Radio 702’s Arabile Gumede discussed amaBhungane’s investigation of payments a fleet rental firm made to an EFF-linked company, with Stefaans Brümmer.
Brümmer explained that this is a story amaBhungane first started investigating over a year ago and wrote a kind of preliminary article last November, “We saw that there were these payments made by Afrirent to a little company called Mahuna Investments, and this was just before Afrirent won a R1.2-billion fleet tender from the City of Johannesburg.
Brümmer said: “We stumbled across these two payments to Mahuna Investments by Afrirent. Mahuna was on our radar because we knew it was linked to the EFF, and we were interested in the rumours making the rounds that the EFF — after it gained access to power in both Tshwane and Johannesburg after the 2016 elections — started playing gate-keepers; extracting rents from contracting and procurement budgets of these cities where it now played a significant role.”
There was “a round of denials” after amaBhungane’s story last year. But said Brümmer, “What we’ve now done is we’ve amassed quite a bit of extra information and we are now really in a position to say the evidence is that these were kick-backs.
“We have no EFF version on what we’ve published now: We’ve got their blunt denials from the response in our article last year. Afrirent has maintained its version, which is that these payments it made to Mahuna were not kickbacks in relation to the City of Johannesburg tender, but Mahuna having delivered services to Afrirent on a completely different contract linked to a contract it has in Limpopo.
“We looked at the same period of the services allegedly delivered by Mahuna, and what we found was that there was about R520 000 of services provided by Afrirent to the department of rural development and land reform in Limpopo to deliver tractors and farming implements to communities.”
Afrirent subcontracted Mahuna “to provide training and logistics for the delivery and implementation”.
“It just defeats all reason to say that when it (Afrirent) earns R520 000, it is going to pay Mahuna it’s subcontractor R500 000. Ie. almost the total amount, for a very minor logistics and translation component of the contract. It just doesn’t make any business sense — the alibi doesn’t stand,” Brümmer said.