Malema flies in mining giant’s chopper

2010-09-26 09:33

On the eve of the ANC’s national general council (NGC), two of the most ardent proponents of nationalisation were being flown across the country in a helicopter owned by mining ­giant Exxaro.

Last Friday, ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema and deputy police minister Fikile Mbalula flew to King Goodwill Zwelithini’s ­Linduzulu Palace in Exxaro’s chopper, registration ZS – RAY.

Malema had been summoned by the monarch to explain his “one man, one wife” comment, which had been seen as a slight against Zuma and Zulu culture.

The same chopper was earlier used by the two to fly to Heilbron in the Free State.

Critics say the nationalisation campaign could be used as a way for ­government to bail out mining houses.

Exxaro spokesperson Hilton Atkinson said the company’s helicopter was managed by a private air charter company and could be “leased out to third parties on request”.

He confirmed that it had been used by the ANCYL on September 12 and September 17 “as part of a normal lease transaction, with the services being ­invoiced by the air charter firm”.

Atkinson said Exxaro leased the ­helicopter out to “increase our return on investment”.

“The use of the helicopter by any third party does not necessarily imply Exxaro’s association or support for such a party.”

He said Exxaro had no relationship with Malema or Mbalula, and did not contribute to the ANC or the league’s coffers.

ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said the chopper had been chartered from aviation company Alpine Aviation and was paid for by the ANCYL.

“We can show you the invoice. We don’t even know who Exxaro is,” Shivambu said.

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