Malema insists on investigating 'irregularities'
ANC Youth League president Julius Malema says threats against its leadership will not stop the league from investigating the financial affairs of its investment arm, Lembede.
Malema this week confirmed that ANCYL leaders received threats after the Mail & Guardian reported last week that prominent league members, including Andile Nkuhlu, Lunga Ncwana and Songezo Mjonkile, allegedly benefited from transactions under Lembede’s banner.
The new board of Lembede, chaired by ANCYL treasurer Pule Mabe, asked auditing firm Gobodo earlier this month to probe Lembede’s financial affairs. The M&G has learned that the investigation may focus on some of these individuals. There is no suggestion that Nkuhlu, Mjonkile and Ncwana were behind the threats. This week Malema said the threats had been made in a string of telephone calls and SMSes to some leaders.
He said the league has not reported the matter to the police and is dealing with it internally.
“We are engaging people who send SMSes to our comrades. There are people who think we are engaged in a witch-hunt after we appointed Gobodo.
“But we can’t come in and inherit the legacy of past leaders. There have been many stories about Lembede. We want to know where our assets are,” he said. Nkuhlu, Mjonkile and Ncwana are shareholders in Itsoseng Investments, which holds a 50% stake in one of Lembede’s subsidiaries, Lembede Resources.
The implication of their co-ownership is that they benefited personally from transactions.
Lembede Resources has sewn up mineral rights worth hundreds of millions of rand. One deal involves a 26% stake in the mineral rights of companies in the stable of murdered mining magnate Brett Kebble: Randgold & Exploration, JCI and the Free State Development Corporation.
According to the ANCYL’s internal report these rights have been valued at R195-million. But because Itsoseng owns half of Lembede Resources, the league’s share is only R97-million. Nkuhlu said he had no problem with the ANCYL appointing Gobodo to investigate Lembede, but he would have expected itsleaders to inform Itsoseng about the investigation.
“To the extent that Itsoseng is a shareholder of Lembede Resources, I would have preferred our 50% co-shareholders to have informed us of their process. I am now being called to answer on issues about which I have no control or proper background,” he said. “I would have liked Lembede and the Youth League to handle this issue differently.”
He was confident that the due diligence process would prove that the appointment of Gobodo was a waste of time and money.