Newspaper says S.Africa’s Malema using secret fund


A South African newspaper alleged that influential politician Julius Malema, who heads the ruling ANC’s Youth League, has used a secret trust fund to finance a lavish lifestyle that includes luxury cars and pricey property.

Malema, who has called for mines to be nationalised and land held by the white minority to be seized, sought a court injunction on Saturday to prevent publication of the article in the City Press.

However, Judge Colin Lamont at the South Gauteng High Court, who vetted the report, said the sourcing appeared to be credible, allowing it to be published, Reuters reports.
“Apart from denying that the trust was used for receiving bribes, Malema refused to answer any of City Press’ questions,” the newspaper said.

Malema’s spokesman was not immediately available for comment on the article. However, Malema last week attacked media reports probing his finances, saying they were “the imaginations of right-wing, narrow-minded and obsessed white people”.

Police and prosecutors were also not immediately available for comment.

Malema, born into poverty, lists as his main source of income his salary as the head of the African National Congress Youth League, which is a few thousand dollars a month.

City Press, citing well-placed sources with knowledge of Malema’s financial dealings, said he had made major purchases through the Ratanang Family Trust, named after his five-year-old son, including a cash payment of 900,000 rand for a farm.

Another source said he had placed 200,000 rand into the trust after Malema helped him to win a government contract.

Malema has also said he is a private citizen and his finances are none of the media’s business.

But investors in South Africa keep close tabs on Malema, whose racially-charged, populist appeals to the impoverished black majority have raised concerns on whether the ANC will take up his calls to overhaul Africa’s largest economy.

As ANC Youth League leader, Malema, 30, has no direct policymaking power. But the League, co-founded by Nelson Mandela, has long been a training ground for the leadership, and he is an influential political power broker.

Malema has kept the idea of nationalising mines on the ANC’s policy agenda even though the mining minister opposes this and economists say the cost, which would run to hundreds of billions of dollars, could bankrupt South Africa.