DA clears leader Mmusi Maimane of any 'financial illegality' in Steinhoff car and Cape Town home matters
The battle of the leadership of the DA took another twist on Friday after an investigation found in favour of the party's under-siege leader Mmusi Maimane.
The internal inquiry had been instituted after Maimane faced allegations relating to the declaration of a house he is renting and using a car from a controversial company despite repeated warnings from fellow party members.
The results of the investigation were confirmed on Friday in a newsletter by Dr Dion George, the party's federal finance chairperson.
George said the investigation was activated after Maimane requested the party's finance committee to probe whether there was any wrongdoing on his part when he listed a Cape Town home valued at R4 million in a parliamentary register.
Maimane was also accused by fellow party members of continuing to campaign for the party during the 2016 local government elections in a car donated by controversial former Steinhoff chief executive Markus Jooste.
"Following a number of anonymous leaks and subsequent public speculation regarding the accommodation and travel arrangements of Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane, the leader himself referred the matter to the party’s finance committee chair for a due diligence investigation in order to establish the facts.
George said the party's finance committee is an institution that acts as the custodian of the party’s assets, finances, financial regulations and ethics in relation to it, and we believe is best placed to advise the Party in this regard.
"As chairperson of the finance committee, I formally met with Mr Maimane on Monday 30 September and Friday 4 October," said George
In the said meeting, Mr Maimane produced the relevant facts required – supported by documentation, said George.
"... And as such I have come to the following finding:
- As it relates to travel arrangements, Mr Maimane did enjoy the use of a Toyota Fortuner in the Western Cape, donated to the party by Steinhoff via their subsidiary, Hertz. After the Steinhoff scandal broke, the car was returned.
- There was a delay due in part to the leader’s international trip to the USA and a Federal Congress taking place in Gauteng; and
- As it relates to the Leader’s home, it has been established that no formal lease document exists. However, Mr Maimane has paid rent covering each month he and his family have lived in the house.
George added that he has had sight of the accounts of the business which owns the house.
"I have followed the financial trail as follows: An initial deposit of R450,000 was made by Mr Maimane; from April 2018, R18 400 per month was deducted as rental; the current balance is R100 540; the utility bill payments are made separately by Mr Maimane and in addition to this rental amount.
"Mr Maimane nor his trust own shares in the business and the house. Mr Maimane indicated that the arrangement was a lease agreement and the financial trail confirms that."
"Therefore I am satisfied that there exists no financial illegality on behalf of Mr Maimane as it pertains to both the house and the car," he said.