Charges against Malema remain

FILE PICTURE: Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema. Picture: Michel Bega.

FILE PICTURE: Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema. Picture: Michel Bega.

The charges against Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema remain in force, the Polokwane High Court ruled on Thursday.

“I will have the matter postponed and charges are not withdrawn,” Judge Ephraim Makgoba said.

“I see no prejudice on both parties in bringing this matter forward.”

He said the case against Malema would go ahead next year as scheduled, unless the National Prosecuting Authority decided to drop the charges against him.

“The matter can be brought forward after the director of prosecution has made a ruling by April.”

Malema faces charges of fraud, corruption, money-laundering, and racketeering.

His trial will be heard from September 30 to October 31 next year.

It is alleged that he made nearly R4 million from corrupt activities.

He is out on R10,000 bail. His four co-accused, who are his business associates, are out on bail of R40,000 each.

The State alleges that the five misrepresented themselves to the Limpopo roads and transport department, leading to a R52m contract being awarded to On-Point Engineering.

According to court papers, Malema had business ties with Lesiba Gwangwa, one of the co-accused and a director of On-Point Engineering.

Malema’s Ratanang Family Trust was an indirect shareholder in On-Point.

The department paid the company R43m. According to the charge sheet, Malema substantially benefited from this payment, using it to buy a farm and a Mercedes-Benz.

Earlier on Thursday, EFF supporters burst into song when Malema arrived in court, forcing court orderlies to try to calm them down.

Dali Mpofu, sporting a red EFF beret, red shirt and black jacket, was one of the supporters waiting near the court entrance before the former ANC Youth League leader arrived.

Mpofu is the lawyer representing the wounded and arrested Marikana mineworkers at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the shooting at the Lonmin platinum mine near Rustenburg last year, when 34 people were killed.

He recently announced he had resigned from the African National Congress to join the EFF.

Outside the court hundreds of EFF members blew vuvuzelas and some waved knobkerries as they chanted songs against President Jacob Zuma.

“Muso wa Zuma reya o menola [we will unseat Zuma’s government],” they sang.

Traffic was bumper to bumper, with streets around the court closed.

– Sapa


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