FirstRand boss’ links to VBS 

Matodzi ‘boasted’ about his safari trips with Ferreira

Former Vele Investment and VBS chairman Tshifhiwa Matodzi, who is facing corruption, fraud and money-laundering charges for his role in the collapse of VBS Bank, has links to Stellenbosch-based business tycoon Gerrit Thomas (GT) Ferreira.

Ferreira is one of the founders of FirstRand, which owns FNB, one of South Africa’s biggest banks.

Sunday World can today reveal that Matodzi, who was fingered in Advocate Terry Motau’s report as the mastermind behind the mutual bank’s R2-billion theft, and Ferreira, a wellknown investor in the financial services sector, share both a business and a purported personal relationship.

It is a relationship that Matodzi, according to those close to him, has boasted about, but one that Ferreira has disputed.

The two, as evidenced by several pictures that emerged this week, have on at least one occasion spent a weekend together in Stellenbosch at Ferreira’s farm.

The two have also reportedly shared a ride in Ferreira’s private jet, flying to the Karoo, where the FirstRand founder has another farm.

But those close to the former Vele and VBS owner said they were puzzled there wasn’t a single mention of Ferreira’s links to VBS in Motau’s report despite that the Stellenbosch-based business tycoon, believed to be worth at least $500-million, had a close interest in the affairs of the bank.

Private jets and cars taken at GT Ferreira farm in the Karoo, VBS scandal, PICTURES: SUPPLIED

Two sources, one Matodzi’s friend and another a former executive of the VBS bank, confirmed that Matodzi and Ferreira were close and had business dealings, some of which were not on paper.

Sunday World understands that Ferreira owns shares in Anglo Africa Finance, a subsidiary of Insure Group — the same company in which Vele later acquired a 51% shareholding for R300-million with money later found to have been stolen from VBS.

Matodzi’s friend, who was privy to the two’s relationship, also confirmed that Ferreira’s close relationship with the VBS chairman grew to such an extent that he personally invited Matodzi to dinner in Stellenbosch, where they allegedly discussed a number of business matters, including the role Vele investments intended to play in banking.

These details were also supported by a former VBS executive, who said that Matodzi, upon his return from the Stellenbosch meeting, told them that Ferreira had offered to mentor him and the VBS team as they were still new in the financial services sector.

“They became friends from there, and we never heard the last about this friendship. Matodzi always boasted to us that he was friends with GT Ferreira,” said the former executive.

Tshifhiwa Matodzi at Ferreira’s farm in the Karoo. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

According to the pictures seen by Sunday World, dated October 17 2017, Ferreira and Matodzi dined and drank together in what appears like a farm.

These pictures were also confirmed by a former executive, who said Matodzi had told them about the trip and that he had left on a Friday for Stellenbosch and came back on Sunday.

“He told us that immediately after he landed, he was picked up and taken to Ferreira’s farm in Stellenbosch. Thereafter they took Ferreira’s private jet and flew to the Karoo, to one of Ferreira’s other farms,” said the executive.

The pictures seen by Sunday World confirm these details. In one of them, Matodzi is seen driving a huge six-wheeler special production Mercedes-Benz bakkie and in another, he is posing next to the same bakkie and a blue coloured private jet.

In another picture, Matodzi and Ferreira can be seen holding what looks like wine glasses in an apparent toast.

Ferreira confirmed that he had met with Matodzi, but he claimed that he met him once in his office for about 30 minutes.

Tshifhiwa Matodzi at Ferreira’s farm in the Karoo. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

He denied that he had offered to be Matodzi’s mentor, saying that it did not appear as if Matodzi needed one. He also denied he had ever been to the Karoo with Matodzi.

“I have never been on a farm in the Karoo with Mr Matodzi, neither did I have drinks with him and have never had photos taken with him, so you are obviously speaking to the wrong person,” said Ferreira.

However, when he was sent the pictures, Ferreira made an about-turn and conceded that it was indeed himself and Matodzi in one of the pictures taken in the Karoo.

“As I have said before, I have met Mr Matodzi and yes, it is me in the first picture, however, it is not my car, it is not my farm and it is not me in the other pictures. I have never met with Mr Matodzi on any farm in South Africa,” he said.


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