Julius's web of influence
Julius Malema’s business partner has scored again—this time from Limpopo’s roads and transport department.
On-Point Engineers, a company belonging to Lesiba Gwangwa and Kagisho Dichabe, was awarded a R51-million tender by the department in October last year to establish a project management unit (PMU) to assist with “internal capacity building”.
Gwangwa is Malema’s co-director in SGL Engineering Projects, the company at the centre of this week’s controversy over the R140-million that has flowed from Limpopo municipalities to SGL’s account.
Malema has denied that he ever signed up to be a director of SGL, but could not explain why he was listed as such by the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro).
His lawyer, Tumi Mokwena, told the Mail & Guardian: “Julius only became aware that he was listed as a director of SGL on Sunday. He didn’t know that he was part of the company. I will investigate how he was registered because my instructions are that he never signed to become a director.”
Gwangwa said: “I have no comment, thank you very much,” and rang off.
Malema vehemently denied this week that he has ever benefited from the government of Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale, also his close friend.
But the disclosure of the On-Point contract shows that his business partner has. Limpopo’s roads and transport department is headed by provincial minister Pinky Kekana, also considered part of Malema’s inner circle (see below).
Department spokesperson Obed Langa said the tender was advertised “due to a shortfall in technical skills to implement multi-sectored projects in roads, public transport and traffic management”.
Langa also confirmed that SGL benefited from the former Limpopo government under premier Sello Moloto with a R515 000 tender issued by Roads Agency Limpopo for “design work”.
To establish Malema’s web of influence, the M&G performed extensive background searches this week, including interviews with associates and an analysis of the registrar of companies’ records.
The following people are directly or indirectly linked to him:
- Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale. Malema told Talk Radio 702 this week that Mathale was his “comrade. I’m very close to him. He is one of the most disciplined cadres of the struggle. He has never faltered in his life”;
- Limpopo local government and housing minister Soviet Lekganyane, a member of the ANC Youth League’s provincial executive committee while Malema was provincial youth league secretary;
- Lesiba Gwangwa, Malema’s business partner in SGL Engineering Projects. Gwangwa is also a director or member of eight other entities, including On-Point Engineers;
- Sello Rasethaba, Malema’s close friend, who was appointed chairperson of Roads Agency Limpopo (RAL), the provincial entity responsible for upgrading Limpopo’s roads, on October 1 last year. Rasethaba was slain mining magnate Brett Kebble’s key empowerment partner;
- Limpopo roads and transport minister Pinky Kekana, who appointed Rasethaba to the RAL and whose department awarded the R51-million project management contract to Gwanga’s On-Point Engineers;
- Nkomotane Clifford Motsepe, Limpopo’s housing department head and a senior ANCYL politician. Motsepe serves on the league’s NEC and was Pinky Kekana’s business partner between 2002 and 2008. Kekana and Motsepe were co-directors of Avax SA 272 before both resigned in January 2008. Motsepe is also an SABC board member nominated by Malema’s spokesperson, Floyd Shivambu;
- Thulani Nkuna, a Polokwane-based businessman indirectly linked to Malema through his shared business interest with Gwangwa in Achir Shelf 6 (Pty) Ltd. Nkuna was also one of the people asked by Malema to build a house for athlete Caster Semenya; and
- Ali Boshielo, a director of the ANCYL’s investment company Lembede Investment Holdings. Malema also asked Boshielo to build a house for Semenya.