Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Hawks ‘ready to arrest and charge’ Julius Malema

A senior government official and a law enforcement official who have been briefed on the case told the Mail & Guardian the elite police unit is "ready to charge" Malema; and that warrants have been issued for the controversial former ANC Youth League leader's arrest.

"It will happen before long – at least in the coming weeks," one of the sources, who requested anonymity, told the M&G.

The sources said Malema would be arrested on allegations of fraud and corruption connected to the issuing of tenders in Limpopo, and possibly for outstanding tax liabilities with the South African Revenue Service (Sars), which has taken a keen interest in his rapid accumulation of assets.

The fraud and tax evasion allegations are also understood to be directly linked to On-Point engineering – part owned by Malema's Ratanang family trust – which held a contract to administer part of a multibillion-rand Limpopo roads budget. On-Point allegedly owes up to R15-million in unpaid taxes to Sars.

Though allegations of tender fraud date back to 2010, an arrest now would likely spark claims of political or executive interference. But analysts say that would have been the case regardless of the timing.

"When it happens is not important. Either way questions will be asked of the ANC's role in the matter – especially President Jacob Zuma," said Aubrey Matshiqi, political analyst at the Helen Suzman Foundation.

"He [Zuma] will immediately be accused of the exact same thing Thabo Mbeki was accused of – using state organs to settle political scores."

Malema raised the ire of ruling party leaders in recent weeks after he waded into the Marikana mine killings, and his actions have been slammed as political opportunism.

"Marikana was taken over and hijacked. Out of it came counter-revolutionaries to undermine our movement," ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told a Young Communist League public lecture in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni last week.

He strongly criticised those he said were using the strike to further their own political careers.

"It is always dangerous to ride on the corpses of our people."

Mantashe's comments were followed up by a stern warning from tripartite alliance member, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, which warned it would "deal with" Malema.

"For the first time Cosatu is issuing a direct warning to Malema to stop using the Lonmin mine tragedy for his personal agenda," Sipho Dlamini, the labour federation's president told the same gathering. 

'He is finished'
In a further dismissal of Malema's engagement with the Marikana miners, head of the ANC economic transformation unit Enoch Godongwana told a meeting with overseas investors, organised by Merril Lynch, the young firebrand's political career was over.

"Outside the ANC he is finished. The ANC towers over the individual. The ANC has had its fair share of mavericks over the year and Malema is no different," Godongwana was quoted as saying in the Sowetan.

Malema, whose expulsion from the ANC was ratified by the party's disciplinary appeals committee, addressed Marikana residents shortly after the gunning down of 34 workers by police at Lonmin platinum mine in mid-August.

He laid the blame for the tragedy squarely at the government's door, and used the occasion to call for Zuma's resignation.

Along with seven survivors of the shooting, he proceeded to lay charges of murder against the South African Police Service and government.

Malema also transformed a memorial held for the dead miners into a political rally, decrying government's role in the tragedy and calling on South Africans to rise up against the state.

"The democratic government has turned on its people," Malema told the memorial. 

'They don't care about you'
Malema also visited Grootvlei gold mine on the East Rand last week, where he addressed mine workers who haven't been paid in nearly two years, since the mine was taken over by Aurora Empowerment Systems – a company partly owned by Zuma's nephew Khulubuse Zuma and Nelson Mandela's grandson Zondwa Mandela.

"Our leaders have lost their way and have been co-opted by mine owners and fed profits. They don't care about you," Malema told workers. His chants of "Phansi, Zuma, Phansi [down with Zuma]" were met with enthusiastic replies from the workers, who relayed to him their anger with government and the ruling ANC.

While Malema still hopes to be readmitted to the ruling party at its elective conference in Mangaung, the anger he has stoked among ANC leaders in the wake of the Marikana tragedy may have undermined his campaign. And should he be arrested and charged, his return to the fold will likely be made more difficult yet.

Malema ally, suspended ANC Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, reacted with shock when quizzed by the M&G on the supposed arrest, but vowed they would continue on their quest to bring economic liberation to all South Africans.

"I don't know anything about that, but it's intimidation – we won't be deterred," Shivambu said.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Nickolaus Bauer
Nickolaus Bauer is the Mail & Guardian's jack of all trades news reporter that chases down stories ranging from politics and sports to big business and social justice. Armed with an iPad, SLR camera, camcorder and dictaphone, he aims to fight ignorance and pessimism through written words, photographs and videos. He believes South Africa could be the greatest country in the world if only her citizens would give her a chance to flourish instead of dwell on the negativity. When he's not begging his sub-editors for an extra twenty minutes after deadline, he's also known to dabble in the occasional poignant column that will leave you mulling around in the depths of your psyche. The quintessential workaholic, you can also catch him doing sports on the weekday breakfast show on SAfm and presenting the SAfm Sports Special over the weekend.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

ANC members take legal action over council selection disputes

Nine ANC members in the North West’s Greater Taung Municipality have sent a letter to the national list committee threatening to go to court should the ANC not respond to their demands.

Court judgment about alien fish is about more than trout...

Judge finds that public participation in democratic processes is not the exclusive preserve of the privileged few who have access to the internet and can read English

More top stories

Ramaphosa calls for public nominations for new chief justice

The president has named a panel of experts to help him draw up a shortlist of candidates in an unprecedented move that opens the appointment to consultation

Q&A Sessions: Meet the rhino whisperer, Cathy Dreyer

Cathy Dreyer, the first female head ranger of the Kruger National Park, speaks to Sheree Bega about earning the trust of black rhinos by reading to them and why the park’s hard-working rangers deserve the admiration of all South Africans

Zondo asks court for state capture commission report deadline to...

The state capture commission report will not be ready by the end of September, and Zondo says he believes it will be in the public interest to grant an extension

Municipal employees to get a 3.5% increase after wage deal

The South African Local Government Association said a three-year wage deal had been agreed on the remuneration of municipal employees

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…