Julius Malema, who once harboured the idea that he is more powerful than any living human being, is the best example of the leprosy of human greed. Since the 1994 breakthrough, no other black person has been a victim of greed than Julius Malema. I mean who else has acquired the assets that Malema has acquired at his age, through dubius means?
Despite his poor academic history Malema, at 32, boasts among his (soon-to-be-seized) properties two residential properties, valued at more than a million Rands each, a fleet of luxury vehicles, a farm, Rolex watches, designer clothes, imported wines and whiskies, etc. Please do not accuse me of jealousy, seeing that though I am a few years older than Malema, I am far from achieving what he has (at least before the items were seized). I am not jealous of him.
In fact I am the first person to celebrate young black achievers, whether they share my convictions or not. I use all the platforms at my disposal to encourage young Africans to avoid the colonization of the mind by falling prey to the pangs of greed. So, lest I am wrongly judged, I am not jealous of Julius Malema.
Julius Malama is a fearless and determined politician. An excellent orator, he is capable of flooring many of his opponents with his sharp, witty remarks. He is a natural smooth player and is able to find his way through difficult situations. Very few politicians in South Africa have these crucial attributes. But Malema has. Apart from his knack to hurl insults at those he differs with, Malema’s other enemy is his weakness to the demands of greed.
By 30 September 2010, Julius Malema had more than R3 million in his trust fund, named the Ratanang Family Trust. According to reports, the only beneficiary of the Trust is Malema’s son, who the Fund was named after. Ratanang’s Trustees are Malema and his grandmother. According to the state’s informants, Malema ran a scheme where he “negotiated” tenders on behalf of tenderpreneurs, who had to pay him and agreed upon amount once they were paid by the municipality of state department concerned.
Malema would then ‘hide’ the money in this Trust account. The other money would be used to buy houses, cars, farm properties, expensive watches, designer clothes, wines, and food. These were intended to sustain a particular lifestyle that is consistent with ‘rich’ people. The problem with this instant ‘wealth’ is that it makes the head to swell very quickly. Any person who has received money for which he barely sweated for, is likely to believe that he is above everything and everybody under the sun. “Do you know who I am”, is often their response to anybody who is thought to be undermining. This is the opposite of someone who has worked for decades building an empire. The latter is likely to be polite and humble to others, often denying his wealth to the public.
When traffic officers stopped him for speeding in Seshego on 14 October 2009, Malema shouted at them; “Who do you think you are? Do you not realise that I am Julius, president of the (ANC) Youth League?” In the history of the ANCYL, there has never been a president who so openly believed they were above the law like Malema. Because of his (ill-gotten) riches, Malema somehow convinced himself that he was a better person.
According to online dictionary Definitions.net, greed is the excessive desire to acquire or possess more, (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves. Malema, a single man with a sole child living with his grandmother in Limpopo, lived in a mansion in Johannesburg. He drove many luxurious cars. He wore expensive watches, clothes and perfumes. He influenced the BBBEE system to enrich himself beyond his basic needs. Did he need all these things? I don’t think so. All these possessions were induced by his ‘excessive desire’ to acquire more than he needed. And, as per the definitions given above, Malema was plain greedy.
There are important lessons we should learn from the Malema case study we have provided above. Firstly, it is important that we must always avoid the temptation to think that a political leadership position equals proximity to the creator. A leadership position is a temporary arrangement that carries tangible tasks and responsibilities.
Secondly, we must encourage young people to reject all forms of greed. Greed is like leprosy, it is infectious and we must encourage those we interact with to avoid any contact with greedy people. And lastly, the downfall of Malema must remind us that there are no short cuts to success. Success is earned through labour and sweat. It takes years of determination and selflessness for a person to be successful. And for all these and other lessons that we have learnt, we must be thankful to Malema.
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