Cape Town – EFF leader Julius Malema on Thursday praised controversial tobacco trader, Adriano Mazzotti, saying his party was not ashamed to be associated with him.
Malema said this at the EFF’s 10th-anniversary birthday dinner.
The event, held at Emperor’s Palace, was attended by various guests, including Marikana massacre victims’ families, students from the party’s writing competition, and relatives of organization leaders.
During the celebration, Malema acknowledged Mazzotti multiple times and applauded his decision to fund the EFF’s participation in the 2014 general elections.
“It has been a journey of unbroken struggle and we felt it was important to invite those in the business community and key stakeholders to engage the leadership of the EFF, reflect and plan the future.
“Seated here is a man called Adriano Mazzotti. He gave us money on the day we launched the EFF. When the IEC asked us to pay the money, Floyd [Shivambu] and I had nothing.
Malema Says Mazzotti and Mo Came To EFF Rescue At A Crucial Time
CiC Malema: Donors Adriano Mazzotti And Mohammadh Sayed Made It Possible For The #EFF To Contest In The First Election (2014) – They Came To EFF’s Rescue When Non Cared To Help, When IEC Needed 650K (Pay-To-Play)… pic.twitter.com/Z231TbjkLi
— Mr. Tshweu (@TshweuMoleme) July 27, 2023
“We looked at each other in the eyes and said what is going to happen? That time they asked for R650 000 and we had no means.
“Later to be told through a telephone call, Mazzotti has got a very unique voice: ‘Brother, the money is paid’, then we knew we’re good to go.
“That is how the EFF was allowed to contest the first election in 2014.”
The EFF leader staunchly defended Mazzotti, refuting all accusations of criminal wrongdoing and emphasising that the controversial businessman has never faced any charges.
Malema asserted that the animosity towards Mazzotti stemmed solely from his financial support of a political party that consistently challenged the status quo and challenged the influence of “establishment” and white monopoly capital.
“We are very proud of Adriano Mazzotti and are not ashamed to associate with him. We don’t know his business because he’s not our business partner.
[WATCH] EFF leader, Julius Malema welcomes his guests at his Platinum R1.2 million rand table at the party’s 10th birthday gala dinner. Tobacco businessman Adriano Mazzotti sitting at another table greets Adv. Dali Mpofu & Malema at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg. #Newzroom405 pic.twitter.com/x7sQavbIe3
— Athi Mtongana (@AthiMtongana) July 27, 2023
“He donated money to the EFF like all of you who bought tables here. We never asked ‘What to do you for your business?
“We just declared because it was not a secret that the money was donated by Mazzotti.
“So we do not run an underworld, we are running an above-world, and do not be scared that we’re part of anything Mazzotti does. Mazzotti has never been arrested, neither has he been charged.
“I’ve been charged, arrested and seen the doors of prison for my political beliefs. My properties were taken by Sars, that has never happened to Mazzotti.
“He is hated for making it possible for this organisation to exist and give trouble to the establishment and WMC. If he jumps into that door and becomes WMC he will see the might of the EFF himself,” said Malema.
The EFF was set to hold a diplomatic breakfast on Friday, with a rally set to follow at FNB stadium on Saturday.
Follow African Insider on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
For more African news, visit Africaninsider.com
Compiled by Betha Madhomu