Malema’s mystery trip to London

2012-07-28 16:39

Expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema ensured his trip to the UK was shrouded in secrecy and not even his closest supporters were aware of it.

Shortly after addressing students in Cape Town on Friday, Malema slipped out of the country, flanked by his henchman and former
ANC Youth League spokesperson, Floyd Shivambu.

A delegation of the Friends of the Youth League, an organisation that has raised the ire of the ANC, has accompanied them on the
visit.

It is understood Malema’s visit caused “some bluster and panic” at the South African High Commission in London when it became known he was heading to the land of the Queen.

Said a London-based source: “Initially there was some bluster and panic about the visit, but then they calmed down when they realised this would have nothing to do with government.”

The ANC in London distanced themselves from the visit too.

A source there said: “The active ANC branch in London was quite reticent about the visit because he was expelled. So they will have informal gatherings with him, but there won’t be any formal meetings.”

It was unclear who paid for Malema’s trip or what his schedule was.

“Malema has been arriving in London for the past three Fridays.

The first time he cancelled because he had a family emergency and the second time he had visa problems,” a source linked to the South African government told City Press.

South African government officials insisted Malema’s visit had no bearing on Olympic events.

Speculation was rife about who paid for Malema’s trip. He had allegedly gone to the UK to see British investors.

“There are a lot of wealthy Zimbabweans floating around here (the UK) and given his links to them they would probably not mind sponsoring him,” said the government official.

Meanwhile, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula yesterday failed to turn up at an event where was supposed to give a lecture on former ANC president Nelson Mandela.

Organised by the local ANC branch, Mbalula was meant to speak in Brixton, a suburb in south London, and give a “briefing on recommendations from the recent ANC policy conference and an update on Team South Africa’s readiness for medals”, according to the invitation that was distributed.

But by 3pm yesterday organisers informed journalists present that Mbalula’s schedule was too busy for him to deliver the lecture.
Mbalula’s spokesperson, Paena Galane, said the lecture was cancelled because Mbalula had to attend a meeting of African sports ministers.

“He had two arrangements and they were conflicting. He is here on a government programme, so he had to go to that meeting,” he said, before the phone connection was cut.

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