South Africa: Arrest Me, If I Am So Corrupt - Julius Malema

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema (file photo).

EFF leader Julius Malema insists he is being prosecuted and convicted in the court of public opinion, via the media, purely for political purposes.

Malema, who has several cases pending before the courts, told News24 during a wide-ranging interview this week that he had been painted as the "most corrupt person" who even brought down an entire province.

This was in reference to his links to On-Point Engineering's multimillion-rand tenders and the collapse of the Limpopo government's coffers, which saw numerous departments being placed under administration in 2011.

"With all the things you have written about me, with all the accusations you have put against me what makes it difficult for them to take me to court, and trial me with all the evidence they have and send me to prison?" asked Malema.

The EFF leader, who is expected to be re-elected when the party holds its second elective conference this week, said he had the means to stop his conviction if he was to be thrown in jail.

"If this guy is corrupt, this guy has got no state power, he has no white monopoly capital power, ownership of the means of production, why are you not arresting him?

"I can't stop anything," he emphasised.

Malema said unlike former president Jacob Zuma and ministers, present and former, he had no way of delaying his prosecution if he really was guilty of any wrongdoing.

"Why am I? If I am not being targeted, if my name is not being destroyed for purposes of settling political differences," he continued, questioning numerous allegations made against him.

He also hit out at News24 over its recent exclusive, "Damning evidence against Julius Malema the NPA chose to ignore", saying a look at archives from 2012 and 2013 would prove that information had always existed.

"Why do you go and recycle 2012/2013 stories in 2019 if it's not desperation to get at a person because I have canvassed these things."

Malema said the questions being posed to him about On-Point Engineering were raised during his tax matters.

"The same questionnaire we were given during SARS hearings, [journalist Piet Rampedi] was in possession and published those stories.

"I have never disowned On-Point," said Malema.

He once again explained the links between the engineering firm, his Ratanang family trust and former business partner Lesiba Gwangwa's family trust, both of whom owned Qualis, On-Point and SGL, all subsidiaries of a holding company, which Ratanang also had shares in, called Guilder Investments.

Malema said the Ratanang and Gwangwa trusts, which had a 50/50 share in the investment firm, benefitted from the monies through Guilder when they shared profits with its stakeholders.

"Come on man, these stories were there in 2012," he insisted.

"My SARS bill was actually based, among others, on those types of expenses. I have taken responsibility, have settled my matters with SARS and my taxes are in order. I encourage everyone to be compliant with SARS," continued Malema.

When asked by News24 why it seemed he never wanted to take responsibility for his actions, but instead insisted he was a political target, Malema said it was unfair as he had been compliant with the justice system at every step.

"When you say I don't take responsibility and don't account ... for a man who has never asked for the dropping of charges, never submitted anything to the [National Prosecuting Authority] to ask for the dropping of charges, a man who said separate me, I have been coming here and it pains me that every time I come here you block roads, the public gets inconvenienced and the state wastes money, try me alone. I am always here, they said no. I have taken responsibility," said the EFF leader.

He also discussed an altercation he and EFF national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Nldozi had with a law enforcement official at a Fourways cemetery during the funeral of liberation icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

"No man was going to stop me from burying my mother. I never said I didn't do it, that [it] was not me in the camera," said Malema.

The EFF commander-in-chief said he had taken responsibility for his actions, claiming to have been in an "emotional state".

"I am being strangled and pushed around and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's coffin is going to go down, in my absence and I should accept that? I am not going to accept that."

He said everyone knew about his relationship with Madikizela-Mandela.

While not saying much about the case in which he is charged for allegedly discharging a firearm during EFF birthday celebrations in 2018, he said he had presented himself and was co-operating.

"I said to them give me what you have, which you say I have done because I don't know what you are talking about. I will be answerable to a court of law," said Malema.

Source: News24

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