Caster puts varsity exams before Julius

2009-10-03 15:41

OLYMPIC gold medallist Caster Semenya was conspicuous by her absence during ANC Youth League president Julius Malema’s visit to her village on Friday.

Semenya didn’t attend because she starts writing her university examinations tomorrow.

But the visit wasn’t short of drama, as Malema told hundreds of villagers in Limpopo to shift their bank accounts from Nedbank or to never consider doing business with that bank.

Addressing about 600 people at Ga-Masehlong village on Friday, where he had gone to give ­Semenya’s family “practical support”, Malema promised to help “recruit” Nedbank’s clients to any other bank that agreed to sponsor Athletics South Africa (ASA).

Semenya’s personal coach Michael Seme said she was busy with preparations for her university exams and was not even invited to the event. He said the sprinting sensation would write her first ­exam tomorrow.

Semenya declined to comment.

“Caster is at school in Pretoria. We were not expecting her and it is good she did not come because she has to focus on her exams,” said Malema.

He again took a swipe at Nedbank for withdrawing its sponsorship from ASA while also warning the embattled ­association’s president Leonard Chuene that the league would not provide with blind support.

He told ululating crowds: “Since Caster comes from the province you must be the first people, if you have any Nedbank account, to shift it to other banks. Since we are poor and do not even have lots of money, let us simply go to the ATMs, withdraw our last cents and leave the cards right there.”

Nedbank’s media relations manager Greg Harwood could not be reached for comment.

The bank maintained this week that its decision to dump ASA had nothing to do with the Semenya debacle, adding that its “dissatisfaction with the quality of delivery by ASA of some events, including the City Marathon and the Matha series, in the past year is well known, and the negotiation to end the contract had commenced well before the start of the current controversy surrounding ASA”.

The youth league’s “practical” support to Semenya’s family included groceries, a plan for a new three-bedroomed house and R120 000.

His close friend Ali Boshielo and another businessman, Thulani Nkuna, would build the house, Malema said.

Malema said the “Good Samaritans” would get “nothing” in return from the ANC “because we are not a corrupt organisation the way many of you would want to perceive us”.

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