Kaunda Selisho
Lifestyle Journalist
3 minute read
17 Sep 2021
9:16 am

‘Black wealth is always questioned’: Mandla Lamba responds to the FSCA

Kaunda Selisho

The FSCA alleges that Mandla Lamba is conducting unregistered business and offering shares to members of the public.

Somizi Mhlongo-Motaung has been doing work for electric-vehicle company, Agilitee, including hosting live Instagram streams with the company's founder Mandla Lamba. Picture: Instagram

Businessman and ex-convict Mandla Lamba has issued a statement laying out the business ventures that he is currently involved in, clarifying their operations in response to a recent statement by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).

In their statement titled FSCA issues public warning against Mandla Lamba, dated 9 September, the regulatory body warned the public “to act with caution when doing any financial services business with an individual named Mandla Lamba”.

This is after the FSCA received information that Lamba was conducting unregistered business and offering shares to members of the public on social media and other broadcasting platforms, promising them unrealistic returns. 

On 15 September, Lamba released a written statement in which he “noted, with great concern”, the FSCA’s statement. 

He further claimed that the statement “impugned” his name. 

“The statement alludes that I, in my personal [capacity], along with four of the companies that are affiliated to myself, are providing financial advisory services, which is incontrovertibly untrue.”

“I do not provide any financial advice nor do any of the companies that I am affiliated to.”

He made reference to the country’s “complicated racialised past that persists in the present” and claimed that black talent is “viewed through the lenses of untransformed institutions” and “remains suspicious”.

According to the businessman, “black businesses are often treated as criminal enterprises and black wealth remains questionable, while white people and white-owned organisations, especially legacy organisations, do not experience such level of pernicious scrutiny and persecution despite countless incontrovertible evidence of their impropriety.”

He claims that black wealth exists under a continuous state of questioning, persecution and impugning as a result.

“I believe that I am yet another black entrepreneur experiencing the wrath of this social and political state of affairs.”

Lamba says he is in talks with his legal team and is considering his options for recourse and relief.

ALSO READ: Somizi linked to ‘fake billionaire’ through new deal

He then went on to list his companies and what they do.

The first is Verityhurst Academy, which “trains people on how to trade shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange [JSE]”.

Lamba insists that Verityhurst Academy does not trade shares on behalf of anyone and has trained “23,500 candidates across the continent”.

“All candidates enrolled in our programme trade shares at their own accord through their own brokers and banks, none of which I am affiliated to, directly or indirectly.”

The second is Mandla Lamba Billionaires Club (MLBC), which he defines as a non-profit organisation that doesn’t sell any products to its members or to the public.

“It is, in effect, a private club through which those who are interested in, can sign up subject to a membership fee. This much has been confirmed by the office of the Ombud for Financial Services Providers following a rigorous investigation by the FAIS Ombudsman.”

The third (and fourth?) is Verityhurst/Verityhurst Capital, which Lamba claims the FSCA also impugned. 

“While Verityhurst Capital is a registered enterprise, it has, to date, not performed any business. It is telling that the FSCA would impugn a business that is not operational,” asserted Lamba. 

He described Verityhurst as a private equity firm that invests in listed companies on the JSE. 

“The firm invests on balance sheet, which means it doesn’t take third-party capital as it invests its own capital. The various transactions that Verityhurst is involved in can easily be researched or obtained from the JSE regulators as all our transactions are done in accordance with the regulations of the JSE.”

And lastly, he explained Agilitee – a business that Somizi Mhlongo and numerous other influencers have championed. 

Agilitee is described an electric-vehicle manufacturer which Lamba claims to have founded. 

“I recently stepped down as the chief executive officer of Agilitee South Africa. The new CEO is a perfectly capable young black woman who I believe will lead the organisation well.”