Citizen reporter
3 minute read
30 Sep 2019
10:33 am

Malema sends Maimane message of support amid Steinhoff car ‘scandal’

Citizen reporter

The EFF leader appears to have his fellow opposition leader's back following a report over the weekend linking him to Steinhoff.

FILE PHOTO: Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party leader Julius Malema (2nd L) speaks flanked by Democratic Alliance (DA) party leader Mmusi Maimane (L), United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa (2nd R) and Corne Mulder (R) of the Freedom Front Plus (FF+), as they give a press conference. Picture: AFP PHOTO.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema took to Twitter to offer what appeared to be a supportive message to Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane following reports raising questions about a car he drove and his R4-million home in Claremont.

Afrikaans newspaper Rapport reported over the past weekend that Maimane drove around for months in a car that was a gift from controversial former Steinhoff boss Markus Jooste, after indicating that it would be returned, in what the DA leader has since labelled a “smear campaign”.

The weekend also saw Sunday Times report that following accusations from DA MP Mike Waters, some party members are now demanding to see proof that Maimane was paying his own rent at his Cape Town home. Waters allegedly demanded bank statements from Maimane, to determine how much rent he pays, an anonymous source revealed to the publication.

Maimane declared the home to parliament as his, but later did an about-turn and admitted it was rented. The property is not in his name but in that of his friend, Durban businessman Wessel Jacobs.

Malema – himself no stranger to dealing with allegations in media reports – seemed to come out in support of the DA leader, in what most thought was a genuine message of support, although some on Twitter did read it as being tongue-in-cheek.

“Go tla loka bafanas [It will be ok] @MmusiMaimane, hope you enjoyed church today,” he tweeted.

Maimane dismissed the allegations on social media as part of a continuing “smear campaign” against him.

READ MORE: Malema claims he can knock Maimane out in the boxing ring

“The smear campaign continues. These are gutless individuals who will not be named and instead spread lies about me and my family. I have always sought to build a South Africa for All. I remain committed to that vision, regardless of how uncomfortable it may make others feel.”

In December 2017, Steinhoff’s share value plummeted by as much as 98% over accounting irregularities. Some called Steinhoff’s fall from grace the biggest corporate scandal in South African history.

Responses to both Malema’s tweet and Maimane’s show that some agree with the DA leader, and see this as a plan from within his party to remove him from his position.

While the party was publicly supportive of Maimane following the May 8 elections, in which the party suffered losses, alleged plots to oust the DA leader – previously dismissed as false by DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi – have been reported since before the elections.

City Press reported in January that a group within the DA is believed to be pushing for the Maimane’s removal.

This after eNCA interviewed former DA chief whip for Emfuleni, Simon Nkosi, who said the alleged plot to remove Maimane is “well known” within the party. The news network reported at the time that it’s the “liberal” faction within the party who would like to see the back of the DA leader.

This appears to be in line with what Daily Maverick reported in August 2018. The publication said that there is a battle of wills within the party between “traditional liberals” and “a more radical faction bent on racial transformation”.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, News24 Wire.)

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