The cattle were donated by Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, who offered them to Malema and the league’s delegation of eight when he hosted them at his New Donnington Farm in Norton. The league’s visit, in April last year, was to “study” Zimbabwe’s model of nationalisation.
Details of Gono’s offer emerged as the build-up towards the league’s national congress in June intensifies amid claims that some of the league leaders are doing business in Zimbabwe.
Gono on Friday confirmed that Malema and his delegation were offered cattle, but added that the gifts had yet to be collected.
“My very productive farm, New Donnington Farm, was the venue of an afternoon function at which the Zanu-PF and ANC youth leagues and several business people gathered to exchange views about empowerment through land reform in Zimbabwe.
“The Zanu-PF Youth League gave ANC Youth League president Julius Malema a variety of gifts which included cattle. This was done publicly and in broad daylight. The cattle are yet to be collected,” said Gono, in an SMS reply to questions sent to him.
He refused to comment further. But ANC Youth League spokesman Floyd Shivambu insisted that Gono’s offer had been a “symbolic” gesture and said no follow-up was never made after the visit. Meanwhile, youth league treasurer Pule Mabe – who accompanied Malema on the Zimbabwean trip – denied that he was planning to import tobacco from the country for a new business venture.
Mabe admitted that he once toyed with the idea of producing his own brand of cigarette from Zimbabwean tobacco, but said he has since dumped those plans.
“I had an intention back in the days to look at the issues of tobacco manufacturing … a finished product of cigarette. But the idea just died out because of a number of considerations. I don’t have a business in Zimbabwe … I’m not intending to have any,” he said.
During the controversial four-day visit, Malema openly endorsed Mugabe – a move which angered the ANC as leaders felt that the move would jeopardise the fragile negotiations that were being headed by President Jacob Zuma.
But he also used the visit to criticise the Zanu-PF-sponsored violence against opponents of Mugabe.