Malema backs sushi tycoons

'Hands off our Kenny'

IT WAS raining sushi, scantily dressed models and champagne in the Mother City at the opening of Kenny Kunene's ZAR club on Saturday.

And the tycoon's new best friend, Julius Malema, was in attendance, and in full voice.

The ANCYL leader wasted no time, warning Western Cape Premier Helen Zille to keep her liquor laws away from the "ANC's nightclub".

Kunene, who already runs another upmarket joint by the same name in Johannesburg, opened his new club on Cape Town's Waterfront on Saturday night and says Malema has his vote if he ever runs for president.

Addressing revellers, Malema said he would not allow Zille to close ZAR at 2am daily.

"Helen Zille is trying to close all the clubs in Cape Town, but this one belongs to the ANC," Malema said, referring to the proposed new liquor law under which all pubs and clubs will stop serving alcohol at 2am.

The DA-run city wanted to implement the new law from January 1 2011, but after threats of legal action by nightclub owners the city backed down.

Malema also urged young people at the club to access any funding offered by the government and start their own businesses.

Kunene's 40th birthday at ZAR in Joburg sparked controversy last year when photos of him eating sushi off the bodies of half-naked women were published.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi lambasted Kunene.

"It is the sight of these parties, where the elite display their wealth, often secured by questionable methods, that turns my stomach," Vavi said at the time.

On Saturday night, the half-naked women and sushi were back on the menu. Kunene told revellers that he had invited Vavi to the Cape Town opening, but had not expected him to show up.

He praised Malema as being the only politician who had supported his first sushi party last year, saying that someone like Malema was needed to lead the country as the future president.

Tony Yengeni was the only high- profile politician at the bash.

While Kunene's first sushi party last year cost R700,000, this party cost R2 million, he said.

VIP tickets were sold for R400 a pair, while individual tickets cost R150.