Julius Malema has denied that he asked for help with his taxes or that he accepted the South African Revenue Service’s (Sars) version of events regarding the “rogue unit”.
On Friday, News24 reported that Malema, through his attorney, once approached the former Sars executive at the centre of the “rogue unit” saga, Johann van Loggerenberg, for help with his tax affairs.
Malema and Van Loggerenberg also met at The Sheraton hotel in 2010, where the Sars executive attempted to explain in great detail why the narrative in a so-called intelligence dossier Project Snowman, that a rogue unit was operating at the tax service, was false.
During the meeting, Malema was recorded saying he accepted Sars’ facts showing that the narrative of the unit was false.
This was revealed in a bombshell affidavit by Van Loggerenberg, filed as part of an ongoing review application seeking to set aside a public protector report which contained the finding that the High-Risk Investigations Unit, later dubbed the “rogue unit”, had been established unlawfully.
Responding to News24’s report on Friday afternoon, the EFF leader said he called “reluctantly” because he believed News24 is on Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan and Van Loggerenberg’s “side”.
Malema confirmed that he met Van Loggerenberg in 2010, but gave further details about the meeting. He said he had attended a meeting with former deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay and then commissioner Oupa Magashula.
During this meeting, Pillay allegedly took Malema to task for saying that Sars was targeting Zuma loyalists.
“I said to them it’s wrong to target people based on their political affiliation. Pillay said to me that he had helped sort out Zuma’s tax affairs, so how could I say they were targeting Zuma people?”
It was after this that Van Loggerenberg met with Malema, he said. Van Loggerenberg allegedly presented Malema with his tax bill before matters surrounding the “rogue unit” were discussed. Malema said he was surprised by these “tricks” and said he believed Sars was trying to intimidate and silence him.
“That’s how they survived,” he said. “But I told them to fuck off, that if there was issues with my tax they should send me a letter.”
Malema denied that he ever told Van Loggerenberg he accepted Sars’ version about the unit. He also challenged Van Loggerenberg to release the “illegal” recording of the meeting.
Van Loggerenberg also revealed in his affidavit that State Security Agency (SSA) triple agent and one-time tobacco industry attorney Belinda Walter, who is regarded as someone at the centre of the “rogue unit” narrative, registered the trademark of the EFF logo. Van Loggerenberg also questioned why Malema sought to downplay his relationship with Walter.
She is regarded as being at the centre of allegations that the “rogue unit” existed at Sars under Van Loggerenberg, as her complaint over his alleged impropriety shortly after his decision to end their relationship led to wide-ranging investigations that sought to unearth allegations of covert activities by the unit.
Malema told News24 he met her once at the behest of the owner of cigarette manufacturer Carnilinx, Adriano Mazzotti, at the Da Vinci hotel in Sandton.
“After the meeting I told Mazzotti to play very far from her. It was clear to me she was a woman that worked without principles.”
He denied that Mike Peega, a member Special Projects Unit – was ever his bodyguard. Peega he said, was Fikile Mbalula’s bodyguard.
News24 previously reported that the Project Snowman dossier was authored by Peega, who was fired from Sars in 2008 following his arrest for rhino poaching.
Peega had also moonlighted as a bodyguard for Malema, News24 reported.