Afrirent, a company that won a R1.2 billion City of Johannesburg fleet contract and which an amaBhungane report from last year alleged had made payments into an account used for the benefit of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and its leader Julius Malema, is now the subject of a new amaBhungane report detailing evidence that the company may have paid for either one or two tractors Malema and the party ‘donated’ to two Limpopo communities late last year.
While campaigning in December last year, the EFF donated a brand-new tractor to the Seshego community Malema hails from. Two days later, he appeared to donate another one to a community in Blood River.
The Citizen reported at the time that it was unclear whether the two communities each got a tractor or if the EFF simply unveiled the same one at both places.
“The tractor given to the ward was either the same one handed out on Thursday in Seshego, or it’s simply the same model of tractor. It’s not known how many tractors the EFF has actually purchased,” said a report published on December 30, 2018.
The amaBhungane report indicates that the tractor “in all likelihood was the same tractor both times”. More importantly, it says that sources indicated that Afrirent, rather than the EFF, footed the bill.
The report can be read in full here.
Both the earlier and new reports from the investigative journalism unit appear to substantiate longstanding rumours that Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba essentially bought the EFF’s loyalty in the city.
Some believe “the EFF was given patronage over lucrative City of Johannesburg tenders as a quid pro quo for working with Herman Mashaba’s DA-led administration,” something that appears to be substantiated by the payments the first amaBhungane report says were made to accounts belonging to a company fronted by Malema’s cousin, which are believed to have been used as a “slush fund” for the EFF and Malema.
The company, Mahuna Investments, is the same one that reports by The Daily Maverick‘s investigative journalism wing Scorpio say received payments resulting from the alleged looting of VBS Bank.
Malema and the EFF have denied having benefited from kickbacks relating to the Afrirent tender, and the company likewise denied knowing of any link between Mahuna and the party or Malema.
Questions sent to EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi were ignored at the time of publication.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)