1 minute read
30 Sep 2014
11:32 am

Crowd cheers as Malema gets on stage after postponed trial

A large crowd cheered as EFF leader Julius Malema walked onto a stage set up near the Polokwane High Court on Tuesday, after his corruption trial was postponed for almost a year.

FILE PICTURE: EFF leader Julius Malema gestures during his keynote address at the party's 1st anniversary celebration in Thokoza Park in Soweto, 26 July 2014. Picture: Refilwe Modise

He was accompanied by Economic Freedom Fighters MPs. EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi began chanting “Hands off our commander and chief, hands off”.

The crowd, in red berets and EFF T-shirts, took up the chant. Ndlozi then led them in song.

People took pictures with cellphones as Malema, dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and red tie, danced on stage.

The trial against Malema and his co-accused was earlier postponed to August 3, 2015 because not all counsel were available.

Malema, On-Point Engineering directors Lesiba Gwangwa and Kagisho Dichabe and two companies, On-Point Engineering and Gwama Properties, face charges of racketeering and 52 other counts, including fraud.

In March, corruption charges against Malema’s business associates – Selbie Manthatha, his wife Helen Moreroa and his brother Makgetsi Manthatha – were dropped.

The two brothers and Moreroa were initially charged with Malema, Gwangwa and Dichabe in September 2012. They were accused of misrepresenting themselves to the Limpopo roads and transport department, leading to a R52 million contract being awarded to On-Point Engineering.

It is alleged in court papers that Malema had business ties with Gwangwa, and that Malema’s Ratanang Family Trust was an indirect shareholder in On-Point. The State alleges Malema substantially benefited from the tender payment to On-Point, using it to buy a farm and a Mercedes-Benz.