Two separate judges of the High Court in Pretoria this morning granted two further costs orders against Julius Malema and the EFF in favour of rights group AfriForum and ruled that their bid to stop their assets from being sold at a public auction in favour of AfriForum was not urgent.
Judge Nicolene Janse van Niewenhuizen, however, removed AfriForum’s application for the court to send Malema to jail for six months and fine the EFF R500,000 for ignoring a court order interdicting them from inciting illegal land invasions from the court roll. She then, though, granted a costs order against the EFF and its leader.
This was after the EFF failed to file its opposing affidavit on time, sought a postponement and offered to pay the wasted legal costs. AfriForum’s contempt application will now probably only be heard next year.
In another court, Judge Johan Louw ruled that the EFF’s urgent application to stop the sheriff from selling their assets to satisfy two costs orders relating to the interdict in AfriForum’s favour was not urgent and struck it off the roll with costs.
Malema and the EFF wanted the court to stop the execution sale pending the outcome of their constitutional challenge to the legality of the apartheid-era Riotous Assemblies Act and the Trespass Act.
The application, in which AfriForum was not cited as a respondent, will be heard in the Constitutional Court in the next few weeks.
Malema and the EFF this week also gave notice of their intention to seek leave to appeal against both the interdict and two costs orders in AfriForum’s favour, which according to the EFF suspended the interdict but which AfriForum said had no effect on it.
Counsel for the EFF Tembeka Ngcukaitobi confirmed that the EFF had already paid some R126,000 in respect of a costs order granted against the party and its leader in September last year.
This was after the EFF applied for the postponement of their bid to have the interdict set aside and offered to pay the wasted legal costs. Their appeal bid was eventually dismissed with costs in February this year when their legal team failed to pitch up at court to argue their case.
AfriForum obtained an order to attach the EFF’s assets at the party’s headquarters in Johannesburg after the EFF failed to pay. They still owe AfriForum about R211,000.
Ngcukaitobi argued that Malema and the EFF were faced with an interdict that violated their right to freedom of political expression and stopped them from campaigning that land that was unoccupied should be occupied and given to landless people.
He said it was inappropriate to criminalise land occupation while South Africa faced a housing crisis and Malema had no protection in circumstances where the Riotous Assembly and Trespass Acts were being challenged.
Counsel for AfriForum Johan Brand SC argued that the interdict, even if it was wrong, stood and had to be obeyed until it was set aside by a court, regardless of what happened in the Constitutional Court.
He said even if the two Acts were struck down in their entirety, it would not affect the interdict.
“We cannot be held ransom pending what might happen between the applicants and another party,” he said.
AfriForum’s CEO, Kallie Kriel, said today’s rulings showed that no one was above the law, even if their surname was Malema.
He said they had given an undertaking to give Malema and the EFF reasonable notice before going ahead with the execution sale of the EFF’s furniture and computers, which have already been attached but not removed by the sheriff.