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LIVE BLOG: 'I don't engage in illegal dealings' - Malema

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema has invited five journalists to interrogate him publicly on the VBS Mutual Bank saga and other past scandals linked to him

WATCH LIVE: Julius Malema press conference

The conference is now over.

Replying to a question on whether it will vote with DA again in municipalities, Malema says no.

Malema says he has never discussed tenders with Herman Mashaba while he was still mayor of Joburg.

Malema says the matter of him discharging a firearm at the EFF's party is sub juice. He says he will answer the matter in court. He says he is not guilty of anything.

Malema says he doesn't remember receiving any dividends from On Point.

"I don't engage in illegal dealings," Malema says.

Malema says he can't remember when last Sars did a lifestyle audit on him.

Madia asks about a Mercedes said to have been bought for him by Gwangwa, he denies that it was bought for him. He also says the Sandown mansion was not paid for by Gwangwa, it was his money.

Malema asks why they are not being charged and arrested if they are guilty of corruption and fraud.

Malema denies that the only source of income for the Ratanang Trust was On Point Engineering.

Malema says Lesiba Gwangwa is still his best friend.

"They [NPA] want me with everything," Malema says.

Maseko asks if Malema doesn't see similarities between the Shaik/Zuma trial and him being linked to VBS. He says no.

"I wrote a letter to Thuli asking why do you write a report and you don’t invite me. She said I have not made any finding on you."

"In the YL, I earned R45,000 as the president," Malema. "My family trust was involved in business, I was not living beyond my means." 

He says he was renting the Sandton house he upgraded for millions. He says he was told by ANC elder leaders to buy and upgrade the house so that more people could be accommodated when they visited. He says money was raised as a donation to pay for the upgrades.

Maseko says there have always been allegations against him since his ANCYL days. He asks how does he remove this dark cloud of him being painted a corrupt politician.

"My family is in business, I've never denied that."

"My brothers have got nothing to do with the hung Limpopo municipalities. They are in business," Malema says. He says they are involved in livestock.

"We wanted to defend the pride of the Venda people by ensuring the bank is not closed, it has got a historical role. Arrest those who stole from those grannies and pay those Gogo’s their monies."

Malema says he approached President Ramaphosa to try and save VBS, while prosecuting the people. He said he bank cannot be another black failure.

Malema says Brian has been very cooperative. Malema says if there is a way to pay back the monies, it should be paid, including from the ANC and SACP.

Mahlase asks what Malema thinks about the impact of the VBS on the most vulnerable. Malema says the EFF said the looters must be arrested for stealing from the elderly.

Malema says Pravin's opeations has always been to discredit even if you don't achieve a conviction.

Malema says the lower EFF structures can probe Brian.

Malema says Brian will be held accountable by the liquidators if he is implicated.

Malema says the offer to probe the EFF's books still stands.

Malema says Shivambu was asked to take the leadership into confidence about his brother Brian.

Sampear says based on common cause, an EFF member has been implicated. He asks if he has been investigated, Malema says no, they can't do that.

Maseko says they are not there to trial him and that he should stop personalising the issue. He asks for a cordial, civil conversation.

Malema says no one can produce any evidence linking the EFF to VBS.

The must be prima facie evidence whoch necessitates the commissioning of an auditor to probe any wrongdoing in the EFF, Malema says.

Malema says when it was said he collapsed the Limpopo government, it was an intention to discredit him, an example of how Pravin Gordhan operates.

Brian Shivambu has been in constant contact with the liquidators, he says.

Malema says if there was a donation from VBS to the EFF, Pauli van Wyk would have exposed it.

Malema says he is not being investigated by the Hawks or SARS on anything.

Mahlase says she hopes Malema will unban the reporters he has banned. "They are criminals masquerading as journalists." Malema says. He says he doesn't trust the BCCSA etc.

Mahlase says this is not an interrogation, Malema argues it is.

Maseko says Malema is deflecting issues, Malema says "this is my show."

Malema says he will resign from the EFF if any municipality can prove that he said it should put money in VBS.

"You cannot present any evidence... that suggest my brother got this money from Sgameka." 

"My cousin has never benefitted from VBS."

Mahlase asks if Malema has ever benefitted from the VBS-linked credit card, he says he wouldn't know.

"I've never benefitted any cent from VBS."

"My brothers have done nothing wrong. And where thy've done wrong, they've ben held accountable. Many of them have been questioned by Hawks... I can't say to them don't be engaged in business, I can only say don't engage in corrupt activities," Malema says. "In my family, we don't have a history of criminals, No one has ever engaged in criminal activities."

Malema says his cousins and friends were businesspeople long before the EFF existed.

Malema says no other politician has been more subjected to a lifestyle audit than him, so he isn't scared of it.

Maseko questions Malema about a credit card that the EFF has used that has been linked to VBS funds at events like Durban July. He asks why this card is always where Malema is.

"I've got no one close to me who has ever benefitted from VBS," says Malema. "We are the ones who have always fought for black people."

Malema says it cannot be that a black bank is closed under a black government. You can't just close it because there are criminal elements. The bank should be rescued.

"You clearly had an interest," Mahlase says about the EFF calling for VBS not to be placed under curatorship. Malema says they still stand on that position.

Madia and Maseko interrupt Malema and say the matter at hand is not about him being in communication with the VBS, but that the EFF was seen as critical in the scandal.

You'll find me in communication with VBS people, Malema says.

"I've never spoken to VBS people," he says. He says he has only ever spoken to the chairman of VBS, who he met at the party of the VhaVenda king. "I've never had any dealings with them."

Malema  says it cannot be that a tender of R50mil could collapse the Limpopo budget. "The aim has always been to smear me," he says. He says the Premier, MEC and all officials involved are still in government but he is the one smeared with the scandal.

Malema says he is not involved in the On Point scandal. Maseko interrupts him saying he, through his trust, was a shareholder of On Point and would therefore get some proceeds from the tender in Limpopo.

Malema was charged separately from the other accused.

Malema reflects back on his arrest for the On Point Engineering scandal. He says he has appeared at every court date. There have been many postponements, not from his side. "I have always wanted to be held accountable," he says.

Malema says van Wyk gave different excuses not to avail herself.

Tshidi Madia, Mahlatse Mahlase and Samkele Maseko are present. Aldrin Sampear will join later. Eusebius McKaiser will no longer be able to join.

The press conference will now start.

According to the EFF's Dali Mpofu, Daily Maverick is now unbanned until further notice.

Daily Maverick reporter Pauli van Wyk, who has written extensively on the VBS scandal, was also invited to the conference. But declined the invite based on the fact that the publication she works for has been entirely banned from all EFF press conferences. 

In a series of tweets, Malema explained the decision to host the interrogation came after SABC senior political reporter Samkelo Maseko asked the NPA, during its media briefing update on its progress on the bank probe, on who to hold accountable for the collapse of the mutual bank, if it would be investigating Malema and some EFF members who were implicated in the looting of the bank.