Malema’s triple blow

2011-08-20 20:20

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema has been dealt three severe body blows in the past two days.

» Yesterday the Hawks confirmed they had launched a full-blown criminal investigation into the financial dealings of Malema, his family trust and companies linked to him;

» Malema physically shivered when the ANC served him with notice of a disciplinary hearing on Friday, which could lead to his expulsion from the party for five years;

» Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has in effect reopened her investigation into Malema’s business dealings in Limpopo after she previously found no wrongdoing. Malema used this as proof that his hands were clean.

Confirmation of a criminal investigation into Malema comes four weeks after City Press revealed the existence of Malema’s family trust and published details about alleged corrupt payments being made into the trust’s bank account by a Limpopo businessman.

The City Press exposé led to criminal charges being laid against Malema by lobby group AfriForum at the Brooklyn police station.

Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela confirmed yesterday that the Hawks took a decision a week ago to “formally” investigate Malema, his family trust and business entities linked to him for fraud and corruption.

He declined to give details of the investigation, saying “we will be doing our job quietly, and will not be giving blow-by-blow updates”.

AfriForum’s charges were based on provisions of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, which warrants a police investigation into individuals whose lifestyles are disproportionate to their known income.

City Press has learned that a substantial lobby in the ANC national executive committee (NEC) believes that Malema should be permanently expelled from the organisation, but that they are likely to settle on a five-year suspension.

This will take all those charged out of contention for youth league leadership positions for good, and will neutralise the youth league in the run-up to next year’s national conference in Mangaung, where the young lions had planned to unseat President Jacob Zuma as well as secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.

Tomorrow, the ANC will reportedly bring charges against the league’s deputy president, Ronald Lamola, secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa and treasurer Pule Mabe.

The league has called a special national executive committee of its 35 members today to deal with the charges.

The early strategy is for the league’s 600 000-odd members to march on regional and provincial offices in support of their leaders.

City Press can today reveal that an engineering company partly owned by Malema’s Ratanang Family Trust paid more than R400 000 towards the youth league’s national general council (NGC) in August last year.

On-Point Engineering, a company that derives most of its income from Limpopo government tenders, made two payments of R300 000 and R120 000, respectively, days before the start of the youth league’s NGC in Midrand.

The payments were referenced “Ngc” and “Ngc Delegates”.

The revelation of payments by On-Point for the benefit of the youth league raises questions about whether On-Point is used as a vehicle to channel government funding to the youth league.

ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa told City Press that it was definitely not the mother body that received money from On-Point.

“We don’t know that company. We have never asked them for money and never received money from them,” Phosa said.

Neither Malema, league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu nor On-Point’s chief executive Lesiba Gwangwa responded to questions sent by City Press.

The two payments are contained in selected bank statements of On-Point’s business cheque account handed to City Press this week by a source with inside knowledge of On-Point’s financial affairs (see rag above).

The statement also contains a payment of R32 251 to “Lithuli House” (sic), made on June 22 2010.

The youth league’s NGC, a mid-term policy review gathering of league branches, took place from 24 to 27 August last year at Gallagher Estate in Midrand.

The council was characterised by the singing of songs in support of Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula (who the youth league wants to replace Mantashe in Mangaung); the booing of Young Communist League national secretary Buti Manamela; pro-nationalisation speeches; and Malema’s calls for the youth league to constitute 70% of the ANC’s NGC “so we can influence decisions”.

On-Point was awarded a R51?million 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 will now investigate whether this contract is legal.

The bank statement shows that On-Point was paid R13.3 million by the roads and transport department between June and October last year.

Department spokesperson Thesan Moodley told City Press the details of payments to On-Point were confidential.

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