31 July, 2011
While embattled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema remains defiant about his questionable wealth, the Hawks are forging ahead with an investigation into his lifestyle.
The Sunday Times has established that the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations has approached banks and cellphone companies to request the youth leader's records.
This is part of the preliminary investigation, handled by Hawks commercial crime head Hans Meiring, to determine whether Malema has a case to answer.
Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela would not comment on whether the unit had requested Malema's banking and cellphone records.
He said: "We are still trying to obtain information which will help us determine whether or not to continue with the investigation."
The ANC seems to be digging its heels in on calls by alliance partner Cosatu for the ruling party's ethics committee to probe the allegations against Malema.
Malema yesterday said the Hawks never contacted him.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the party would not be dictated to:
"I don't think ... people should stand on top of mountains when (allegations) emerge and instruct the ANC what to do. We are not going to get into the space where everybody howls .... internal processes of the ANC are not for public consumption."
The Hawks probe comes after lobby group Afriforum laid a charge of corruption against Malema, following reports that he allegedly used the Ratanang Family Trust to receive payments from business people seeking to buy influence.
Malema appeared unfazed by the controversy, telling a crowd in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape on Thursday that he had set up the trust for charitable causes.
"This trust they are talking about is a trust that continues to help the poorest of the poor. That trust has built churches ... houses for the poor. That trust has taken so many kids to school and that trust will continue to do that," Malema was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile Malema and his allies are consolidating their power in his home province of Limpopo amid a push for an elective ANC provincial conference to be brought forward.
Today the ANC in Limpopo will hold a provincial general council at which it is expected to decide to hold the conference in December.
This is seen as part of a strategy by the ANC grouping aligned to Malema ally, premier and ANC provincial chairman Cassel Mathale to eliminate their opponents ahead of the ruling party's 2012 conference. The conference is scheduled to be held in June next year.
Mathale's opponents want his leadership disbanded amid allegation of corruption and Malema's perceived influence over the provincial government.
The anti-Mathale grouping is understood to include provincial secretary Joe Maswanganyi and Joe Phaahla, the Deputy Minister Arts and Culture. Mathale's group wants Maswanganyi replaced by former SACP provincial secretary Soviet Lekganyane.