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28 July 2011 at 16:47 - Posted by Anonymous

Malema speaks out


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Johannesburg - ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema has for the first time publicly defended his controversial Ratanang  Family Trust, which he is believed to be using to support his lavish lifestyle.

Malema said he was using the trust, which lists his son and his grandmother as beneficiaries, to fund charitable causes.

The news of the trust broke in City Press last weekend at a time when questions were being raised about how the ruling party’s youth wing leader could afford to fund a flamboyant lifestyle and the construction of a house suspected to cost R16m on his R25 000-a-month pay.

The Democratic Alliance said it would ask the public protector to institute an investigation into the fund, while the Afrikaner interest group AfriForum said it would ask the Hawks to investigate corruption allegations against Malema.

Speaking in the Eastern Cape town of Queenstown, Malema said he wouldn’t take bribes “knowing that my enemies are out to destroy me”.

He said there was a lot of businessmen who had deposited money into the Ratanang Family Trust's account because he had approached them to fund charitable causes.

He said the media had misled the nation by claiming that he had a "secret trust. He said he wouldn’t put the names of his son and grandmother on the trust fund if it was meant to carry out illegal activities.

"How many leaders and public figures have got trusts and community trusts? In South Africa there is not what we call secret trusts, there is nothing like that.

"This trust they are talking about is a trust that continues to help the poorest of the poor. It is that trust that donated wheelchairs here," he said.

No proof

Malema also rubbished claims that an unnamed businessman had deposited R200 000 into his account, saying there was no proof to back up such claims.

"We don’t have a problem with that. You must give us a receipt [of payment]…because if you deposited into the account it means there is a paper trail.

"That trust has built churches, that trust has built houses for the poor, that trust has taken so many kids to school…and that trust will continue to do that. I don’t care who says what. If they want to lock me up for what I believe in, let them do that," Malema said.

He spared the venom of his spleen for City Press, saying the paper was protecting an "alleged corrupter" while exposing the "alleged corrupted".

"Why is City Press protecting a criminal who has paid a bribe and who has accepted that (he has paid) a bribe? Such a person must be exposed. And by the way, I’m taking you to court City Press for defamation of character. In your defense you’ll be forced to reveal this ape," he said.

But Malema’s attorney Marothi Ledwaba, who represented the youth leader in his failed bid to gag City Press on Saturday, said he had not received any instruction from Malema to sue the paper.

"I can confirm that our client has not instructed us to do so," he said.

Malema visited Queenstown the attend the court case of a white man who allegedly shot his black neighbour following an argument over the ANCYL supremo.

The wounded man Siyabonga Ndabeni is still in hospital, while the attempted murder case against his neighbour Gerdus Greyvenstein was remanded in custody.

Greyvenstein appeared for a bail application this morning, but his new attorney could not make it to the Queenstown Magistrate's Court.

A group of ANCYL supporters gathered outside court to protest in support of Ndabeni.

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