How Juju got his ride

2015-01-25 20:00

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A grey Golf GTI is now at the centre of the growing conflict within the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), with party members claiming it was “wrongfully bought for EFF president Julius Malema using EFF money”.

The car was bought late last year using cash from the EFF’s main bank account, but records show that the party doesn’t own the car. It is instead registered to a company of which Malema’s 22-year-old relative was recently a director.

The car was seen ferrying guests, who had landed by helicopter, to Malema’s wedding to Mantwa Matlala in his home town of Seshego in December. The guests were accompanied by a rifle-toting bodyguard.

Party members with access to the EFF’s bank accounts claim the party is heading for “serious trouble” in March, when Treasury will ask it to explain how its allocation of public funding for this financial year was spent.

The party must manage and account for about R67?million a year in public money paid to it for specific purposes, and governed by strict rules and regulations.

Meanwhile, City Press has obtained the trail of paperwork relating to the vehicle. An invoice for R377?500 for a grey Golf GTI Edition 35 DSG with 25?000km on the odometer was made out to the “Economic Freedom Fighters HQ” on September 3 from a car dealership named Iscars in Polokwane.

The amount was then paid on September 8 to the dealership from an EFF account at the Braamfontein branch of First National Bank.

Instead of being registered with traffic officials as an official EFF vehicle, the Golf was registered in the name of a private company, Voorsprong Trading and Projects, whose active director is Jimmy Matlebyane, a 22-year-old student from Seshego. The company’s previous director was another student from Seshego, Tebatso Malema, who is understood to be Malema’s cousin.

Voorsprong’s registered address at the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission is a home in Sandton, where Malema and his wife now live when they are in Johannesburg.

The Golf is listed in the EFF asset register under the registration number the car was bought under, but after it was moved to Voorsprong, the registration details changed. Voorsprong is also not mentioned in the asset register. And now the EFF has no legal claim to this car, despite having paid for it.

When City Press contacted Matlebyane, he confirmed he was the director of Voorsprong and the Golf was “his car”. When asked why the car had been bought using EFF funds, Matlebyane hung up and failed to answer subsequent calls.

Tebatso Malema denied any relationship with Julius Malema and said: “Anyone who says I’m Julius’ anything is full of sh*t.” When asked about the Golf GTI, he also hung up and failed to respond to messages.

When City Press asked Leigh-Ann Mathys, the EFF member who made the payment, why the car was not in the EFF’s name, she also stopped responding.

EFF spokesperson Fana Mokoena confirmed the facts around the purchase of the vehicle, but said the party was using the car for “transporting EFF VIPs”.

It was still considered an EFF asset and had been registered with a “proxy company”. He said it was “unfortunate” that Matlebyane had said it was his car because “he thought he was in trouble with the papers”.

He said the EFF leadership had now “taken a decision to reregister [the Golf] in the organisation’s name and we will be doing so soon”.

Mpho Ramakatsa, the EFF MP around whom divisions in the party have centred since he threw the party into turmoil just over a week ago, confirmed to City Press he was aware of the “Golf issue”, but said that was “just the tip of the iceberg”.

In a response Malema sent on Thursday to Ramakatsa’s ultimatum concerning the “undemocratic, unconstitutional and irregular” elective conference last year, he dismisses his allegations and characterised the former ANC Umkhonto weSizwe veteran and Robben Island prisoner as a lone dissident with a poor memory of events leading up to and including the EFF’s conference in Bloemfontein.

But Ramakatsa insists he is not alone in questioning how the EFF spends its money.

“We are concerned that since Malema seems to be talking to the ANC about going back to them, he is busy buying assets for himself. When he goes, he leaves the EFF with no assets, and a lot of debt and questions.”

Ramakatsa was repeating an allegation he made earlier in the week that Malema was “in talks” with the ANC to return, an idea Malema dismissed as “laughable”.

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