ANC, ANCYL dismiss Malema lifestyle reports

2010-02-20 11:26

THE governing ANC and its youth league yesterday demanded a

retraction and an apology from The Star newspaper for a report on league

president Julius Malema’s lifestyle.

“These reports are not only far-fetched, but they are also untrue

as much as they are deceitful,” the ANC and ANC Youth League said in a joint

statement. “In our view they are meant to tarnish the good name and image of the

ANC Youth League president.”

The two organisations described as untrue the newspaper’s claim

that Malema bought houses – with a combined worth of almost R5 million – cash,

saying he went through banks.

The Star reported that Malema bought a three-bedroom home in

Sandown, north of Johannesburg, for R3.6 million in December. He had another

home in Polokwane for which he paid R1 million.

The ANC and ANCYL also dismissed as untrue the newspaper’s claim

that Malema earned a salary of about R20 000 a month, but did not reveal his

actual salary.

ANC spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said in a telephonic interview that

the party did not dispute that Malema used a number of cars, however, he had

only “one car in his name”.

According to The Star’s article, Malema owns a black Mercedes-Benz

AMG, which retails at R734 000, but has been seen driving an Aston Martin and a

red Range Rover Sport.

He attended a University of the Witwatersrand lecture on Thursday

in a brand-new white Range Rover – with no number plates – which sells for

R1.2 million.

The ANC and ANCYL have threatened to take the matter to the press

ombudsman unless the newspaper publicly apologises to Malema.

“We will support any action on the side of the president of the

youth league, comrade Julius Malema, against the newspaper in defence of his

name, image and integrity.

“It is very unfortunate that a newspaper as reputable as The Star

would stoop so low by reporting so inaccurately about the personal affairs of

any person including comrade Julius Malema.

“We will also want to be provided reasons, through the apology that

we are demanding, as to the actual intentions of The Star newspaper and its

reporter of putting to the public so inaccurate information bordering on

defaming the youth league president.”

The newspaper described the article as a “lifestyle audit” and

wrote that it was “the first in a series of articles on the lifestyles of South

Africa’s politicians”.

The article followed the announcement by Finance Minister Pravin

Gordhan, in his budget speech on Wednesday, that targeted lifestyle audits would

be conducted this year.

The ANC and its youth league expressed concern about the rest of

newspaper’s planned series on lifestyle audits, and further asked what was to be

expected from such audits if the first lifestyle audit was “so off the


The Freedom Front Plus said after the report was published

yesterday, it would ask the South African Revenue Service to “immediately”

investigate both Malema and his “real contribution” to income tax in recent

years, and the youth league itself.

Among other claims, The Star reported that Malema had been seen

wearing a Gucci suit and a Breitling watch worth about R250 000, and that he was

the director of four companies.

These were: 101 Junjus Trading CC, Blue Nightingale Trading 61,

Ever Roaring Investment and SGL Engineering Projects.

“If all the information is correct, then Mr Malema maintains a

lifestyle which is far above his income,” said FFPlus Parliamentary spokesperson

Anton Alberts. “A comprehensive investigation by the SA Revenue Service will

indicate whether this deduction is reasonable.

“He cannot, just like (World War Two Soviet leader, dictator

Joseph) Stalin, give himself out to be a communist who wants to nationalise

mines, but at the same time live like a capitalist.”

Approached by The Star for comment on the report, Malema said: “You

and your husband and your family – that’s who you need to write about. You go

away, just go away.”

ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu accused the newspaper of being


“I think you need to rethink what you are doing. What business is

this of yours? How dare you call me and ask for comment on this?” he told the


Mnisi, however, said the reporter should not have approached Malema

directly, but should have used the “proper channels”, which would have included

contacting not only the ANCYL, but official ANC spokesmen.

Concerns about Malema’s standard of living are not new.

As far back as September, the lifestyle image he was projecting was

questioned, most notably in the book, The World According to Julius Malema,

co-authored by author and columnist Max du Preez and journalist Mandy


An excerpt on the Mail&Guardian Online notes that Malema

insisted “he lives within his means”. However, it observes that he parties at

Johannesburg’s trendiest clubs, “where there is no limit to the consumption of

Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky and Veuve Clicquot French champagne”.

“He lives in a big, smart house in upmarket Sandton and is always

seen in expensive cars, from BMWs to Lexus’s to Mercedes-Benz’s.

“Very comfortable in designer labels such as Fabiani, Malema

insists that his flashy lifestyle shouldn’t be an issue.

“It’s not me, it is this office. When I come here they give me a

cellphone, a laptop, and they’re trying to make my work easier. I don’t know

which car is which one. When they come to me and say, ‘chief, we are using this

car today’, I get in and we go.”

The excerpt continues: “The car that I drive means it meets my

salary and the ANC car scheme. The house that I have, it means my salary can

afford it, so I didn’t rob anybody, I didn’t take from the poor to have what I


Malema adds: “If we are going to refuse the youth to drive these

cars it means they are only good for white youth. Ours will never drive those

cars. So we must sit and appreciate the good things by whites and not by one of

our own. That’s what we’re trying to break.”

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