Malema 'misses' R3m

2010-02-23 22:40

Johannesburg - ANC Youth leader Julius Malema, who claimed that he has "never seen a million rand", bought his first house for R1m cash and put down a deposit of at least R2.1m on his second one.

Deeds office records show that Malema bought a R1m house in Polokwane in May 2007 without the assistance of a home loan.

Only about two years later, in February 2009, did he take out a bond of R850 000 on that property.

"That means that when he bought the house in 2007 he had the money available to buy it cash," said Faan Coetzee, a lawyer.

On Monday during a media conference Malema, responding to allegations about his extravagant lifestyle, said he cannot afford to pay cash for a house and that he is paying off his property monthly just like any other "young working person".

In August last year, four months after the Zuma government took over, Malema's financial situation improved to such an extent that without selling the other property he was able to buy another expensive house in Sandown, Johannesburg for R3.6m.

This time he did take out a bond, but for only R1.5m.

That means he had to pay at least R2.1m out of his own pocket.

Fees, duties add up to R200 000

A property expert consulted by Beeld said that conveyancing fees and transfer duties would have amounted to about R200 000, which means that Malema's deposit was probably closer to about R2.3m.

Coetzee said Malema would have had to pay the amount to a lawyer in the form of cash or a bank guarantee.

AfriForum youth leader Ernst Roets said this information raises new questions about Malema's business interests.

"If Julius Malema's only income is his ANC salary, as he claims, the question is how he could have afforded a deposit of more than R2m. If he didn't pay it, one wonders who did."

According to the deeds office records the previous owner of Malema's house bought the property for R305 000 in 1998.

Property expert Erwin Rode said the most likely explanation for the apparent "excessive growth" in 11 years is that the previous owner bought a vacant plot and then built the house on it.

'These are all lies'

A furore over tenders erupted around Malema over the weekend after it appeared that a company of which he is a director was awarded state tenders of at least R140m in Limpopo.

At the media conference on Monday, Malema vehemently denied that he had gained financially by the deal.

"I have never influenced any tender. I have never seen a million rand or a bank balance of a million rand. These are all lies."

He said that he resigned from all companies as far back as 2008, but available company records still list him as an active director of at least three companies and a close corporation.

Malema could not be reached for comment on Tuesday and his spokesperson, Floyd Shivambu, did not respond to any messages.