Expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema is being deserted by his friends, who now treat him as leper, it was reported on Sunday.
"I have lost a lot of friends. I am one person who believes that those who leave you during difficult moments were never with you even before ...," he said in an interview with the Rapport and City Press newspapers.
"We've seen friends vacillating. We've seen friends bowing to the pressure of the enemy.
"We've seen friends speaking in tongues and some are even so ashamed to be seen with you in public because to them you look like you've got leprosy and some don't even take your calls. If they do, they are very impatient," he told the newspapers.
It was reported that Malema was facing bankruptcy as a result of a R16-million tax bill, of which he was thought to be able to pay only R4-million, and could lose the cabbages, tomatoes and cattle he now farms.
According to the report, he had, though his lawyer, accepted liability for his tax, had denied trying to evade tax, and hoped a settlement could be reached.
He told the newspapers his privacy as a taxpayer should be respected. "There is no cent that comes from drugs or the underworld. I am an open book. There is nothing that the state doesn't know about me," he said.
Malema is on trial in Polokwane on 51 charges including racketeering, corruption and fraud arising from the awarding of tenders by the Limpopo government.
According to the reports, one his co-accused, Limpopo businessman Lesiba Gwangwa, was thought to be cooperating with investigators. However, he had denied turning state witness against Malema. – Sapa