PRETORIA – It’s emerged that cigarette manufacturer Adriano Mazzotti may be a bigger benefactor of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema than initially thought.
Eyewitness News can reveal that the firebrand politician’s wife and children live in a house in a high-security Hyde Park estate which is owned by Mazzotti, who is also part owner of cigarettes manufacturing company, Carnilinx.
The EFF and its leaders have come under significant scrutiny in recent weeks after it emerged that senior members may have benefitted from funds siphoned out of the collapsed VBS Mutual Bank, allegations the party denies.
Mazzotti donated R200,000 to the EFF in 2013 while fellow Carnilinx director Kyle Phillips loaned Malema R1 million to help him settle his tax affairs.
Three security guards and a four-metre high perimeter wall topped with surveillance cameras meets guests at the exclusive Hyde Park estate which has only four houses in it.
Mazzotti has a stake in three of them and also lives in the estate with Malema’s wife, Mantwa, and their children as neighbours.
Malema, who has a state residence in Cape Town, lives at the property when he is in Johannesburg.
Mazzotti has been described as a self-confessed cigarette smuggler and has been accused of evading taxes.
He’s consistently denied the allegations and insists that he is fully tax compliant.
The businessman says he won’t hide the fact that he and Malema are friends and he says the politician’s wife pays a market-related rent to live in his property.
Malema declined to answer specific questions instead, all he would say is that he has moved to Cape Town, where he has been given a residence in Goodwood by the state.