Minority rights lobby group AfriForum says it has been informed by “reliable sources” within the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) that Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema will “shortly” be prosecuted for allegedly discharging a firearm into the air during the party’s fifth birthday celebration last year.
In a statement released in Afrikaans, AfriForum claims: “Julius Malema is being prosecuted, and is expected to appear in the Eastern Cape Magistrates’ Court shortly.”
AfriForum laid charges against Malema after a video emerged in August last year of the EFF leader firing what looks like a high-powered automatic rifle into the air at his party’s birthday celebration gathering in the Eastern Cape.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi claimed at the time that Malema had fired a toy gun rather than a high-powered automatic rifle.
The lobby group held a media briefing on July 10, announcing their decision to privately prosecute Malema on various charges, accusing the NPA of refusing to act against the EFF leader.
The head of their prosecutions unit, advocate Gerrie Nel, detailed the organisation’s decision to try and prosecute Malema over cases including the firing of the weapon. His alleged role in the 2012 On Point Engineering scandal and an alleged assault case involving Malema and Ndlozi have also seen the lobby group’s private prosecutions unit getting involved.
The rest of AfriForum’s statement is devoted to slating the NPA, which the lobby group often accuses of incompetence.
The lobby group says it “tried to get this reliable information” about Malema’s upcoming court appearance formally declared by the NPA.
AfriForum’s head of community safety Ian Cameron is quoted as saying: “It appears the NPA has stuck its head in the sand and refuses to accept the decision regarding Malema’s prosecution, despite the NPA’s undertaking on October 2 to let AfriForum know about the decision.
“The NPA has in this case been given an opportunity to prove to the public that they investigate crime – regardless of the transgressor’s identity, without fear or favour. At the moment, it seems authorities prefer to maintain their already distorted reputation, and to act in favour of Malema,” Cameron added.
The statement continues: “AfriForum’s private prosecution unit, led by Advocate Gerri Nel, indicated earlier this year that AfriForum would approach the court to force the NPA to make a decision on Malema’s prosecution. Malema faces a host of charges, and AfriForum has already expressed its concern that Malema’s actions are being treated differently when compared to normal citizens.
“It was only after AfriForum’s decision to get involved that the NPA paid attention to Malema’s prosecution, but is still silent on the prosecution of the alleged shooting.
“If the NPA and SAPS continue to remain silent, AfriForum will use all resources at its disposal to drive the prosecution.
It then concludes with a quote from AfriForum’s legal and risk manager, Marnus Kamfer.
“If the NPA is not capable or willing to institute legal proceedings, AfriForum’s private prosecution unit will take up the reigns to ensure that justice is served,” he said.
The Citizen asked NPA spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke for comment.
“When the NPA makes decisions it makes it publicly known,” she said.
She wouldn’t be drawn on the various allegations levelled at the prosecuting authority in the statement.
“AfriForum is AfriForum,” is all she would say.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)