REVEALED: How BLF's Mngxitama asked Guptas for funding

31 May 2017 - 18:42 By Siphe Macanda And Kyle Cowan
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Andile Mngxitama. File photo.
Andile Mngxitama. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images / Beeld / Deaan Vivier

Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama went cap in hand asking for financial backing from the Gupta family last year‚ leaked emails show.

Reports have alleged that the former Economic Freedom Fighters MP might be bankrolled by the Guptas‚ but have been strenuously denied‚ although he has actively supported the family and their company in public.

Mngxitama has consistently denied that he was funded by the family‚ most recently on 14 May during BLF’s first year anniversary event in Soweto. “There is no slight evidence to back up these claims that are being made by agents of white monopoly capital‚ by the people who are controlled from London and by people funded by newspapers‚” EWN quoted him as saying.

But he certainly went to them and asked for money‚ the emails show.

In email exchanges‚ dated 2016‚ with then Oakbay Chief Executive Nazeem Howa‚ Mngxitama expresses gratitude towards Howa referring to a meeting they recently had.

In the emails seen by The Times‚ Mngxitama writes: “Brother Nazeem it was good to meet and to learn a bit more about your thinking and the truth around this renewed attacks from imperialism and its agents. Keep strong and keep doing the right thing.”

Howa forwarded the email to Atul Gupta informing him that Mngxitama had requested funding.

“Hope all is well your side. I met with this fellow. He wrote a good piece about us in Sunday Indy this past weekend. He wants funding for his organisation. I explained that as business people‚ we have taken conscious decision to stay out of politics‚” the email reads.

Without responding to the email‚ Atul Gupta forwards it to a “Shivani” and Tony Gupta.

Further emails indicate a Mngxitama met with another Sahara employee‚ Santosh Choubey‚ at least once in March 2016.

Choubey told The Times on Wednesday that he used to work in sales and marketing at Sahara‚ the Gupta owned computer company.

“I have no recollection of any of this. I no longer work there‚” Choubey said. The leaked document suggest an exchange of at least 10 emails between Choubey and Mngxitama between February and March‚ the final exchange confirming a meeting at a restaurant in Sandton.

Attempts to solicit comment from Mngxitama drew a blank as his phone went unanswered. He also did not respond to an SMS sent to him and his phone was subsequently switched off.

The Times also called BLF deputy president Zanele Lwana‚ who doubles as its spokesperson‚ for comment from Mngxitama‚ without success.

Lwana‚ however‚ said: “You know that these stories that you have been writing are based on fake emails”.

- Sunday Times/The Times

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