/ 24 July 2011

Cosatu: Time to ‘discover the truth’ about Malema

Cosatu: Time To 'discover The Truth' About Malema

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Sunday called for an investigation into the financial affairs of African National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema.

Julius Malema insists he’s a private member of the public and isn’t obliged to disclose the ins and outs of his finances. Watch the video of the press conference where he lambasts the media for infringing on his rights.

“We call for an investigation by the ANC’s committee on ethics and members’ interests, the SA Revenue Service (Sars) and the Special Investigations Unit into the allegations,” spokesperson Patrick Craven said in a statement.

This came after AfriForum laid a corruption case against Malema on Sunday, after it was reported that he had a trust fund for deposits from business people.

Sars should investigate possible tax evasion and undertake a lifestyle audit on Malema to “discover the truth” about his financial affairs, Craven said.

A complaint was laid against Malema in accordance with the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2004, AfriForum’s CEO Kallie Kriel told reporters outside the Brooklyn police station in Pretoria on Sunday.

The Act deals with corrupt activities relating to receiving or offering of unauthorised gratification.

“We can’t have people that use political contacts to enrich themselves at the cost of the poor,” said Kriel.

Sole trustee
City Press reported on Sunday that Malema was the sole trustee of a family trust, registered in the name of his five-year-old son, which he allegedly uses to finance his lavish lifestyle.

According to the newspaper, the Ratanang Family Trust was registered at the Office of the Master of the High Court in Pretoria in 2008, just weeks after Malema was elected president of the youth league.

Citing two “independent, well-placed sources with knowledge of Malema’s financial dealings”, City Press said the trust was being used “by the youth leader and his benefactors” to fund his lifestyle.

“Thousands of rands” were deposited into the account on a regular basis, said the report, quoting the sources.

“Frequent deposits are being made from different banks, especially in Limpopo.”

City Press said Malema had denied that the trust was being used to launder illicit funds, but “declined to divulge its purpose or bank balance”.

The youth league’s spokesperson Floyd Shivambu was not immediately available for comment.

Private life
The African National Congress’s Brian Sokutu reiterated that Malema’s “private life remains private”.

“If he had broken the law, we would certainly be concerned. He is neither a member of Parliament nor a government official and it is therefore not unethical for him to be involved in any form of business.”

On Saturday, Malema sought an urgent court interdict to stop City Press publishing a report on the trust, but this was dismissed by Judge Colin Lamont in the South Gauteng High Court.

Lamont ruled that Malema was a public figure and that publishing the story was in the public interest. He also found the evidence contained in the City Press story to be “credible”.

Malema’s legal team reportedly argued that his public image could be seriously damaged if details of the trust fund were published.

Last week Malema said that it was “nobody’s business” where he got his money from.

He called the media briefing to respond to a Sunday Independent report last weekend that he was building himself a R16-million house in Johannesburg’s Sandown suburb.

Opposition political parties have called on Sars to investigate Malema’s wealth.

On Sunday, the Democratic Alliance said it would write to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, requesting her to investigate the latest allegations levelled against Malema.

“It most certainly is in the public interest to know whether political leaders are involved in corrupt, self-serving practices that promote the interests of a privileged few while the greater majority of South Africans continue to live in poverty, said the party’s Dianne Kohler Barnard.

Meanwhile, AfriForum said it would monitor the police investigation to ensure that nothing was “swept under the carpet”. – Sapa