Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema address the party's followers outside the Tiso Blackstar building in Joburg. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - EFF leader Julius Malema ripped into the owners of the Sunday Times and Business Day, Tiso Blackstar, and the Zondo Commission on Tuesday afternoon, accusing both parties of wasting taxpayer’s money by housing the commission at the media company’s upmarket offices in Parktown, Johannesburg.

“When we defended this commission in court, this is not what we envisioned. A commission that takes place in an expensive building, when judges always mention waste of state resources in their judgments? Why didn't the chairperson of this commission not encourage them to go look for a government hall?” asked Malema.

He claimed that the commission was established based on a report by former public protector Thuli Madonsela which he says he “fought for”.

Addressing a crowd of supporters outside the Tiso Blackstar building, he further commented: “Why is Zondo and the whole commission not saving us money if they care about us? I never imagined the commission in a luxurious building. I fought for this commission, I never imagined it costing taxpayers millions of rands.”

In early November, Independent Media reported that a subsidiary of Tiso Blackstar is profiting from leasing out a building to the Zondo Commission for a contract worth an estimated R3 million. It was also alleged that the process did not go out to tender. 

The contract with the subsidiary was scheduled for 24 months with an option to renew should the work of the commission continue beyond the lease term

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan was going through the second day of his testimony at the commission when Malema hit out at him, accusing his daughter Anisha Gordhan of doing business with government and benefiting. 

The EFF has since laid a charge against Gordhan with the Public Protector. 

“Today I want to make it very clear, we have given Pravin questions and we have given the media the same questions. No journalist has asked Pravin those questions. Why are the journalists not asking Pravin those questions?” asked Malema.

Malema alleged that Gordhan’s daughter has 10 companies and that they asked the ministers which she has contracts with to confirm, and only three of those ministers have confirmed.

“Today, Pravin's daughter is resigning from those companies as a director. Today, these journalists are asking Pravin why is the EFF attacking you and not asking the questions we have given them. Tiso Blackstar are hypocrites and from now on we will not answer any questions from their publications. 

"We came here for the second day to protest against the enabler of state capture and Tiso Blackstar, which are the new capturers. How are we going to get the truth when the commission that is supposed to get us the truth is sitting owned in the building of those who enabled the state to be captured?” Malema said in his address.

Malema mounted more ammunition against Gordhan,  accusing him of hating Africans and removing capable black managers at state-owned enterprises.

"Look at his video footage [of state capture commission] from yesterday, he [Gordhan] was talking as if he was in his kitchen. He was talking as if he has no regard for the hearing here. Why? Maybe he has some relationship with some people...we know that Pravin meets with judges secretly."

He claimed that the owners of the Tiso Blackstar, which houses the state capture inquiry, were in cahoots with Gordhan "the state capture enabler". He added that the EFF will appear at the inquiry and expose everyone who lied to the Zondo-led commission.

Among some of the allegations made by Malema is that a well-known senior Tiso Blackstar journalist had approached the EFF, seeking help to make Gordhan president of the ANC and the country. 

Speaking on the VBS Mutual Bank saga, Malema claimed that there were four ministers who were told to remove their bonds into other accounts so that they are not mentioned in the VBS report. Last week, the City Press reported that the South African Communist Party benefited from VBS after they received R3 million from the institution.

“They never mentioned it in the report. The VBS Report was manipulated for political gain. The reason why Brian Shivambu was mentioned was so that they could silence the EFF. We were whipped into a corner and we did not even react to the liquidation of VBS for fear that we would be labelled as protecting the bank because of our so-called corruption. 

"We have decided to go against Pravin and we know that he fights dirty. There will be some casualties, but we must not be afraid. We formed the EFF to fight against White Monopoly Capital,” he said. 

Political Bureau and ANA