Investigative journalist unit amaBhungane took to Twitter to announced that they would soon publish a series linking Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and his party to alleged tender corruption in the City of Johannesburg and Tshwane.
“Part 1, out soon, explores new evidence linking the EFF to Afrirent, the firm that won a R1.2 billion CoJ fleet contract we reported on last year,” the tweet says.
The report last year alleged that Johannesburg executive mayor Herman Mashaba essentially bought the EFF’s loyalty in Gauteng, through the firm AfriRent, which won a fleet contract worth R1 billion and, according to the report, made payments into an account used for the benefit of Malema and his party.
Mashaba, in response, told the investigative journalists to bring it on.
“We shall await, with great anticipation, any latest findings on the matter. The political leadership of the city of Joburg welcomes any investigation into any irregularities in our administration,” he said.
We shall await, with great anticipation, any latest findings on the matter. The political leadership of the city of Joburg welcomes any investigation into any irregularities in our administration https://t.co/6GTliGUKr8
— Herman Mashaba (@HermanMashaba) September 19, 2019
The EFF and the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Mashaba have enjoyed a cooperative relationship in Johannesburg, compared to the animosity between the two parties that plays out both on a national level and in municipalities such as Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay, where the EFF initially voted with the DA to help them form a government in these municipalities but later turned against the party, helping parties including the ANC and UDM successfully remove the DA’s former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip from power, and unsuccessfully attempting to remove former Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga from his position.
The amaBhungane report appeared to go some way towards substantiating rumours that “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,” with the upcoming new report offering new evidence linking Afrirent to the EFF, according to the investigative journalism unit.
At a memorial service held by the EFF for former Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe, the EFF announced their decision to ban amaBhungane, as well as the Daily Maverick and its investigative journalism unit Scorpio, from future party events, including press conferences.
The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) released a statement saying it was “appalled” by this decision.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi ignored requests for comment from The Citizen.