Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:14pm GMT Print | Single Page[-] Text [+]
1 of 1Full SizeBy Peroshni Govender
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - ANC youth leader Julius Malema has been cleared of accusations that he exploited his political connections to secure lucrative government contracts, according to the ANC Youth League.
The Public Protector launched an investigation into tenders awarded to SGL Engineering, a company linked to Malema, following complaints the contracts were unfairly awarded.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has been trying to fend off accusations that some of its leaders have used their political connections to line their pockets. The ANC resolutely denies the charges.
A statement quoting the Public Protector report issued by the ANC Youth League found that works completed by SGL Engineering were of "an acceptable quality and standard".
"No verifiable information could be found from the investigation that indicated that tenders were awarded to SGL as a result of improper influence due to friendships, comradeship, favouritism, nepotism, political affiliations, interference or any other impropriety."
Civil rights initiative Afriforum, which initially raised concerns about the tenders awarded to SGL Engineering, said it was not satisfied with the findings and would launch its own investigation.
Malema was recently fined by the ANC for bringing Africa's oldest political party into disrepute. In March, South Africa's Equality Court found Malema guilty of hate speech and fined him.
With strong support among millions of South Africa's largely unemployed youth and poor, Malema has become an influential player within the ruling party and support from his constituency helped President Jacob Zuma rise to power.
His calls for the nationalisation of mines in the world's biggest producer of platinum and fourth largest supplier of gold have unnerved investors.
Despite reassurances from Zuma's government that the state will not nationalise mines, Malema has succeeding in placing the item on the discussion agenda when the ruling party holds its policy conference in September.