At a media briefing following Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema conducting a site visit of Nasrec on Monday, where the party’s second elective conference will take place in December, the commander-in-chief of the red berets made the claim that it was not Helen Zille but President Cyril Ramaphosa who was really to blame for former Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane’s resignation.
“Look at what Cyril did to Maimane. All of you are saying Helen Zille, Helen Zille. It is not Helen Zille, it is Cyril,” said Malema.
He went on to allege that Maimane was asking too many questions surrounding the funding of the president’s CR17 campaign, which led to him becoming first president of the ANC, then South Africa.
“The day Maimane wrote a letter [to the public protector] and the public protector found against Cyril, Helen came out saying that was the most stupid thing to write [to Mkhwebane], and Tony Leon also came out saying the same. That is where the problems for Maimane started,” Malema said.
He made the claim that those funding the CR17 campaign were the same as those who are funding the DA.
“Why? By writing the letter and e-mails coming out showing names, he exposed the funders who are the real owners of the DA,” said Malema.
“Go check the names in the e-mails of who funded CR17 and go compare notes with who is funding the DA. It is the same people. They told us to work with Cyril, and we told them it is not going to happen.
“Every time we fundraise, people say to us: ‘Why do you not just work with Cyril?’ Imagine if they can say that to us, what about Mmusi?
“They are being told, ‘work with this man. This is our man’, and Mmusi defied them. He thought he had [a] life of his own, and they showed him who are the real owners,” Malema alleged.
Whether Malema has any evidence regarding a link between CR17 and DA funding is unclear at this point.
It was, however, reported in early October that DA insiders told Sunday World Maimane’s critics within the party had openly accused their leader of political short-sightedness in his Bosasa crusade against Ramaphosa.
A complaint brought by Maimane about the donation spilt over into a damning and embarrassing report by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who ended up investigating all donations to Ramaphosa campaign.
She even found that the CR17 team may have been guilty of money laundering, which the presidency has dismissed as evidence that Mkhwebane was misusing the term.
Mkhwebane further found that Ramaphosa had misled parliament about the donation, even if inadvertently.
Ramaphosa and his lawyers have slammed the report and are in the process of taking it on legal review.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, Charles Cilliers.)