ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema’s company has won at least R140?million in government tenders over the past two years, a City Press investigation has established.
Malema’s engineering company, SGL Engineering Projects, has scooped tenders for sewage and cemetery services, among others, from various municipalities in Limpopo. Malema has two homes worth R4.5?million which are not mortgaged, a love of Breitling watches which retail at R250 000 a pop, and he lives a life of luxury.
While he will not say how much he earns, his salary cannot cover his lifestyle – but revelations about his business interests may finally explain where he gets his millions.
Cosatu has called for lifestyle audits of politicians, while the national treasury is investigating corruption and maladministration of provincial tender systems.
How to become a Millionaire:
Malema (28), and his business partner at SGL Engineering, Lesiba Cuthbert Gwangwa, 31, are multi-faceted young businessmen. Their company has won tenders for road construction, street paving, sewer reticulation, bulk water supply, landfill sites, cemeteries, central business district upgrades and provision of drainage systems.
Julius Malema Wealth and Money Matters
These contracts included:
Eight tenders worth R66.4 million from Mopani district municipality for the construction of roads and the building of a fire station and sewer reticulation in the Modjadji area. According to a parliamentary response from the municipality, all projects were completed on time – “excluding three which are still under construction and are on course”. ?Five contracts valued at R28?million from Tzaneen municipality for upgrading the CBD, a cemetery, community parks and a multi-purpose centre.
A R27.9-million street-paving contract from Greater Letaba municipality. The six-month project was not completed on time because “emerging sub-contractors with capacity challenges were appointed”.
?An unspecified tender for R6.8?million in Makhado. The contract was not completed on time and was extended by six months A R5.1-million tender for the supply of bulk water in Mhinga and Lambani villages in the Vhembe district municipality. The company completed the job in December 2008, three months late.
?A R2.1-million sewer tender for the Waterberg district municipality. The project was implemented by Tzaneen-based construction company Selby and was completed on schedule on June 30 last year.
A R1.9-million contract for an unspecified tender in Lepelle-Nkumpi municipality. The municipality withheld R1.3 million of the payment “because the contract was not completed due to poor performance by the contractor”.
For at least four of the tenders, the company failed to complete the jobs and received extensions. Only the Lepelle-Nkumpi district withheld payment, while the others gave the company extensions to finish the jobs.
The provincial department of local government and housing said reasons for the delays and failures ranged from “emerging sub-contractors with capacity challenges were appointed” to “poor performance by the contractor”.
Malema received about 21 multi-million-rand tenders from eight of the 31 municipalities in Limpopo in the 2008/9 financial year, according to answers to questions posed by the Congress of the People (Cope) in the provincial legislature. Some municipalities failed to answer questions.
Malema raked it in from the Mopani, Vhembe and Waterberg district municipalities and the Lepelle-Nkumpi, Greater Letaba, Mutale, Makhado and Tzaneen local municipalities.
These are some of the poorest municipalities in the province and some have consistently received poor audit reports from the Auditor- General.
SGL Engineering is made up of SGL Engineering Projects CC (of which Gwangwa is sole director) and SGL Engineering Projects (Pty) Ltd, which lists both Malema and Gwangwa as directors. The company operates out of Flora Park in Polokwane.
Malema bought his R1?million home in Polokwane in May 2007 and finalised the sale of the R3.6 million mansion in Sandton two months ago. He has lived in the Sandton house since January 2008, when it was registered in his name for rates and services.
Deeds records indicate that Malema bought the house in August last year – about the time he hosted the party which annoyed some of his Sandton neighbours.
Malema’s lifestyle has come under scrutiny since labour federation Cosatu called on President Jacob Zuma to conduct an audit of ANC politicians and senior government officials who seemed to live a lifestyle beyond their obvious income.
Malema referred questions about his salary as ANCYL president to the ruling party’s treasurer, Mathews Phosa, who said the matter was confidential.
When City Press yesterday asked Malema for comment, he sent a text message back. “Are you married?”
“Yes,” answered the journalist.
“Go and ask your partner those questions,” he responded and refused to comment further.
In a second attempt, City Press contacted ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, a close ally of Malema. While the journalist was talking to Shivambu, Malema grabbed the phone and barked: “Are you the person I just spoke to? I answered you already.” He then dropped the phone.
Asked what impact Malema’s failure to complete some of the tenders had on service delivery in the affected municipalities, Limpopo local government and housing spokesperson Clayson Monyela replied: “These people were hired by the municipalities. They are autonomous and do not even consult us before awarding the tenders because they do not have to.”
Cope Limpopo leader Sello Moloto asked for the tender information in the legislature.
“My wild guess would be that Malema’s companies would have gained more than is recorded because some of the municipalities failed to respond to questions.”
Julius Malema's Mercedes C63AMG
Julius Malema's Range Rover Car
Julius Malema is said to have taken trips in this Cessna Citation 500, whose owner has won lucrative tenders in Limpopo Picture of Malema:
Julius Malema in Long Beach Resort in Mauritius at wedding celebration of Vharanani Properties owner David Mabilu
ANC Youth League president Julius Malema has been roaring around in a R1.2 million car – thanks to the generous boss of a construction company which has scored more than R200 million in state contracts in Malema’s powerbase province of Limpopo.
