South Africa

COURT CASE

‘We defeated white supremacy’ – EFF’s Malema and Ndlozi acquitted of assaulting a cop

‘We defeated white supremacy’ – EFF’s Malema and Ndlozi acquitted of assaulting a cop
EFF leader Julius Malema addresses the crowd after the Randburg Magistrates' Court acquitted him and EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi of charges of common assault on 29 September 2022. (Photo: Meseret Argaw)

The Randburg Magistrates’ Court has acquitted Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi of charges of common assault on Lieutenant-Colonel Johannes Jacobus Venter.

In a case that has been dragging on for four years, Julius Malema and Mbuyisei Ndlozi were acquitted on Wednesday, 28 September. With the backing of AfriForum, Lieutenant-Colonel Johannes Jacobus Venter brought charges against the two men of assaulting him during the funeral of struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Fourways on 14 April 2018.

Malema and Ndlozi were accused of assaulting Venter by shoving him after he blocked them from accessing the cemetery.

“When looking at the version of the accused, the court does not have to be convinced that every detail of the accused’s version is reasonably possibly true,” said Magistrate Leiland Poonsamy.

“Also, the court clearly understands that both accused believed that they were entitled to enter the cemetery and their obstruction was unjustified,” said Poonsamy.

“In the circumstances, they lacked mens rea because they believed that they were entitled to enter so they believe that they have justification to gain entry in this regard.

“I see no reason not to accept the accused’s version in light of the discrepancies of the complainant,” said Poonsamy.

“Both the accused are therefore found not guilty and acquitted of the charge of assault.”

Julius Malema leaves the Randburg Magistrates’ Court with Floyd Shivambu on 29 September 2022. (Photo: Meseret Argaw)

Julius Malema addresses the crowd outside the Randburg Magistrates’ Court. (Photo: Meseret Argaw)

EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi addresses the crowd outside the Randburg Magistrates’ Court. (Photo: Meseret Argaw)

EFF members outside the Randburg Magistrates’ Court. (Photo: Maseret Argaw)


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Malema and Ndlozi sat quietly through the proceedings. Outside the court, about 100 EFF members clad in their red T-shirts and red berets came out in support of their leaders. The group sang and danced while awaiting judgment, confident that Malema and Ndlozi would win the case.

Addressing waiting supporters outside the court, Malema said “it has been four years we have been fighting this nonsensical case. Once again we defeated AfriForum … We defeated white supremacy because that’s who we are.”

Poonsamy said “the complainant failed to verify whether the vehicle went through the security checkpoint or screening”, and Venter was also not sure if the vehicle had a permit to be allowed into the stadium.

“It appears to the court that the internal investigation was completed with a lot of shortcomings,” Poonsamy said.

He said when they acted, Malema and Ndlozi were under the impression that they were being barred entry to the burial venue, and believed they were entitled to be at the funeral and afforded all VIP courtesies.

Poonsamy noted that Lt-Col Venter bore no injuries except that he was feeling a little pain, and that he had presented more than one version and that both could not be true.

“I have already indicated … that the state failed to prove that the accused were not part of the convoy to the burial,” Poonsamy said.

Poonsamy also noted that the EFF leaders were not late for the funeral – “their delay was because they were stopped by Lieutenant-Colonel Venter”, he said.

“After the evaluation of the state witnesses, it is a matter of logic that the prosecution evidence does not need to be rejected in order to conclude that there is a reasonable possibility that the accused might be innocent,” Poonsamy said.

Malema and Ndlozi’s version should be accepted because they have successfully raised the defence of justification for their version. “Their version was concise and they did not crack during cross-examination,” Poonsamy said. 

“They did not hesitate to give answers to oral evidence. They stood by their version and did not deviate in any manner. When giving their evidence they were not elusive to questions, did not hesitate in answering any questions, and did not contradict themselves.” DM

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