EFF leader Julius Malema and his deputy Floyd Shivambu in Parliament. Picture: Nic Bothma/EPA/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - EFF leader Julius Malema says the party stands by its deputy president Floyd Shivambu amid allegations that he pocketed funds illegally paid from the Venda Building Society (VBS). 

Malema said Shivambu had taken the leadership of the party into his confidence on the VBS matter and they had no reason not to believe him. 

“The deputy president of the EFF Floyd Shivambu has taken the EFF leadership into confidence in relation to VBS media claims and we have no reason to doubt him,” said Malema. 

The VBS report was released on Wednesday and detailed how R1.89 billion from the bank was illegally received by 53 people between 2015 and 2018. 

Various politically connected individuals have been listed as benefactors of the illegal payments which left thousands of the bank's customers destitute a few months ago.

Brian Shivambu, Floyd's younger brother, is alleged to have received R16 million from VBS. The Daily Maverick reported that the EFF had received R1.3 million of the funds while Floyd Shivambu received R10 million of those funds. 

Malema said there was a “witch-hunt” to label all those that have been accused as guilty. 

The EFF leader said Floyd Shivambu had shown the party his financial statements as proof that he had no illegal financial transactions from VBS. 

The only exchanges between Brian and his older brother were clean money exchanges, Malema said.

“We reject the witch-hunt and mob justice that seeks to declare people guilty through courts of public opinion. The law must take its course and all who are implicated must fully cooperate with law enforcement institutions,” said Malema. 

The EFF has been strongly campaigning for the bank to be saved. Malema said like African Bank, VBS should be saved as well. 

“VBS Mutual Bank was founded on the deposits of humble rural self-help financial associations like stokvels and burial societies. The corruption and maladministration thereof saw many of the villagers unable to even bury their dead,” said Malema. 

“We, therefore, reiterate that all those who have been found to have benefitted illegally from the bank’s collapse must be criminally prosecuted.”

* Read more on the #VBSBankHeist here.