‘Malema is a godsend’

2011-07-23 18:15

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema has repeatedly pleaded poverty and claimed to live on donations, but he is one of his community’s main and generous benefactors.

Since 2009, Malema has built a three-bedroom house for a poor family at his Seshego township outside Polokwane in Limpopo, constructed a modern structure for the local Baptist Church and is now adding a second double-storey on his family property.

Malema, who is revered and loved by many locals, also built a wall in 2008 for his former primary school, Mponegele, through SGL Engineering Projects, a controversial company he partly owned at the time.

The church, officially opened in October 2009 by President Jacob Zuma and Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale, was built for the congregation in honour of his late mother, Mahlodi, who passed away in 2007. She was a member of the church.

Pastor Chuene Selolo, the head of the Seshego Baptist Church, said the new building made life easier for the congregation, who had been forced to cram inside a shack for church services.

“The building restored our dignity as members. The ­community is also benefiting from it ­because there are people who use it as a venue for their meetings and workshops.

“You can see people are happy,” Selolo said. “We feel blessed. We see it as the work of God because as Christians, we do not believe God will come back and do things for us, but He will send people like Julius to help us. He has been sent by God to help us.”

Selolo said Malema also ­donated stationery, furniture and fax machines to the church. She did not know how much the building cost because the
church was not directly given the money.

Across the road from Malema’s family home in Seshego Zone 1, the plight of another poor family changed last year thanks to the young politician.

The firebrand youth leader built the Marumo family – whose eight members shared a dilapidated house – a modern three-bedroom house.

A sign board inside the ­family’s yard shows that the house was a “personal ­donation” from Malema.

Locals said Malema intervened after the local ANC ­identified the Marumo family as among the poorest in the area.

Khankhi Marumo said her family was pleased with the intervention.

“We never expected the ANC to help us like this. The house we were living in was so bad we always prayed when it rained because we thought something bad would happen. No one is employed in the family and we were eight people sharing a two-bedroom house.”

Construction of a second ­double-storey house on ­Malema’s Seshego family ­property was also under way.

Locals and Malema associates said the building was being funded by him.

Malema this week declined to comment on his community ­upliftment projects and how he afforded them.

Despite reportedly earning less than R50 000 a month, Malema’s personal wealth and properties have increased ­sharply since he became youth league leader in April 2008.

He has repeatedly denied that he has additional sources of ­income, saying he is “poor” and living on donations from friends.

Malema has ­refused to talk about how he ­afforded his lavish lifestyle, maintaining he was not a public representative.

The youth leader ­insisted he was a victim of a ­racially motivated vendetta and a politically ­inspired witchhunt.

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