is your baby.

  • nickha says:

    And he still walks around outside of jail? He so loves to accuse others of wrongdoing. NPA + Hawks, really, what are you doing? We are watching.

  • Glenn Varrie says:

    Are the Hawks and the NPA gutless or politically compromised ?

  • robdgem says:

    So the company was closed, he will probably create a new company to achieve the same corruption, where is the real justice?

  • Richard Baker says:

    We now all know that the Hawks and NPA are not up to the task-and notwithstanding the recent praise singing for SARS and Kieswetter recently about collecting (or was it just finding people liable to pay?) unpaid taxes, what has this action and winding up of Grand Azania actually achieved? No monies have been recovered and the individuals concerned are still walking free with no changes to their in-our-face extravagant life-styles. The VBS trail has gone dead and all those perpetrators and connected persons dissipated their ill gotten gains long ago. Are there not still unresolved tax cases against Malema who is prowling the streets of SA with impunity. SARS has statutory rights of seizure and pre-emptive reverse onus on the miscreant to prove innocence yet-in the public domain-I do not know of one corruption tax case that has been prosecuted in the tax court. Seizures have been challenged /overturned and assets not liquidated as monies to be recovered. Importantly no one is serving jail -time. SARS/Mr. Keiswetter-please prosecute at least one high -profile case instead of having them laugh in our (taxpayers) faces-give us some hope that you are tackling these.

  • Ivan van Heerden says:

    The Hawks and the NPA are nowhere because the ANC doesn’t want the leaders of its militant wing arrested. They are useful idiots to the gangsters in charge of the state bringing with them as they do a 10% block of disaffected voters. The very thing the ANC needs to cling to power next year.
    The ANC is content for these SARS judgements to limit the financial wealth of Fat Floyd and JUJU bean but arrests? Don’t be dreaming Wena

    • Christopher Campbell says:

      Exactly. Plus they are all scared that if someone is caught, they might squeal – and it looks like that is the only hope to bring the whole lot down.

  • Lisbeth Scalabrini says:

    Where is the NPA?

  • Lisbeth Scalabrini says:

    Is the NPA left understaffed and inefficient deliberately? OR is it part of the ANC game to undermine the country?

  • Rod H MacLeod says:

    What we need to find is one of the VBS Bank personal depositors, staff, creditors or shareholders who has/have suffered as a consequence of this crime to come forward, and then for as many of us as possible to crowd fund this individual to obtain a nolle prosequi from the NPA followed by a private prosecution in terms of the provisions of the Criminal Procedures Act.

  • psdayah4 says:

    If the NPA and Hawks do not have resources they have at their disposal all the investigations carried out by SARS to kickstart prosecution.

  • Jennifer D says:

    How on earth do these criminals continue to get away with it? I find it appalling that there are no consequences to criminal offences – we need to stand up against crime. No wonder he visited Zuma – good way to find out how to steal and stay out of gaol. The EFF are as criminal as the ANC and a lot more volatile!

  • Abel Mngadi says:

    Seems these EFF mafias are untouchable. Scary that they will be joining hands with the ruling party to finish off what’s left of the country.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    I really can’t understand why, with all this evidence, these people haven’t been convicted. How can a thief like Julius Malema run around threatening to bring a country to its knees ( because he has rights!!! ) when he is nothing better than a little racist thief – and not even a good one because he’s been found out! It beggars belief!

  • Peter Worman says:

    The people must eat and sadly many of their followers see nothing wrong with theft so long as they benefit

  • William Dryden says:

    They have to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and televise the sentence handed down to them both. The NPA should stop dilly dallying and put out an arrest warrant for them both.

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.

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.

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