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I'll resign if there's proof we pushed for investment in VBS bank - Malema

The Economic Freedom Fighters leader has credited the EFF’s association with corrupt deals to his political detractors.

FILE: EFF leader Julius Malema at the party's three-day elective conference on 14 December 2019. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema said on Thursday he would resign from public office if any municipality could prove he influenced them to invest money in the now defunct VBS bank.

Malema was engaging with five journalists in what he styled a “public interrogation”.

The political reporters asked him about everything from On-Point Engineering – the company that allegedly did botched tender jobs in Limpopo – to whether he was involved in the demise of VBS.

Malema is a shareholder in On-Point Engineering.

Malema credited the EFF’s association with corrupt deals to his political detractors, saying even if his deputy’s younger brother Brian Shivambu was not “implicated” – they would have found something else to taint the EFF with.

"When they said Malema collapsed Limpopo the intention was dent his image. R50 million tender to collapse a province of R47 billion? The intention is always, which is Pravin's [Gordhan] operation, is discredit your opponents and leave them out there," he said.

He said those who robbed the poor should be arrested – distancing himself from benefiting from the bank as suggested in media reports.

Malema added the EFF had gone through its books to interrogate if it received any donations from VBS and found there was no such evidence.

Although he admitted this process was not undertaken by external auditors – he says the EFF’s finances are already being monitored by Parliament and the independent electoral commission – in line with legislation as it’s the third biggest political party.

Malema also said he was not close to anyone who benefited from VBS Mutual Bank.

He defended his relationship with individuals implicated in the multi-billion-rand saga, maintaining that VBS should not have been placed under curatorship, but rescued as it is a black-owned bank.

Malema said the scandal would lead to the arrest of many: “CFOs, municipal managers, mayors and some politicians in the ANC. I want to tell you now, if there is any municipality that can say, we put money into VBS because Malema said, I will resign all positions of the EFF without any hesitations.”

Meanwhile, the latest suspect to be charged in connection with the VBS scandal has been released on a warning until his next court appearance.

Former CFO at the Merafong Municipality Thys Wienekus has been charged with irregular expenditure under the municipal finance management act for his role in depositing R50 million with the bank.

He's become the latest accused in the scandal after seven former bank executives and directors were charged last week.

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