The best of South African literature
Eleanor Momberg and Matthew Savides
THE South African Revenue Service will this week be asked to perform a full forensic audit into ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema’s wealth amid reports that the controversial politician is building a R16 million house in a plush Johannesburg suburb.
Malema’s new house is being built on the site of the R3.6m house he bought in 2009 and is a stone’s throw from the poor Alexandra residents he previously warned would attack “rich” Sandown residents in his neighbourhood.
The young politician, who fashions himself as a champion of the poor, has levelled the Sandown house and is building a multiple-storey mansion in its place.
“It will be modern, very modern,” an insider told Independent Newspapers.
“It has a saferoom underground, in case he is attacked, garages underground, a ground floor and a first floor which can also be used as a viewing platform, a party deck.
“You will be able to look out over the swimming pool,” the insider said.
Malema and his spokesman Floyd Shivambu refused to comment this week. Shivambu said: “Write what you want.”
The new house, in Silvela Road, Sandown Estate, will be about 917m2.
It is surrounded by multi-storey homes hidden behind high walls topped with electric fencing. All have security gates with electronic buzzers and are the only form of entrance. Some of the homes boast floodlit tennis courts, swimming pools and manicured lawns.
The DA’s Diane Kohler Barnard said she would write to Sars tomorrow to ask for the audit.
“I can’t for the life of me understand how someone can build a R16m house on an income of about R25 000 a month, which possibly isn’t even enough to get him a home loan.
“So where is this money coming from?
“What is the source?
“I will be asking for a full audit into his finances.”
“Sars should be looking very closely into him.
“It’s beyond curious how a person with no education and a small job for a branch of a political organisation can afford to build a R16m home.
“A full forensic audit has to be done.
“If it is true that he is building this underground bomb shelter or safehouse, it makes me wonder what he knows about the future of this country that I don’t.
“It doesn’t show much confidence in a future that is peaceful, violence-free and safe.”
In Malema’s neighbourhood, vehicles entering the gated estate have to pass a guard hut.
A security vehicle patrols the streets day and night and guards say crime is almost non-existent.
On Malema’s site
the perimeter wall remains intact. Inside, several piles of sand were being transported by an earth removal company, aided by a man driving an earth lifter.
The sand was from a hole about two storeys deep, in which the safe room and garages would be built.
“The saferoom is going to be like a bunker. It is going to be so luxurious. If trouble comes he can run downstairs and hide there and no-one will be the wiser,” said the insider.
A site foreman and contractors talking on the pavement politely refused to speak to Independent Newspapers, saying the architect and engineer had asked that no-one discuss the project.
“We were all told yesterday, reminded yesterday again, that we are not allowed to discuss Mr Malema’s house.” said an unnamed contractor.
A worker confirmed that the property belonged to Malema
The Deeds Office had earlier confirmed that this was one of two properties owned by Malema.
The other is a house he bought near Polokwane in 2007 for R1m cash.
An economist said yesterday a person applying for a bond of R16m would have to earn at least R500 000 a month to qualify for a loan without collateral. At the present prime interest rate of 10 percent, the monthly repayment on the loan over 20 years would be about R160 000 a month.