EFF leader Julius Malema along with party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi appeared in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday on charges of assault. The matter was postponed to next year.
Malema and Ndlozi are accused of assaulting a police officer during the funeral of Struggle icon Winnie Madikizela Mandela on 1 April 2018.
The incident was caught on closed-circuit television and in its aftermath, Malema claimed the police officer refused him access to the gravesite.
Malema has denied that he and Ndlozi laid hands on the policeman. “If I laid a hand on him, I would have panel-beated him. It would have been worse than what you saw. I don’t play when I lay hands. I and Mbuyiseni didn’t do that. All that we were fighting for is to enter the cemetery and go and bury our mother,” he said.
The case has been postponed until 1o March 2020 when the trial is expected to resume.
Commenting after his appearance on Wednesday, Malema said attending court was a “waste of time”.
“That’s what white people do, if they disagree with you, they always want to get into court, they want to arrest you. It’s pure apartheid tactics. We are happy to be dragged to court by the boers because it means we are doing something right,” he said.
Malema chastised the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), saying it was “succumbing to the boer agenda which is driven by AfriForum”.
The NPA said this was not the case and that the matter was not enrolled because AfriForum made an enquiry.
“What happened was that the investigations in this matter were incomplete, so the NPA had to await that process of concluding the investigation and then make its decision. Once the investigations were concluded, the prosecutor that read the contents of the docket was satisfied that there is a case to answer, hence we are here today.
“The allegations have been placed before court to Mr Malema and Mr Ndlozi. It has nothing to do with the enquiry from Afriforum,” said Phindi Mjondwane, regional spokesperson for the NPA in Gauteng.
In July, Afriforum said it would approach the court to file an application that would compel the NPA to make a decision regarding the prosecution of Malema and Ndlozi.
Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, said that they were happy that a trial date had been set and that it sends out a message to all South Africans that there is equality before the law.
“Unfortunately, sometimes you need pressure from organisations such as AfriForum to get that equality before the law,” he said.
He said this had taken 19 months, despite clear-cut evidence of the assault captured on video.
“It doesn’t matter what your political affiliations or views are, it’s in everybody in the country’s interest that we know that there is equality before the law and that the criminal justice system works. It doesn’t matter if your surname is Malema, if you transgress the law you should be prosecuted and that is what justice is about,” he said. DM
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