Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has a "close relationship" with a self-confessed cigarette smuggler, fraudster and money-launderer who has seemingly also contributed to her presidential campaign, the Sunday Times reports.
The newspaper calls these contributions "dirty cigarette money".
According to reports based on journalist Jacques Pauw's new book The President's Keepers, Adriano Mazzotti signed an affidavit in 2014 while he was under investigation by SARS in which he admitted "complicity and that of his company, Carnilinx, in a host of crimes, including fraud, money laundering, corruption, tax evasion and bribery."
Pauw reports that the company also contributed cash to Dlamini-Zuma's preisdential campaign and that the ANC presidential hopeful has "a close relationship" with Mazzotti. Dlamini-Zuma's campaign has also been flooded with "NDZ" t-shirts and caps. Mazzotti also owns a clothing company. He has denied making contributions to Dlamini-Zuma.
Dlamini-Zuma did not respond to requests for comment from the Sunday Times, the ANC Women's League however issued a statement Saturday night saying the newspaper should "keep its hands off" Dlamini-Zuma.
The organisation said they are "not shocked at the desperate attempt by the Sunday Times to discredit Dlamini-Zuma through a staged smear campaign driven by White Monopoly Capital. We remain confident that this smear campaign will neither stick nor succeed. It has become clear to us that this sustained negative campaign is designed to cast aspersions and discredit our preferred candidate for the ANC presidency. We wish to categorically state that Dlamini-Zuma has had no clandestine and dodgy relations with anybody throughout her political career. She has served in executive in various roles in the country as well as the chairperson of the African Union Commission."
The statement says she has nothing to hide: "Her discipline and dedication to radical economic transformation has, therefore, attracted millions of well-wishers who have volunteered their time, resources and energy to making sure that she becomes victorious in December. Consequently, Dlamini-Zuma has limited knowledge on all the contributors to the campaign, which are coordinated by the ANCWL with the support of the ANC Military Veterans and the ANC Youth League as well as the structures of the African National Congress. Our efforts are people oriented. Our campaign is, therefore, a people's campaign."