/ 24 July 2011

Julius Malema, ‘the trust-fund kid’

Julius Malema

A family trust of which ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema is the trustee may explain how he has been ­bankrolling his lifestyle, City Press reported on Sunday.

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.

Malema tried — and failed — to interdict the newspaper on Saturday.

City Press editor Ferial Haffajee said Judge Colin Lamont had found that Malema was a public figure and that publishing the story was in the public interest.

The paper reported that Malema’s trust — the Ratanang Family Trust — named after Malema’s five-year-old son, was registered at the Pretoria High Court on May 13 2008.

The paper quoted two “independent, well-placed sources” with knowledge of Malema’s financial affairs that the trust was a ­vehicle used by the youth league leader and his benefactors to fund his lifestyle. “Thousands of rands” were deposited into the ­account on a regular basis, the paper quoted them as saying.

The paper also quoted a “seasoned businessman” — said to move in Malema’s circle of friends and associates — as saying he had deposited R200 000 into the trust’s bank account after Malema facilitated a government tender for his benefit.

According to the businessman, there were at least 20 other business people who did the same.

Viwe Notshe SC, Malema’s advocate, told the South Gauteng High Court that his ­client did not deny receiving money into the trust, but denied that these payments were bribes.

“He says [the payments] are contributions for this cause and that cause,” City Press said.

Malema refused to answer any further question from the paper.

Judge Colin Lamont said it was in Malema’s power to set the record straight if the trust was clean.

‘Private person’
Malema last week claimed he was a private member of the public and as such could not be expected to volunteer information about his finances to anyone that asked.

‘I am a private person and not bound to be investigated like publicly elected officials,” he said.

Malema was holding forth at a press briefing in Johannesburg, following allegations that he was having a house worth R16-million built in Sandton.

The report prompted the Democratic Alliance and Freedom Front Plus to call on the South African Revenue Services to undertake a lifestyle audit on Malema.