EFF president Julius Malema (right) and his deputy Floyd Shivambu briefing media at party headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: Getrude Makhafola / ANA

Johannesburg - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has thrown its weight behind its deputy president Floyd Shivambu, whose brother, Brian, allegedly received R16 million from the collapsed VBS Mutual Bank.

''The deputy president has taken the EFF leadership into his confidence and we have no reason to not believe him. We note that several persons mentioned in the [VBS] report are challenging it, any pronouncement on the validity of the report is premature,'' party leader Julius Malema told reporters in Johannesburg.

Neither Shivambu nor the EFF was mentioned in the report, he added.

Media reports alleged that R10 million of the R16 million VBS cash was directed to Brian's brother Floyd, while the EFF benefited to the tune of R1.3 million.  The brothers have separately denied receiving cash emanating from the bank.

When asked why the EFF was taking its deputy president's word and not investigating him, Malema said there was no basis to investigate.

''Investigation based on what?...give us something [to work with]. In the absence of prima facie evidence, there cannot be such. And I am not afraid of Floyd...if Floyd stole money from the poor, I will face him.''

Malema said Brian Shivambu is an EFF member and one of his duties for the party was to sell EFF merchandise.  

An independent report commissioned by the SA Reserve Bank to probe the collapse of the mutual bank found that there was "wide-scale looting and pillaging of the monies placed on deposit at VBS". The monies were clients' life savings and deposits, including millions of rands deposited by municipalities. 

The report, titled "The Great Bank Heist" showed that at least 50 people "gratuitously" received nearly R2 billion from the bank over a three-year period starting in March 2015.

* Read more on the #VBSBankHeist here.

African News Agency (ANA)