The ANCYL’s reply . . .

2011-07-30 11:34

Last week the ANC Youth League came out in defence of its president, Julius Malema.

This was in response to a City Press report which exposed the “secret” Ratanang Family Trust (named after Malema’s son), of which Malema is a trustee.In the report, a “seasoned businessman” alleged that Malema uses the trust to receive kickbacks for facilitating government tenders.

On Monday, the league’s deputy president, Ronald Lamola; its secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa; and its treasurer-general Pule Mabe addressed the media at Luthuli House in central Joburg.

Magaqa led the charge in bashing the media, saying: “The media can write until they are pink in the face. It is all nonsense.”He also disputed the claim that the trust was secret.

He said: “The Ratanang Family Trust is not a secret fund, and all honest media and South Africans are fully aware [of this]. It is registered and tax compliant.”

Lamola said media ownership in South Africa remained in the hands of white people and that black journalists “. . . are just messengers of their handlers”.

On the businessman’s claim that he had deposited R200 000 into the trust, Lamola dared anyone with proof to go to the police.Mabe said the “faceless thug” was lying about the R200 000 and that he must be prosecuted if he was involved in bribery.

The league launched an attack on the wealthy Rupert family on Wednesday, with its spokesperson Floyd Shivambu saying that the family “had funded apartheid since the 1940s”, and is “the majority shareholder of the Afrikaner-dominated Naspers group” (which owns Media24, City Press’ stable).

He said that Media24 publications were “pushing the apartheid ideology [to] portray black people as corrupt”.

The Ruperts said they were surprised by the attack, as they had in the past been “criticised by Naspers for opposing apartheid”.

Malema spoke out against the allegations for the first time on Thursday, revealing that the trust’s beneficiaries were his son and grandmother. He said the trust was mainly for charitable causes and many businesspeople had deposited money into the trust to fund his charities.

“Why is City Press protecting a criminal who has paid a bribe and who has accepted that [he has paid] a bribe? Such a person must be exposed. And, by the way, I’m taking you to court City Press for defamation of character,” he said.

But Malema’s lawyer Marothi Ledwaba, who represented the firebrand in his failed bid to gag City Press last Saturday, said he had not received any instruction from Malema to sue the paper.

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