The EFF leader proved on Monday that the verbal battle between himself and author and journalist Jacques Pauw is far from over in an interview on SABC’s Morning Live.
“Jacques Pauw does not read. I called him about his lie about Mazzotti and he admits he is wrong and that Kyle paid for my tax fees, but if he read my affidavit he would have seen that I stated there that Kyle paid my tax,” the red berets’ commander-in-chief said.
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) July 16, 2018
On July 7 the Citizen reported on Malema’s silence on Pauw’s allegations. At the time, while Malema was retweeting the messages of EFF supporters claiming Pauw was a “liar”, he had not yet expressed this belief himself.
Allegations that Pauw had “lied” stem from his admission that he had not been accurate in initially saying that Malema had received a loan from alleged tobacco smuggler Adriano Mazzotti – but instead of withdrawing this accusation in total, he dug in deeper, detailing that the loan had in fact come from Mazzotti’s business partner, Kyle Phillips.
This, in effect, meant the accusation still stood, and is something Malema does not deny.
Malema at the time demanded that Pauw withdraw his social media statement that alleged Mazzotti had paid the EFF leader’s tax bill.
Pauw responded by releasing a further slew of allegations regarding the politician’s alleged links to the tobacco-smuggling underworld.
When The Citizen attempted repeatedly to get comment from Malema’s party, the normally vocal EFF failed to get back to us. Their normal outspokenness on social media was also strangely absent leading up to the article the Citizen published on July 7.
During a media briefing on July 5, a confident Malema had said: “I have written a letter to Jacques Pauw to withdraw the statement which he has made out that Mazotti paid my tax. We have never denied as the EFF that Mazzotti paid our registration fee in 2014 – that we have never kept a secret.”
But he took issue with Pauw’s further speculation.
On July 6, Pauw struck back in a Facebook post detailing how Malema may have benefited from the proceeds of crime. He also raised further questions about the links between Mazzotti, the EFF, and suspended Sars commissioner Tom Moyane, who is currently being represented by EFF national chairperson advocate Dali Mpofu.
“You in fact received a R1 million loan from Kyle Phillips – a business partner of Mazzotti and his co-director in Carnilinx, an independent tobacco company,” wrote Pauw.
“This was reported in the Sunday Times and other newspapers in 2015. The Sunday Times quoted your lawyer as saying that you took the loan from Phillips after another benefactor failed to make a payment to you. The newspaper said that you had admitted to Sars that you had received the R1 million loan from Phillips.”
Phillips and Mazzotti are equal partners in the tobacco company Carnilinx.
Pauw cited Malema’s silence on these reports as a tacit admission, and went on to detail the contents of a 2014 Sars affidavit, of which he claims to have a copy, in which Mazzotti admits to having engaged in “corrupt and unlawful” acts, such as how Carnilinx and its owners, Mazzotti, Phillips and fellow-director Mohammadh Sayed, “acquired tobacco unlawfully and wrongfully of two tons per week over a period of some 40 weeks”.
At the time of making the affidavit, Carnilinx owed the taxman more than R600 million.
Mazzotti admits to fraud, money laundering, tobacco smuggling and tax evasion, and even goes as far as admitting to bribing Sars officials, including an attempt at bribing then acting Sars commissioner Ivan Pillay and investigations head Johann van Loggerenberg with R800 000.
He also mentions paying for the registration of the EFF as a political party.
The messages that Malema retweeted focused on Pauw’s initial inaccuracy about the money in fact being channelled through Phillips, which nevertheless changes nothing about the possible criminal implications, since Phillips and Mazzotti are part of the same company.
Another tweet accused Pauw of not seeing the “court papers” he was referring to and incorrectly accuses Pauw of “confessing to being a liar”.