Malema blew R3m through his trust
Adriaan Basson and Xolani Mbanjwa, City Press
Johannesburg - Expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema is a Gucci millionaire and not “poor” as he claims.
As Malema’s political career draws to a close, City Press can reveal that in 2010 alone, different donors deposited more than R3m into Malema’s Ratanang Family Trust, which is currently the subject of a criminal investigation by the Hawks.
With his options of remaining in the ANC running out fast, focus now shifts to at least four investigations into Malema’s financial affairs and business interests.
The Hawks, public protector, South African Revenue Service and the Master of the High Court are finalising forensic investigations into the extent of Malema’s wealth and the role of his family trust in benefiting from Limpopo government tenders.
City Press can reveal that more than R2m of the deposits into Malema’s trust in 2010 were made in cash.
In the same year, withdrawals and payments of more than R3m were made from the trust. Two recipients of money from Malema’s trust were Gucci clothing and the five-star Twelve Apostles hotel in Cape Town.
The information was corroborated by two independent sources with direct knowledge of Malema’s affairs.
The only beneficiary of the trust is Malema’s son and all transactions are legally supposed to benefit him.
Malema and his grandmother, Sarah, are the trustees.
Earning more than R3m a year places Malema among the country’s top earners.
Although their packages were propped up by performance bonuses, Malema’s income through the trust was on a par with the salaries of Investec chief executive Stephen Koseff, who, according to the Sunday Times rich list, drew a salary of R3.5m in 2010; Mvelaphanda head Mikki Xayiya with R3.2m, and Basil Read’s Marius Heyns, who earned a salary of R3.1m in 2010.
The ANC’s national disciplinary committee expelled Malema from the governing party last week after it found he had threatened the party and held it to ransom.
Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela says
their investigation is ongoing but will not give details. “We will issue
statements only when the investigation is concluded. We will not give a
blow-by-blow account,” he says.
Justice department spokesperson
Tlali Tlali says although the master has not finalised his investigation
into the trust, “significant ground has been covered”.
and his grandmother have co-operated with the master’s office and the
probe is expected to be concluded “in the next few weeks”.
Protector Thuli Madonsela has already stopped On-Point Engineering – a
private firm partly owned by Malema’s trust – from adjudicating roads
and transport tenders in Limpopo.
On-Point was awarded a R51m tender by the Limpopo roads and transport department in 2009 to
manage a “project management unit” that designs, implements and oversees
roads projects in the province.
Madonsela told City Press last
week she had hoped to finalise her report into tenders awarded to
companies in which Malema has an interest by the beginning of March, but
was still busy.
“The investigation is at an advanced stage, but
we have not been able to meet our deadline because it is a forensic
investigation that involves a whole lot of documents. We have extended
the deadline because we want to ensure that everything is explained on
paper and in writing.
“We will release an interim report, not for
public consumption, by the end of March or hopefully in the middle of
March,” said Madonsela.
City Press understands that Malema and
his lawyers are in discussions with Sars about tax compliance issues
affecting his trust and business interests linked to the trust.
Africa Report quoted sources last month saying sufficient evidence had
been gathered to charge Malema with tax evasion and money laundering.
reported Malema’s personal tax affairs were now in order after he was
given a year to sort out paperwork and pay funds owed to Sars, but his
businesses were in trouble.
“The forensic teams going through his
and other ANC politicians’ business interests in Limpopo with a
fine-tooth comb have discovered several violations of regulations
"They are also understood to have established a paper
trail linking shell companies to Malema’s trust, with what could be
instances of money laundering,” the journal reported.
revealed the existence of the trust in July last year. Before that,
Malema claimed he was “poor but creditworthy” and that he lived from
“handouts” from people like Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale.
businessman told City Press he had to pay money into the trust after
Malema assisted him to obtain a Limpopo government tender. Property
developer David Mabilu and building material supplier Steve Bosch have
been identified as other benefactors of the trust.
calculated that Malema needed at least a salary of R123 000 per month to
sustain his lavish lifestyle. His salary from the ANC is rumoured to
have been R50 000 or less per month.
Malema’s spokesperson Floyd
Shivambu previously told City Press he would not respond to “futile
fishing expeditions” by the newspaper.