DA leader Mmusi Maimane. Picture: Jerome Delay / AP / African News agency (ANA)
Cape Town - The DA has come to the defence of its leader Mmusi Maimane amid reports that he had continued to drive around a car paid for by former Steinhof chief executive officer Markus Jooste.

Rapport reported on Sunday that Maimane had refused to return the car despite colleagues warning him about possible reputational damage to both him and the party.

In an interview, DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi confirmed that that a donation in the form of a vehicle was made to the official opposition.

"The vehicle was for the purposes of campaigning in the Western Cape and for the use of the leader in the execution of his duties in the Western Cape," Malatsi said, adding that Maimane needed mobility in the Western Cape since his constituency is in Gauteng.

"It was not for donation to an individual of Mmusi Maimane but to the DA. Once the revelation regarding Steinhof came to the fore, the party at leadership level had a discussion and rightfully resolved in light of the revelations it would be appropriate to return the car to Steinhof," he added.

Malatsi made the statement as Maimane took to social media to dismiss the report.

"The smear campaign continues. These are gutless individuals who will not be named and instead spread lies about me and my family," he said.

"I have always sought to build a South Africa for All. I remain committed to that vision, regardless of how uncomfortable it may make others feel," Maimane added.


The smear campaign continues. These are gutless individuals who will not be named and instead spread lies about me and my family.

I have always sought to build a South Africa for All.

I remain committed to that vision, regardless of how uncomfortable it may make others feel.

— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) September 29, 2019

His tweet fed to a narrative that he was under attack.

The City Press on Sunday quoted Maimane saying there were moves to taint him by leaking stories in the media about him to weaken his position.

"I have nothing to hide, they are running a campaign to discredit me, and ultimately I have put the facts before the party. We are focused on building a DA for all South Africans and if people want to continue this thing in public, they must be able to provide evidence," he reportedly said.

The report comes two weeks after recent reports alleged that Maimane Maimane initially declared in a parliamentary register that he owned a Claremont home, which later emerged to belong to Durban businessman Wessel Jacobs.

Malatsi has said the federal executive discussed the matter of the Maimane’s private home, and was satisfied with his response.

"There is no sense that any law or regulation has been violated," Malatsi said at the time.

But, it appears the matter does not want to die down as the Sunday Times on Sunday reported that DA MP Mike Waters had demanded answers over the lease of the house at the federal executive meeting last week.

Apparently Waters, who was quoted as having declined to comment to the paper, had demanded to see documentary proof that Maimane paid for the lease from his own pockets.

This takes place against the failed bid by Maimane to push for early elections, which was rejected by other DA leaders.


Politics Bureau