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Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has reaffirmed party leader Julius Malema’s comments that it was no secret that Adriano Mazzotti had provided the red berets with financial assistance to register with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to contest the elections in 2014.
Mazzotti is the co-owner of Tobacco company CarniLinx, and in May 2014 he reportedly signed an affidavit in which he admits to, along with his company, being complicit in a host of crimes, including fraud, money laundering, corruption, tax evasion and bribery.
In an interview with the SABC’s On Point on Tuesday, Malema said a loan and a donation given to him by two co-owners of CarniLinx had never been a secret.
“Already in 2014 when we received help from Mr Mazzotti to register, we told the public, it’s no secret discovered by hardworking media,” Ndlozi tweeted.
According to reports in the media, the EFF, in particular party deputy president Floyd Shivambu, had launched an attack on National Treasury deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat as a distraction from the South African Revenue Services (Sars) investigations into Malema’s tax affairs, and the party’s alleged ties to the tobacco industry.
“If Mr Mazzotti is involved in any illicit trading, it’s the duty of all with such information to submit to the law enforcement. As far as we are concerned, no court has found Mr Mazzotti guilty of any crime. Only journalists who hate that he helped the EFF come to parliament,” Ndlozi stated in another tweet.
The EFF spokesperson said the party would not be apologetic for accepting financial help from Mazzotti, adding it had rather been grateful to the benefactor.
“Being a party of the poor, the children of domestic workers, we never had millionaires or former ministers in our ranks. We only had ideas!” Ndlozi stated.
Through a court bid in 2014, the EFF attempted to avoid paying the IEC’s required deposit to contest the national elections.
Malema admitted to the SABC on Tuesday that he had received a loan from Kyle Philips, another co-owner of CarniLinx. The loan was reportedly worth R1 million. The EFF leader said he had declared the loan to Sars.
Malema also confirmed that Mazzotti donated R200 000 to the EFF. He said the focus on this by the media and the public had nothing to do with Mazzotti, and was instead caused by their detractors’ disappointment that the EFF managed to register and become an official political party.
Despite the questions surrounding EFF’s funding, Malema said he supported the recent Constitutional Court decision that would see parties be made to declare their sources of funding.
Though the red berets have since said they support the Constitutional Court’s decision, they say they are opposed to section 10 of the Political Party Funding Bill and want it to be reworded.