Malema: I know about the arrest, I won’t run

In an interview with the Mail & Guardian on Monday, the former ANC Youth League president confirmed he had received the provisional report from public protector Thuli Madonsela.

Malema said he was not prepared to talk about its contents as it was confidential and also refused to talk about the investigations being conducted by the South African Revenue Services (Sars) on allegations of tax evasion.

Malema described his imminent arrest as a political ploy by those who were not happy about his role in the aftermath of the Marikana massacre, in which 34 Lonmin workers were killed by police.

Malema said he would avail himself to the law enforcement agencies, whenever they were ready.

"They have our address. They have the contacts of our lawyers. There is no need to dramatise the action. They will have to call me, I will go.  There is no need for drama. I am a well-known individual. I won't run away. The truth will prevail at the end."

Malema called for the resignation of Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and President Jacob Zuma following the deaths of the mineworkers.

"I am aware of the [looming] arrest. One of Mthethwa's bodyguards phoned me to say he overheard the minister talking to people about my arrest. There is nothing genuine. It is political," said Malema.

Those who are in power are using the same method that the previous regime used against ANC leaders to settle political scores. They are using state resources for this. If I keep quiet, you won't hear anything. The day I decide to speak, you get this … "

"I spoke about Marikana. Zuma once said in a meeting at Luthuli House that people could be charged for anything. We were all shocked. When all of these things started, I remembered what Zuma once said. Nathi Mthethwa's involvement in the case shows there is political interference. We have answers for everything. Let's hear what they want to say," said Malema.

Government sources told the M&G that Malema would be arrested on allegations of fraud and corruption relating to the issuing of tenders in Limpopo, and possibly for outstanding tax liabilities with 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 multi-billion rand Limpopo roads budget. On-Point allegedly owes up to R15-million in unpaid taxes to Sars.

On Monday, Malema insisted he did nothing wrong.

"I am happy the Hawks is completing its investigation. They say we have influenced tenders, but there is no proof for that. I am ready for anything. Let the Hawks do its work. I have no sleepless nights because I know I have never taken money from anyone," said Malema. 

He challenged the police to produce evidence that he was directly involved in the awarding of tenders.

"Can anyone tell me how I [defrauded] the state? Ratanang Trust is only a shareholder in On-Point. I never spoke to anyone in the bidding committee. No one [including government officials] will stand up and say I have instructed them to give tenders to a particular company.

"If people say On-Point did not qualify [for certain tenders in Limpopo], that's something else. In fact that will be a concern that we as shareholders will raise [with On-Point]. We never manipulated anyone.

"When I need money I come to you [his comrades] and say, please assist on this and that. I have never received money on the basis of giving people tenders," said Malema.

Malema said he saw nothing wrong with people donating money to the Ratanang Trust.

"Why should that be a problem. People will always donate money to the trust. For example, we have this annual festival in Polokwane, where all people who have made it in life come together and organise the event. People would contribute to the trust for that show. That money that is contributed would be for that," he said.

"Anyone who puts money [into the trust] is for a specific purpose. The money we don't know is if I ask so and so to donate and that person asks the third party to donate to the trust. There is no body who receives money on the basis of receiving tenders [from the Limpopo government]," said Malema.

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Matuma Letsoala
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