What’s “mysterious” about Malema’s London trip?

I have read and read media reports yesterday (1 August) but there seems to be something amiss about this and maybe you can help me “get it”. South African Press Association claimed yesterday expelled ANCYL President Julius Malema’s trip to London was mysterious, wondering who could have footed his reportedly luxurious and expensive hotel bill.

Some sources claimed to The New Age yesterday that Malema’s hotel bill was to be footed by government while another source told Mail & Guardian Online that someone (or a group of people) had decided to foot Juju’s hotel bill. There were also suggestions that Malema had booked himself into the hotel because he wanted to be close to Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, who was also in London for the Olympic Games.

What surprises me is SAPA’s wondering on who paid for Malema’s hotel bill. Could the news agency have wondered about this because of the alleged financial problems the expelled youth league may have found himself in, especially taking into account that there are a number of investigations into his finances and those of his alleged business trust?

What further made me wonder was the news agency’s ignorance of what Malema told Heather Walker, editor of www.southafrican.com on Tuesday this week that his trip had been funded by someone (probably a business person). Malema told Walker that a “private South African” – who he did not mention by name – who had heard the league speak in Cape Town when it mentioned that they “don’t have money to go to London… offered us the opportunity to come to London and engage businesspeople and others.”

Was this information overlooked and or ignored by SAPA mainly because Malema’s a politician who can willingly choose not to tell then truth about his London trip funder? Or could it be that SAPA never read that interview to begin with?

Speaking to Walker exclusively on Tuesday, Malema made clear the purpose for the London trip, which can be found at the web site. Among other things, Malema called for “greater participation of government but in partnership with the private sector where government should have majority shareholding and control of what is happening in the mining industry”.

Many believed his “economic freedom in our lifetime” comments meant “taking land mainly from whites and putting it into the hands of politically connected individuals”, which is not true. “If that land is owned by Julius Malema who happens to be black and on that land we wish to build a hospital or a school, we should proceed to do that.”

Malema said “there must not be expropriation without compensation on white people only”. Land expropriation “should be based on public purpose and public interest and where sufficient evidence is gathered that this land was taken forcefully”, he said. “It is not a misdirected grabbing of land that will result in violence and cutting of hands”.

Reading his interview a day before SAPA, I was actually disappointed that a reputable news agency like this could have stooped this low and ignored his comments.

That Malema refused to talk to the news agency when it called his hotel room at the time (for comment?), saying his privacy was being invaded – I think that response probably served the SAPA well. This is mainly because there was and is nothing “mysterious” his London trip.

I suspect the news agency was only creating hype and suspicion where none existed.


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