JUST two hours after leading thousands of desperately poor people on a march for “economic freedom” on Friday, Julius Malema jetted out of Johannesburg for an all-expenses-paid weekend of booze, parties and luxury at a R10-million wedding in Mauritius.
Malema couldn’t get away from the masses fast enough. He was whisked away in a blue-light convoy to catch a business class flight to party it up at the five-star resort.
The wedding was that of his friend, Limpopo-based property developer David Mabilu, who booked out the entire Long Beach resort for 300 guests.
Yesterday Johannesburg Metro Police Department spokesman Wayne Minnaar could not confirm whether metro officers had given Malema an escort to the airport but said such service was provided in “emergency situations”.
“If it did happen, there’s nothing wrong because members of the JMPD assist members of the community on a daily basis and in different circumstances. Where the community needs certain assistance in emergency situations, officers do assist them.”
On Thursday, marchers spent the night at the Caledonian Stadium in Pretoria. Chasing a tight deadline on Friday, Malema stepped onto the stage at the stadium at 4:20am and addressed marchers before they left for the Union Buildings.
He spent most of the time at the Union Buildings sitting in an ANC Youth League truck. At one stage he seemed barely able to stand and was seen limping.
A memorandum was handed over to the Minister of Public Works, Thulas Nxesi. Two hours later Malema, still wearing a yellow ANC-branded T-shirt bearing the image of former president Nelson Mandela, flew out to Mauritius.
Yesterday Mabilu, 42, married his fiancée, Phala Mokgophi, 38, at a glamorous beach ceremony in front of about 300 guests.
The couple had splashed out more than R10-million on the three-day ceremony, including flights and accommodation for their guests.
On Friday, once Malema was seated on board the Air Mauritius aircraft, the pilot announced: “Please welcome Mr Julius Malema, president of the ANC Youth League, on board.”
When the flight landed at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, Malema was picked up from the aircraft in a private vehicle and shuttled to the terminal.
He later checked into the exclusive five-star Long Beach resort, where rates start at R4648 a night for a beach-facing room and go up to R14 784 for a suite.
At the couple’s pre-wedding party at the resort, Malema, who had changed into a pale pink and white long-sleeved shirt and beige trousers, joined the celebrations at 1am.
Earlier on Friday, addressing his followers before sunrise in Pretoria, Malema said: “When they ask you why you are marching, you must say you are marching because you want to live like whites. Everything that whites have, we want it also.”
Outside the Union Buildings, placards carried by the crowd read: “Ninety percent of the economy is still in the hands of the minority” and “Down with white capital monopoly”.
The march started on Thursday, a day after testimony in Malema’s disciplinary hearing was concluded.
He and several co-leaders face charges of bringing the ANC into disrepute.