Julius Malema EFF adriano mazzotti

Julius Malema and Adriano Mazzotti / Image via Twitter: Jacques Pauw

CR17: Malema defends EFF for receiving cash from alleged ‘tobacco smuggler’

While discussing the CR17 bank statements on Tuesday, Julius Malema leapt to the defence of Adriano Mazzotti – a tobacco kingpin who donated to the EFF.

Julius Malema EFF adriano mazzotti

Julius Malema and Adriano Mazzotti / Image via Twitter: Jacques Pauw

Adriano Mazzotti became one of the most infamous names in the cigarette smuggling underworld a few years ago, and allegedly had links to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and her political ambitions. The Minister has since denied any association with the tobacco kingpin – but Julius Malema hasn’t been anywhere near as coy on Tuesday.

Julius Malema reacts to CR17 judgment

In discussing the issue of Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR17 funding on Kaya FM, Juju spoke about the differences between money received by the president, and the cash donations that made their way into the EFF’s reserves. According to Malema, the party was fine to accept funds from a ‘suspicious character’ – because he’d never been criminally charged.

“We said that we are not involved in Adriano Mazzotti’s businesses. We don’t know what Mazzotti is up to but we knew where the money came from and we accepted it with a clear conscience. Do you know that Mr. Mazzotti has never been investigated or charged for any crime? We knew this before we accepted any money.”

“So, that is why I would know that part of the money comes from Mazzotti and I would know who Mazzotti is, and I will accept that money with a clear conscience. had we not accepted Mazzotti’s money, there wouldn’t be EFF – because no establishment was ready to donate money to the EFF.” | Julius Malema

Malema guns for Ramaphosa in radio interview

The argument Malema presents here, is that the EFF and its leadership know about their donors, and remain relatively open about that. With Ramaphosa’s CR17 bank statements still sealed by the courts, there is allegedly ‘no way’ that the 68-year-old head of state could make the same claim without being dishonest in the process:

“The president ought to have known who the funders are, and to say the president doesn’t know – it is entirely incorrect because there is no way he will accept money that he doesn’t know where it comes from, unless he doesn’t care.”

Who is Adriano Mazzotti?

The EFF lost a court bid to reveal the names of the donors who contributed to the CR17 campaign, which saw Cyril Ramaphosa elected as the ANC leader four years ago. Malema says the party will challenge this ruling further.

Adriano Mazzotti served as the co-director of Carnilinx, a cigarette manufacturing company that garnered controversy due to its alleged involvement in the illicit tobacco trade. He has since had some of his assets seized by SARS.

The dubious association stretches back to 2013, when Mazzotti donated R200 000 to the EFF, prior to the party’s registration. The following year, Carnilinx’s other executive director, Kyle Phillips, helped Malema out of tax troubles with a cool R1 million ‘advance’. Julius’ wife Mantwa also lived in a Hyde Park property – owned by Mazzotti himself.