A tale of two Jonahs: Malema and 'that' lifestyle

2016-04-25 09:42
Julius Malema. (AFP)

Julius Malema. (AFP)

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Cape Town - It was a tale of two Jonahs as Al Jazeera's Jonah Hull dared to "go there" and ask Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema about his once flashy lifestyle.

In 2010, the BBC's Jonah Fisher was given his marching orders from a press conference at ANC headquarters Luthuli House when he asked Malema a similar question.

At that time, still the president of the ANC Youth League, Malema was criticising Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai for criticising President Robert Mugabe from the comfort of air conditioned offices in Sandton.

Fisher rose to point out that Malema lived in Sandton. Malema lost his temper and insulted Fisher, calling him a "bloody agent" and referring to the ''rubbish you've got covered in that trouser''.

On Sunday night, Al Jazeera broadcast an interview with Malema on the party's policies and his own ambitions. It rounded off by broaching the topic of the expensive clothes and watches and the multi-million rand house in Sandton he had before being expelled from the ANC.

''No, everybody in South Africa knows about my money. My money was in the newspapers,'' he told Hull with a half-smile.

''It was a house that was built by a group of comrades. It was not an individual house. It was not my house, although the bond, it was in my name. It was a collective decision.''

The Range Rover he used to drive was on loan from a friend who had since died.

Breitling watch, designer clothes

He seemed a little defensive about the Breitling watch and designer clothes ''worth thousands of dollars'' he wore before switching to a red boiler suit.

''I was working, I bought them,'' he said of the clothes. ''No, no I'm not going to walk naked. Those clothes are mine. You are creating sensationalism.

"Rands and dollars are two different things. There has never been anyone who quantified if those clothes and watches are thousands of dollars,'' said Malema, dressed in a purple and blue shirt, slacks, and a red windbreaker.

He said people confused a person who was presentable, with a person wearing expensive clothes.

Some of the watches were given to him by ''well-wishers'' in the ANC. He added he had had no influence over tenders or business.

Malema's Sandton house and a farm in Limpopo were among assets seized when Malema faced allegations of tax evasion and tender corruption. He came to a settlement with Sars and the tender fraud charges involving the Limpopo roads department were dropped.

And the interview ended on a friendly note as Malema made a jibe at Hull, who was dressed in a suit and rainbow- coloured socks.

''I have never been conspicuous like you," Malema said.

Read more on:    eff  |  julius malema

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