The DA's Steinhoff link: Maimane drove car paid for by Markus Jooste - report

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DA leader Mmusi Maimane. (Deon Ferreira, Netwerk24)
DA leader Mmusi Maimane. (Deon Ferreira, Netwerk24)

DA leader Mmusi Maimane drove around in a car that was a gift from Markus Jooste, News24 sister publication Rapport reported on Sunday.

Furthermore, Maimane refused to return it for months, even after colleagues warned him about possible reputational damage to both him and the party.

According to the publication, Jooste made the white Toyota Fortuner available for Maimane’s use ahead of the municipal elections in 2016.

James Selfe, the DA Federal Executive chairperson, confirmed to Rapport that the vehicle was owned by a car rental company and paid for by Steinhoff.

He said that after the Steinhoff revelations, the party thought it best, under the circumstances, to return the vehicle, which they later did.

But it appeared that Maimane had for months continued to drive the vehicle, despite letters from colleagues warning him of the risks.

Jooste is accused of insider trading, cooking financial books and dodging taxes, all of which caused the company's share price to crash and wiped out R20bn in investments from public pensions, Fin24 previously reported.

Former Steinhoff boss Markus Jooste. (Getty, Gallo Images)

In August 2017, Bloomberg cited a Manager-Magazine report stating that Jooste is among the Steinhoff employees being investigated by German prosecutors in a case dating back to 2015 over alleged accounting fraud.

Four months later, Jooste resigned as CEO after the Stellenbosch-headquartered retail conglomerate's auditors flag "irregularities" in its books. In a short, informal message sent to staff, Jooste said he would "take the consequences of [his] behaviour like a man".

Maimane referred Rapport’s queries to Selfe as it had been a donation to the party, spokesperson Azola Mboniswa said.

On Sunday morning, following the publication of a separate article on pressure from within his own party, Maimane posted a message to Twitter.

He described those making claims against him as "gutless individuals".

Jooste had declined to comment.

Steinhoff told the newspaper it did not comment on the alleged activities of a former CEO.

- Compiled by Tammy Petersen

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