I understand him. He understands me

2011-05-21 11:12

What is your relationship with Julius Malema?

Julius is my comrade. I think our comradeship has gone beyond what people might call a rubicon and we are very close.

I understand his thinking and he understands my thinking.

For how long have you guys known each other?

I think I first met him in either 1998, 1999 or 2000.
I then met him again in Joburg when he was the president of the Congress of South African Students.

Ja, then we liked each other. I could see that here we have a leader; I saw a leader in Julius.

Do you get a sense that people hate him, or are they not giving him a chance to explain himself?

They do not listen to him. I cannot say they hate him.

Listen to what he is saying and, based on that, formulate your opinion.

We are fortunate in the ANC and the youth league in particular that it is led by a vibrant person like him.

Does he have undue influence over you or calls the shots in your government?

I know there are people who say I am being controlled by Julius. But you see, I am my own person.

I have my own way of dealing with issues and he knows that. We differ. I cannot stop relating with him now that I am a premier.

What do you think of perceptions that Malema has a huge influence on who gets which tenders and which jobs in your administration?

It is not like that. We must make sure we do things according to the rules.

It would be wrong for us to want an outsider to influence what happens in government because once you do that, people will stop respecting the administration.

What is your relationship with SGL Engineering Projects (a national construction company)?

SGL is Lesiba Gwangwa’s company (Gwanga is a business associate of Mathale).

But, of course, what came out is that at some point Julius was a member of that company and he subsequently stepped down. So, no relations.

Do you see anything wrong with the companies linked to Malema getting tenders from your own administration given that the two of you are openly friends?

There is nothing wrong with Julius doing business.

Companies associated with Malema have been found to have done shoddy jobs on some of the projects. Why are they seemingly not being punished or even blacklisted by government?

If Julius has done anything wrong in providing a service, he must be punished like any other person.

This revolution that we have joined, there are no friends here.

Even Julius, if it reaches a stage where I see that, chief, here you are out of order, we will part ways.

The company Selby Construction has scored some lucrative contracts under your administration. What is your relationship with its bosses Selby Manthata and Ali Boshielo?

Selby is my business partner. Ali, I just know him. There are things that Selby and I did together.

The first interaction I had with him was when he had won a tender.

I did not know him then. He was brought to me by George Maponya of Lenyenye. I think they had a tender to deliver coal.

They came to my house in Nkowankowa and said ‘hey man, we have this tender and we do not have money to deliver’.

Then we sat and calculated how much money was needed. It was R100 000. I said okay, I am going to work with you.

Is it not a conflict of interest, then, when companies with close links to your own family and your friends get tenders from your administration?

No, no, it is not. You see, I can do business with government because I have the right to do that. Equally, Selby has the right to do business with any government institution as long as he does his things procedurally correctly.

Do you have business interests?
Yes, I do. Like I told you, I have been buying and selling.

I do have business interests in the property market and our company is very big. It is growing and we wish it could be the biggest property company in South Africa.

All in all how many companies do you have interests in?

You know, there are companies that are not functional. I started registering companies in 1997.

Is it true that you had interests in up to 60 companies at some point and that you have declared only about 20 to government?

No, you see, let us say me and you decide to register a company, and tomorrow we realise it was a useless exercise and we do not pursue that thing.

In the Cipro (Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office) system they do not take it out because we have decided it was a wrong decision.

But how many have you declared to government currently?

I have declared everything.

How many companies?

Many of them, it is public knowledge. Whether I have traded or not, once it is in the system it is there.

Will you stand for re-election as provincial chair and would you accept deployment for a second term as premier?

I have never refused any responsibilities the movement gave me and will not at any given stage decline a responsibility by the movement.

I always serve at the invitation of the party and if the membership say we think you must avail yourself to serve, I will serve.

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