JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa’s radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party on Thursday denied receiving corrupt funds after the brother of its deputy leader was accused in a central bank investigation of benefiting from fraud at a local bank.
A report commissioned by the central bank and published on Wednesday found at least 1.9 billion rand ($130 million) had been siphoned illegally from VBS, a failed local bank that bailed out former president Jacob Zuma after a corruption scandal.
One of the beneficiaries was Brian Shivambu, who received 16 million rand of “looted” funds from VBS, the report said. Reuters could not reach Brian Shivambu for comment.
Brian Shivambu is the younger brother of EFF Deputy President Floyd Shivambu, the party’s chairman Dali Mpofu told television station ENCA.
Mpofu denied the central bank investigation implicated anyone in the party.
“There is no way the EFF got money from VBS. That I can say categorically,” Mpofu said.
The Daily Maverick, an online news site, reported on Thursday that Floyd Shivambu and the EFF had received money from VBS via Brian Shivambu’s company, citing sources.
Floyd Shivambu did not respond to an email requesting comment.
Earlier Mpofu tweeted that allegations against Floyd Shivambu were an example of “mob justice”.
“In the ignorant Republic of The Mob you can be charged for the deeds of your relatives,” one tweet said.
The EFF, whose members wear red-berets, has won over many poorer black voters disillusioned with the ANC over its failure to deliver on the wealth and land re-distribution promised by Nelson Mandela at the end of apartheid in 1994.
The party won more than six percent of the vote at the 2014 parliamentary election, only a year after it was formed. Polls suggest the EFF could double its share of the vote at next year’s election, mainly at the expense of the ANC.
The EFF, led by expelled former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, has focused much of its energy on attacking senior ANC members for using their positions to corruptly enrich themselves and their families.
Editing by Janet Lawrence