And the man who gave him the luxury Range Rover, MPPJ Property Development boss Matome Hlabioa, boasted this week that he had given the high-living youth league leader other fancy cars before.
He also said he was a key funder of the league’s recent elective conference.
“He has been driving my cars long before he became president. If Julius wants something like a car I give it to him. I own more than 10 cars. If you look at the car he is driving which is [worth] about R1.2m, it is the cheapest car I own,” Hlabioa said.
But he denied claims by a company insider that the cars were a direct “thank you” for Malema’s help in swinging deals for Hlabioa’s Limpopo company.
City Press has also established that Hlabioa and Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale – accused by ANC opponents of allowing Malema to “run the province” – have had a shared business interest.
City Press has discovered official records which show that MPPJ’s success in housing tenders enjoyed a winning trajectory which mirrored that of Malema’s rise in political power from 2008, when he was first elected league president.
The Limpopo contracts MPPJ won include:
» A R115 million housing tender to complete 2 981 low- cost houses in Mopani and Waterberg district municipalities in Limpopo in the 2007/08 financial year;
» A R15.4 million tender in the Waterberg district municipality in 2007;
» A R3.35 million tender from Public Works for work in the Greater Giyani district in 2008;
» A R11.6 million housing tender for the Mogalakwena local municipality for 300 units in the 2008/09 financial year;
» A R12.9 million tender for additions and renovations at a primary school last year;
» A R15.9 million tender for work at another primary school last year; and
» A R38.2 million housing tender for 700 units in Greater Marble Hall local municipality, also during last year.
This latest revelation comes amid calls for the SA Revenue Service (SARS) to scrutinise Malema’s financial affairs and subject him to a lifestyle audit. This as it emerged that he has flattened his R3.6 million Sandton home to replace it with a new one at an estimated construction cost of between R7 million and R16 million.
This week a defiant Malema told those querying the source of his wealth: “It’s none of your business ... you must mind your own business.
“One of the things I’ve learned in my short life in politics is the ability to live in the conditions of capitalism while fighting it and defeating it.”
The registration of the car in MPPJ’s name means it would not show up in any lifestyle audit and would not incur any tax liability for Malema.
SARS spokesperson Adrian Lackay said a person using a vehicle owned by another entity would only attract tax implications if the person was employed by the other party, and that it would then be viewed as a fringe benefit which would need to be declared.
Malema has been driving the Range Rover (registration ZBM 223 GP) for several months already.
City Press understands that for the last three years he drove a similar model vehicle that was also registered to MPPJ.
An MPPJ insider said: “Hlabioa is a businessman who is benefiting from government tenders and he has to look after people like Malema with gifts because they support him to get those tenders.
“It is a mutually beneficial relationship. There is no other explanation for Malema driving his car while he is a businessman dealing with government.”
Lehlogonolo Masoga, Malema’s former friend and now ousted Limpopo youth league chairperson, said: “There is nothing called a free lunch in this world. What your investigation has discovered is sufficient”.
But Hlabioa dismissed claims he was looking after Malema because of his political influence.
“Malema is like a son to me, I have been looking after him for many years even before he became the president of the youth league. It is just a coincidence. There is no benefit for me in any way because he has no capacity to give tenders to anyone.”
Malema could not be reached for comment despite numerous attempts. But youth league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said: “We are not going to comment anything about that. We only discuss political issues in the media, not personal matters.”
Mathale did not respond to requests for comment this week.
ANC Youth League president Julius Malema and a striking 21-year-old university student have become almost inseparable.
ANC Youth League president Julius Malema and a striking 21-year-old university student have become almost inseparable.
Lizelle Tabane, also known as Liz, last week accompanied him to Mauritius to attend the extravagant wedding of his friend, Limpopo-based property developer David Mabilu.
Yesterday, Malema declined to comment, saying only: "Whether I was with Lizelle, that is none of your business, all right."
Tabane could not be reached for comment. But the Sunday Times can confirm that she has only been dating Malema, 30, for a short while. The aspiring model is studying project management at the University of Pretoria.
A close friend, who declined to be named, described Tabane, who was raised in Rustenburg, North West, as ambitious. "She never lets anyone stand in the way of her dreams," she said.
The Sunday Times has also established that last Friday Malema and Tabane arrived in Mauritius on separate flights.
Tabane, along with several other guests, landed on the island on a flight chartered by Mabilu, 42, from Air Mauritius.
Malema and the rest of the guests arrived on an Air Mauritius Airbus.
He checked into the exclusive five-star Long Beach resort. Records at the hotel show that two people were booked into his suite. Coordinators of the lavish ceremony - estimated to have cost R10-million - declined to disclose Tabane's details, citing confidentiality. One said that Mabilu had instructed the coordinators to omit her details from the wedding list.
For most of the weekend the pair was spotted smiling, laughing and gently cavorting. On several occasions they were spotted holding hands.
At the wedding ceremony on Saturday, they refused to be photographed as they walked down the red carpet and did not sit together at the reception.
Tabane later joined Malema as he mingled with friends and was by his side as he downed champagne during the alcohol-fuelled reception party.
Malema and Tabane left the reception shortly before midnight. Two hours later, they joined guests at the resort's Bombara Night Club.
On Sunday afternoon, Malema emerged from his room and attended a private jazz party on the beach .