Malema: My money is nobody's business
Johannesburg - It was nobody's business where he got his money from - and his supporters did not mind his lavish lifestyle, ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema said on Wednesday.
"One of the things I've learnt in my short life in politics is the ability to live in the conditions of capitalism while fighting it and defeating it," he told reporters in Johannesburg.
Malema had called a media briefing to respond to a Sunday Independent report at the weekend that he was building himself a R16m house in the posh Johannesburg Sandown suburb.
First he said the news report only existed in "the imaginations of right-wing, narrow-minded and obsessed white people".
Then he told a journalist who asked where he got his money from: "It's none of your business... you must mind your own business."
'Not accountable to media'
He was a private citizen and not accountable to the media, said the African National Congress Youth League leader.
If the SA Revenue Service were to investigate him about the reported Sandown house, following a complaint from the Democratic Alliance, he would co-operate fully.
He added he was confident his taxes were in order, before launching into an attack against "ruthless capitalism".
"If you are a capitalist, you are an exploiter."
Asked how he justified his own expensive lifestyle - he lives in Sandton and drives a Mercedes Benz - Malema responded that poor people did not mind if their leaders were rich.
He boasted that he was "the only remaining leading political figure in the country who gets welcomed in the squatter camps".
"In this country, there are some amongst the poor who are saying Cyril Ramaphosa must be the president. He's a multi-millionaire.
"Some amongst the masses are saying Tokyo Sexwale must be president. He's rich. They don't care about his money, our people don't care about our money. What they care about is political consciousness, the will to liberate them," said Malema.
‘I remain poor’
"It's not about where we stay. Our people know that very well. It's not about the type of shoes we wear. That is petty. Our people want the political will and the ability to act and that is what we are doing."
Malema said he considered himself to be poor, because his house in Sandton and his car were owned by the bank.
"My definition of rich is those who own the means of production, I do not own...
"Instead of being rich, I remain poor but I'm creditworthy...
"That house you [the media] always make a noise about in Sandton - not the one you allege I'm building - it's owned by Absa. And if I fail to pay it, for sure, Maria Ramos [Absa group chief executive] would be very happy she's taking a house from a man who is leading a nationalisation campaign, because she does not want nationalisation."
Negative media coverage of him was all part of a drive to undermine the agenda he represented.
‘I would surrender my land’
"I represent nationalisation of mines, expropriation of land, decentralisation of development, free education, the liberation of the working class."
The ANCYL would only meet with the Chamber of Mines to discuss nationalisation if the chamber agreed to hold the meeting in a poor rural village, so that the mining bosses could "appreciate where we're coming from".
On land expropriation, Malema supported it if it happened in the public's interest.
He would even give up his Sandton house or his farm if land expropriation on those properties were to be taken in public interest.
"I've got a house here in Sandton. If tomorrow they say, that house, there is a need for a street to pass there and therefore they are expropriating it, I would not have a problem.
"I've got a farm with cattle... if I go home and they say they want to build a school, if it is in public interest, I would surrender it."
But if the government wanted to give the land to "an individual", Malema would not hand it over.
"We are talking about expropriation of land for public interest and public purpose. Not for individual benefit, not for political leadership benefits. That is anarchy. We will never allow that."