South Africa

Money matters

Mazzotti: It’s Mrs Malema’s property and she pays rent

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema, Johannesburg, South Africa, 22 February 2014. EPA/KIM LUDBROOK

But growing revelations make clear how the EFF aligns its politics with its money flows.

Carnilinx director Adriano Mazzotti has told Daily Maverick that he rents his Hyde Park property to “Mrs Malema and her family (who) reside in the property which I own together with my partners. Mr. Malema resides in Cape Town. There is an arms-length lease agreement in place which is managed by an independent leasing agent. Mrs Malema leases the property. There is nothing untoward in this arrangement.”

Mazzotti would not say how much Mantwa Malema pays for the property, which is close to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Hyde Park home in the old-money suburb in Johannesburg.

The rental is market-related for a property situated in the area. Mrs Malema pays the rental to an independent leasing agent.”

Rentals in the area range from R10,500 for a basic apartment to well over R50,000 for a cluster home, which Daily Maverick understands the property is part of.

Clear links are being defined between the EFF, its politics and its money, as EWN revealed that the party’s president Julius Malema’s family lives in a mansion belonging to Carnilinx director Mazzotti.

In two instances, it is now clear that the EFF deploys militant political campaigns which have now been linked to its revenue flows. And in a third example, it is becoming clear that the party may be using its powerful status as a kingmaker party to secure municipal revenue flows.

Carnilinx is a cigarette manufacturer and Mazzotti an alleged kingpin in the multibillion-rand smokes smuggling business, according to dozens of reports in the public domain. He is a confessed tax dodger (but is now reportedly compliant) and is landlord and neighbour to the Malemas in Hyde Park.

Mazzotti is also the venture capitalist behind the start-up EFF: Mazzotti paid the fees necessary for the EFF to register as a political party and a different director of the company also paid Malema’s tax fines of a reported R1-million when he was in a spot of bother with SARS. This has not been denied, but Mazzotti’s lawyer Nicqui Galaktiou said her client had been subject to a campaign of defamation.

The reports of gifts from Mazzotti to the EFF have been confirmed, so the question is how this money may influence the EFF’s politics.

Malema and the EFF have in 2018 become the loudest defenders of the SARS regime under former commissioner Tom Moyane, which had allegedly made a sweetheart tax settlement with Mazzotti, according to best-selling author and journalist Jacques Pauw.

The party’s spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has questioned President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to fire Moyane. The party’s chairperson, Dali Mpofu, is the defence advocate for Moyane in a case he has fought all the way to the Constitutional Court; and he attempted a smash-and-burn defence of his client at the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into tax administration at SARS.

Pauw has revealed that Mazzotti signed a 52-page affidavit as part of a settlement with SARS, which had been investigating his business affairs. In it, Mazzotti admits that “in its drive to promote its business, Carnilinx entered into a host of transactions, some of which were lawful and others corrupt and unlawful”.

In the instance of Mazzotti and its support for a captured SARS, the EFF’s political campaign is aligned with the interest of its benefactor.

Daily Maverick and amaBhungane have revealed another way in which the EFF uses its politics to secure a revenue flow.

In a second example of how its political campaigns are linked to its money flows, Pauli van Wyk has revealed how VBS looted funds were routed through family businesses to benefit EFF leaders Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu.

In that instance, and prior to its personal benefits being revealed, the party used its political position to stage a campaign which alleged that the SA Reserve Bank (SARB) was targeting VBS because it was a black-owned mutual bank. As the prudential authority over VBS, the SARB initiated the investigation which revealed looting so severe that the bank is now bust.

The third example is how the EFF may be using its kingmaker status in coalition governments to secure rents. Last week, amaBhungane revealed how a fleet management contract in the City of Johannesburg went to a company called Afrirent which paid R500,000 in two tranches to Mahuna Investments which is owned by Malema’s cousin Matsobane John Phaleng.

The EFF claims that it will win the 2019 election, but a national poll by Ipsos shows that it is still in third position, nationally, and that it will struggle to get more than 10% of the national votes cast.

A second national poll by the Institute for Race Relations suggests the party will double its electoral outcome in 2019 which will secure its position as a kingmaker at provincial and national level if proved true. DM


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