EFF leader Julius Malema has denied claims that a tobacco kingpin loaned him money to pay off his massive tax bill.

Johannesburg - EFF leader Julius Malema has denied claims that a tobacco kingpin loaned him money to pay off his massive tax bill.

Malema said he sent a lawyer’s letter to author Jacques Pauw warning him to remove publication of claims that Adriano Mazzoti, who has been accused of being a cigarette smuggler, had loaned him the money to pay off his Sars bill. 

Pauw wrote the claims in his best-selling book “The President’s Keepers” that Mazzoti had ties to Malema and had actually helped fund the party’s elections campaign in 2014.

On Wednesday, Pauw tweeted similar allegations against Malema and the EFF.

“Why is Dali Mpofu committing hara-kiri in defending Tom Moyane? Is it because they have a common friend: tobacco-man Adriano Mazzotti. Under Moyane, Mazzotti's R600m tax bill disappeared. He also paid EFF registration fee in 2014 and gave Malema a loan to help pay his Sars bill,” wrote Pauw.

Malema admitted he knew Mazzoti and that he had helped fund the EFF’s registration fee for the 2014 elections. 

“I have written a letter to Jacques Pauw to withdraw the statement which he has made that Mazotti paid my tax. We have never denied as the EFF that Mazotti paid our registration fee in 2014, that we have never kept a secret,” said Malema.

The EFF leader was speaking at a wide-ranging press conference on Thursday, where he also made allegations against the Minster of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan. 

“The Pravin Gordan led grouping is at the moment conducting public hearings, fact finding missions, whose main pursuit is to consolidate Sars as theirs, and they even boost publicly without fear or shame to those that they are purging,” said Malema.

The EFF leader also defended the party’s national chairperson Advocate Dali Mpofu’s decision to legally represent suspended Sars commissioner Tom Moyane.

Malema said President Cyril Ramaphosa and Gordhan had botched the case against Moyane in an attempt to have him removed without following proper processes.

He said the EFF had no control over who Mpofu decides to represent.

“We shall never support any process of reaching punishment without due course. The credibility of Sars cannot be restored by using unfair hearings, instead it will only be consolidated as a gangster domain feared by all, not because of its high moral ground, but because of Stalinist judicial measurers,” said Malema.

Political Bureau