The media must beware of becoming captured by the thrall of new African National Congress president Cyril Ramaphosa, especially when he started to put “cupcakes” in positions of authority, Julius Malema has warned

Interviewed on the Justice Factor by Justice Malala, the Economic Freedom Fighters’ leader said while his party – which is the third largest party in the national assembly – had welcomed the recent appointment of a new board at the electricity public enterprise, Eskom, there were worrying elements about the appointments.

The appointment of Sifiso Dabengwa, a personal friend of Ramaphosa, was right up there. Dabengwa’s wife was once a chief executive at Ramaphosa’s company Shanduka.

Giving Malala a lesson in conflict of interest, he said while people appointed to the parastatal may have capacity to perform, one must be concerned when they turn out to be close friends of Ramaphosa.

Malema said that President Jacob Zuma started off in a similar way, appointing friends to key positions all over the place. That had ended up with the State of Capture report by the Public Protector.

Suggesting that the “clearing out of the Eskom board” was “a good start”, Malala asked Malema whether he had any problems with the new Eskom board. “No, no, we welcomed it ourselves. We needed an urgent intervention. We are saying… we don’t want to replace a tendency with a tendency.”

It was not right to shift out the Guptas – who appeared to have captured Eskom and other parastatals – and replace them with a new breed of captured interests. “We are not going to say that the Guptas have captured Eskom and then we must shift to new people… and then we bring (in the) Rupert capture.”

He said the links of Jabu Mabuza (the new Eskom chairman) to the Ruperts were “worrysome” (worrying in English). He told a press conference in Johannesburg prior to the Justice Factor that Mabuza’s son was a personal assistant to billionaire businessman Johann Rupert.

“Remember the Ruperts are the biggest capturers in this country. They have done it for many years. And the Oppenheimers (previously Anglo American and De Beers). And then there is Dabengwa … a personal friend of Cyril Ramaphosa. Don’t raise your hands (he told Malala). It means that the proximity is problematic.”

He said that Ramaphosa “went to appoint his friend to the board … in the same way that Zuma appointed that woman (Dudu Myeni) to the SAA board.” Dabengwa’s wife worked for Shanduka: “Is that not conflict for you?” Malema asked Malala.

Malema was referring to Phuti Mahanyele, the Group CEO of Shanduka for 10 years.There she is credited with securing major deals for Shanduka including with Coca-Cola and McDonalds.

Malema went on: “We are saying to the president of the ANC (Ramaphosa). These are the problems we raised in the past. If you guys (the media) want to protect him… go on. We are raising it (conflict of interest) for future purposes. In the same way we raised it when Zuma started … Zuma did not destroy South Africa in a night. It started like this. The same way Cyril is starting… you will have yourself to blame. I am talking to the media (to warn them).

"Protect him at your own peril… that is how it starts,” Malema charged.

“It starts with friends… Before we know it Cyril’s son will be running some affairs. Before we know it Cyril’s cupcakes (women friends) will be dominating,” said Malema, who was obviousmaking a parallel with Dudu Myeni, who was repeatedly reappointed as the chairperson of the SAA board by Zuma.

Malema once called Myeni – who he made no bones about the fact that she was Zuma’s lover – as Dudu Myeni-Zuma. He called her this in the national assembly.

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