South African Julius Malema ‘facing bankruptcy’

By IndepthAfrica
In South Africa
Jan 14th, 2013
Julius Malema appears in the Polokwane Regional Court in Limpopo on 26 September 2012. Sapa

Julius Malema appears in the Polokwane Regional Court in Limpopo on 26 September 2012. Sapa

Julius Malema, the rabble-rousing former ANC youth league leader who was expelled from the party, is said to be facing bankruptcy over back taxes owed to South Africa’s revenue authority.

Mr Malema is prepared to pay just a quarter of the R16m (£1.14 million) in taxes and penalties owed to the South African Revenue Service, the weekly City Press newspaper reported.

The embattled 31-year-old former politician, who has been charged with money laundering and racketeering, is accused of having used his political influence to win lucrative government tenders through companies linked to his family trust.

There are reports that prosecutors will bring 50 more charges against him at his next court appearance in the city of Polokwane in April.

Mr Malema told City Press that many of his friends and business partners have shunned him.

“I have lost a lot of friends,” he said. “I am one person who believes that those who leave you during difficult moments were never with you even before.” At an ANC leadership conference last month in Mangaung, Mr Malema’s backers failed to win any key positions, while his former ally turned enemy Jacob Zuma was re-elected president of the party.

Since leaving politics, Mr Malema has turned to farming, and claims to now spend his days tending a herd of cattle and growing cabbages and tomatoes on a farm near Polokwane in his home province of Limpopo.

Mr Malema has refused to say whether he will re-enter politics.

“Age is on my side,” he told local media recently. “I will just take a chill pill and become an ordinary person. I have never experienced life as an ordinary person; this gives me an opportunity to experience what people see in politicians.”

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