Malema politically targeted - tycoon
Johannesburg - A businessman who has battled for seven years to have his corruption complaint investigated has accused law enforcement agencies of subjecting Julius Malema to selective and politically motivated prosecution.
Joburg property tycoon Francois Nortje told The Star on Thursday that he believed the Hawks charged the former ANC Youth League leader only because he was no longer part of President Jacob Zuma’s “inner political circle”.
This comes two weeks after the elite crime-busting unit charged Malema with money-laundering in connection with a R52 million project management unit contract awarded to On-Point Engineers, a company linked to him.
Nortje’s statement also come days after Malema publicly accused Public Protector Thuli Madonsela of finding him guilty in absentia after she had allegedly failed to hear his side of the story during the On-Point probe.
The businessman said the Hawks had failed to investigate a corruption case against his former business partner, Jannie Moolman, of the Moolman Group, laid in 2005.
Nortje claimed this was because Moolman was close to Deputy Justice Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi, a former Limpopo premier, while the name of ANC national executive committee member and chairman of Parliament’s finance committee, Thaba Mufamadi, had been dragged into the dispute.
Nortje and Moolman’s five-year business relationship went sour in 2005.
Since then, the pair have had an ongoing commercial dispute over property leases jointly awarded to them in Limpopo.
Nortje has accused the Hawks of unfairly picking on Malema.
“There is selective prosecution and a cover-up for wealthy people. Malema committed corruption two years ago but he has already been charged.
“But there are people who committed corruption in 2000 and nothing has happened.
“The Hawks say they are busy and will come back to me, but they have time and resources to investigate Malema because he is no longer in the political inner circle of Zuma,” he said.
Moolman confirmed on Thursday that he was once close to Ramatlhodi. He also confirmed that Nortje had laid a corruption charge against him in 2005. But he dismissed Nortje as a bitter man who wanted to use state resources and the media to settle a commercial dispute.
Moolman added that Nortje had laid the criminal charges against him for ulterior motives.
“All he does is lay criminal charges with the Hawks and make noise like this in order to cast aspersions on my integrity. I do not know why the Hawks are not investigating his case, but I suspect it is because he has no case against me. He wants to settle his commercial dispute using state resources and the media,” Moolman said.
Ramatlhodi could not be reached for comment.
Mufamadi said on Thursday he knew nothing about the Hawks investigation to which Nortje was referring.
“To start with, I don’t even know what investigation he is talking about. If he has a case, he must go back to the people he complained to or even (Public Protector) Thuli Madonsela. Why is he complaining to the media?”
Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela failed to respond to calls and a text message for comment on Thursday.
But, speaking to The Star a fortnight ago, Polela and National Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman Bulela Makeke denied that their organisations applied the rules selectively.
While Nortje was convinced Malema had a case to answer, he said corruption in Limpopo was bigger than Malema and the departments involved.
“This culture of corruption started in 1995, or shortly thereafter. The generation before Malema and Cassel Mathale was already corrupt,” Nortje’s documents said.