David Mabuza, EFF member in business together

Premier is co-director of a firm that will build R7.2bn complex

Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza’s alleged apparent business relationship with a senior Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) official has raised concern among his detractors.

City Press is in possession of documents that show Mabuza and the EFF’s provincial policy head, Sonnyboy Maphanga, are co-directors of Nelesco 85 (Pty) Ltd.

Nelesco appears to be part of NG & Partners Lda Mozambique, a consortium of eight South African companies with Chinese-owned PMG Mining Resources (Pty) Ltd as the main investor.

NG & Partners has been granted a concession on a 400ha piece of land in Nacala Porto on the Mozambican north coast to develop a R7.2 billion complex with a shopping mall, a five-star hotel, a casino, houses and other amenities.

Documents indicate that Nelesco, which is trading as Steel Industries International, was granted a concession by the Mozambican government on February 28 last year before the other companies were roped in. Maphanga is the managing director of the Nacala Porto project.

Mabuza and Maphanga have denied they are in business together. But a company search shows that Nelesco was registered in February 2004 and is still in business. Both men are listed as active co-directors of Nelesco.

Mabuza is also named in the consortium’s planning documents.

The documents show that Sisonke Development Planners – a town planning company co-owned by Mabuza’s close associates?–Patrick Chirwa and Harrington Dhlamini with whom he co-directed Above Average Trading 44 CC?–?also has a stake in the project. A document, Plan of Action: Nacala Integrated Project, calls for the finalisation of company documentation and a memorandum of understanding stating Sisonke’s 40% stake in NG & Partners.

“The MoU to incorporate Sisonke @ 20%, SS Maphanga @ 10% and DD Mabuza @ 20%,” it reads.

Mabuza’s spokesperson, Zibonele Mncwango, said: “The premier has no companies and he is not doing any business.”

Despite the denials, the matter has incensed ANC alliance partners and the EFF.

On Thursday afternoon, EFF leader Julius Malema asked Maphanga about his relationship with Mabuza at a meeting of party leaders in Nelspruit. This was after City Press had submitted questions to the EFF and Maphanga.

EFF provincial spokesperson Collen Sedibe said Maphanga’s explanation was accepted.

Interviewed after the meeting, Maphanga said he had last done business with Mabuza when he was a member of Parliament in the early 2000s.

“Yes, I have done business with Mabuza many years ago and we got a tender to rehabilitate a railway line in Mozambique. When he returned to the province to be roads and transport MEC in former premier [Thabang] Makwetla’s government we stopped our business dealings.

“Sisonke and I are involved in the Nacala project,” he said.

An ANC PEC member, speaking anonymously, said: “Mabuza’s association with an EFF member is not right. That’s not what one expects from an ANC chairperson.”

Provincial SACP secretary Bonakele Majuba said: “If that’s true it’s counter-revolutionary and it’s political hypocrisy. This business could be funding the EFF.”

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