Julius Malema, the president of the African National Congress Youth League of South Africa, has been under fire for his statements to the public. A civil trial brought by a white group challenges cultural expression. , a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
South Africa: Malema Trust is No Secret - ANCYL
25 July 2011
Johannesburg — The trust reportedly used to fund ANCYL president Julius Malema's lifestyle is no secret, league secretary Sindiso Magaqa said on Monday.
"The Ratanang Family Trust is no secret fund. If there is any wrongdoing on the part of the trust, the ANCYL president is open and ready for investigations by Sars [SA Revenue Service] and any other law enforcement agencies," he told journalists at Luthuli House in Johannesburg.
The trust was also "tax compliant", he said.
The league was responding to a City Press report on Sunday that Malema was the sole trustee of a secret family trust, which he allegedly used to bankroll his lavish lifestyle. The paper reported Malema had denied the trust was being used to launder illicit funds, but "declined to divulge its purpose or bank balance".
Magaqa said the trust was used predominantly for financing various charities and for social responsibility.
ANCYL treasurer general Pule Mabe said Malema was not the sole trustee, but declined to name any others.
The trust was registered at the Office of the Master of the High Court in Pretoria in 2008, weeks after Malema was first elected youth league president.
Citing two "independent, well-placed sources with knowledge of Malema's financial dealings", City Press reported the trust was being used by Malema and "his benefactors" to fund his lifestyle.
"Thousands of rands" were deposited into the account regularly, according to unnamed sources. "Frequent deposits are being made from different banks, especially in Limpopo."
One source told the paper he had deposited R200,000 into the trust's bank account after Malema facilitated a government tender for his benefit.
Mabe questioned whether such a person existed, saying: "You in the media can create people as well.
"... if these people are alleging that there are monies they are putting in are bribes, these people should also be charged for conducting a criminal act called bribery, because if that allegation is to be tested and is true, it means there's a briber and a bribee," he said.
The ANCYL believed Malema was under attack because he was pushing for the nationalisation of the country's mines and land expropriation without compensation.
"These are issues we will continue to raise without fear or favour and we will never retreat because victory is certain," Magaqa said.
" ...anything that disagrees with nationalisation of mines, you are writing, you are not even editing."
Mabe reiterated that Malema was a private citizen and within his rights to have business dealings.
The league leadership left many questions on the trust itself unanswered and criticised reporters for pushing the agenda of their "white right-wing" bosses.
"The media in South Africa is owned by white right-wing people who still represent... the liberal views of the former apartheid regime, so it's not a secret that the owners of City Press are Naspers," league deputy president Ronald Lamola said.
"They also own farm lands in the country, so you will see the link in terms of the former Afrikaner broederbond that sees a youth league that wants to now take away what they always have been enjoying since 1994."
Magaqa said the trust was "not for exchange of tenders.
"You are being controlled, you are playing political dirty tricks and we know some of you, not all of you, some of you are being funded," he claimed.
On Saturday, Malema sought an urgent court interdict to stop City Press publishing the report on the trust, but this was dismissed by Judge Colin Lamont in the High Court in Johannesburg. The interdict was sought, said Mabe, to prevent the media from "spreading lies".
Lamont ruled Malema was a public figure and that the story was in the public interest. Further, he found the evidence contained in the City Press story "credible".
On Sunday, the Democratic Alliance said it would write to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, requesting her to investigate the allegations.
Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum lodged a criminal complaint against the youth league leader at the Brooklyn police station in Pretoria on Sunday.
A corruption case was opened against him in accordance with the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2004.
Writing on the blog constitutionally speaking, legal expert Professor Pierre de Vos said Malema could face up to 15 years in jail if convicted in terms of the act, and have his assets confiscated.
De Vos wrote the act criminalised almost "all imaginable forms of corruption in rather broad terms". This made it easy, "in theory" to secure a successful prosecution in a corruption case.
He further wrote that the allegations in the City Press report "completely destroy Malema's credibility".
This could be restored by Malema suing the paper for defamation. If he chose not to do this, De Vos believed it would indicate he was corrupt.
The league leadership failed to respond to questions on whether it would take legal action against the paper.