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Nene: ‘Shivambu tried to influence VBS curatorship decision’

Former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene says he got an SMS from EFF's Floyd Shivambu as Treasury was deciding on the bank’s curatorship.

FILE: A video screengrab shows Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene giving testimony at the state capture commission of inquiry on 3 October 2018. Picture: SABC Digital News/youtube.com.

JOHANNESBURG - Former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has told the state capture commission that Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) deputy president Floyd Shivambu tried to influence his decision to place VBS Mutual Bank under curatorship.

Nene, who appeared before the inquiry to conclude his testimony on Thursday, talked about an SMS he received from Shivambu as Treasury was deciding on the bank’s curatorship.

VBS was eventually liquidated after the Reserve Bank’s investigation found that almost R2 billion had been looted from the financial institution by its executives and politicians.

The probe also found that Shivambu’s brother, Brian, received R16 million in gratuitous payments, with the Daily Maverick reporting that R10 million of that amount flowed into the EFF deputy president’s account.

Nene read out the surprise SMS he received from Shivambu in 2018 before VBS was placed under curatorship.

“It said: ‘Greetings minister, it looks like VBS will be placed under curatorship, mainly, due to something that National Treasury had not clarified in terms of accounts of municipalities, which were withdrawn due to National Treasury’s instruction. It becomes sad when a black-owned bank gets to be placed under curatorship because of things that could be managed differently. Please assist because it looks like the whole thing will need your approval.’”

So why did Shibambu send Nene this SMS?

“This was meant to influence my decision,” Nene said.

‘EFF VICIOUSLY ATTACKED ME’

Nene has told the state capture commission that the EFF viciously attacked him because he stepped on the party’s toes or those of their associates during his tenure.

He said that it was former South African Revenue Service (Sars) boss Tom Moyane who stopped a revenue service investigation against cigarette manufacturer Adriano Mazzotti.

In 2018, the EFF accused Nene of being “corrupt as hell”.

Nene tried to explain to the state capture commission the possible motive behind the EFF’s attacks on him.

“In the course of doing our work, we might have trampled on people’s toes.”

He also suggested the names Moyane and Mazzotti could also explain the attacks.

“A gentleman by the name of Adriano Mazzotti was under investigation by Sars and it’s now known and admitted by [Julius] Malema that he [Mazzotti] had funded and supported the EFF. The investigation into this particular gentleman [Mazzotti] was stopped when Moyane became the commissioner of Sars. It’s also known that the EFF has vigorously defended Mr Moyane,” said Nene.

In December 2018, Eyewitness News revealed that Malema’s wife and children lived in a house located in a high-security Hyde Park estate, which is owned by Mazzotti.

Mazzotti also donated R200,000 to the EFF in 2013.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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